Chile-Braised Short Rib Tacos | Got To Be NC Beef
Hello my friends, today is a two-fer day! Not only am I bringing you a delicious recipe for Chile-Braised Short Rib Tacos, but I also have a story for you! Say what? A recipe AND a story? Yup, it’s your lucky day.
This post is sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and I was compensated both monetarily and with product. However, the recipe and comments are entirely my own.
So, once upon a time, 125 years ago to be exact, a preacher named W.L. Moore bought 120 acres in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, in a little town called Prospect.
W.L., who was a Waccamaw Siouan Indian met and married Tootie Oxendine, a Lumbee Indian. He ministered at Prospect United Methodist Church and became the first headmaster of Croatan Normal School, an American Indian school that eventually became UNC at Pembroke, while Tootie became the first female Indian teacher in the area.
The couple raised their family in this small town on the banks of the Shoe Hill Creek and Lumber River in rural North Carolina. Today, their descendants are teachers, farmers and judges in Prospect.
Eddie and Luther Moore, great grandsons of Tootie and W.L., raised tobacco on their parcel of the family land for years until the winds of change convinced them that they needed to find other uses for their land. They began to grow corn, wheat and soybeans and raised cattle on their land as a ‘hobby’.
This hobby enabled them to use their land wisely and to know exactly what they were putting on their family’s table each night. They were, and are, firm believers in eating as close to the land and as far from a lab as possible.
When word of their pasture-raised, humanely-treated beef ‘hobby’ got out, friends and family began to request their dry-aged cuts of beef. That’s when, following in the footsteps of great entrepreneurs before them, they founded Moore Brothers All-Natural Beef and dove head-first into the cattle business.
Terry and I met Eddie Moore at their store on a crossroads in Prospect, NC. The company is a true family-run business, with Eddie, his son Lee and brother Luther running the day to day cattle operations. Eddie’s and Luther’s daughters Ryan, Hannah, Carli and Lenora run the company store.
Eddie and Lee on the family farm
Eddie is understandably proud of the family run business that provides quality beef to several restaurants and natural foods grocery stores in North Carolina and South Carolina.
For those of you in the Produce Box delivery area, check for boxes containing Moore Brothers All-Natural Beef this spring and for those of you outside of North and South Carolina, Moore Brothers All-Natural Beef will also ship nationwide.
Where to Buy Moore Brothers All-Natural Beef:
Southern Pines: Nature’s Own
Pinehurst: Elliott’s on Linden
Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach: Bay Naturals
If you want to feed your family as naturally and as close to the earth as possible, then Moore Brothers produces your kind of beef. The farm produces 95% of what their Angus and Simmental cattle eat.
The cattle are free to roam on the 220 acres that comprise the family farm, both pasture land and wooded areas. They are pasture fed, being supplemented with small grains and hay only as necessary in the winter months.
But most importantly, they are never given antibiotics or hormones; any sick cattle are removed from the herd.
Not only do these conditions produce a healthier cow, but Moore Brothers Beef is then dry aged for 10 to 12 days.
If you’re like me, you’ve heard the term ‘dry aged’ but didn’t know exactly what was involved or why it was such a great thing. Well, I’m here to tell you!(But wait…it’s a three-fer! A story, a recipe AND a quick primer on dry-aging! Did you have a sense it was going to be such a great day?)
When you have one of those steakhouse, dry-aged steaks and you wonder why they taste so incredible, it’s due to a couple of changes that take place during the dry-aging process. (Thanks to The Food Lab at Serious Eats for this informative post that I summarized here.)
- The beef loses 30% of the moisture, which really concentrates its flavor
- Naturally occurring enzymes break down the tough muscle fibers and connective tissues, rendering a much more tender piece of meat.
- The beef flavor is intensified due to the enzymatic and bacterial processes that occur during the dry-aging.
So after spending the day with Eddie Moore, Terry and I came home with 20 pounds of various beef products (short ribs, rib eyes, beef bones, ground beef, hot dogs and sausage) and I knew before I left Prospect that day that I’d be making short rib tacos to share with you.
I’ve been ruminating on how to prepare these short rib tacos for the past month. I know that the standard method is to slow cook them in a braising liquid for several hours; but I really wanted to roast these short ribs in the oven.
Maybe my logic doesn’t hold, but in my mind I was hoping to focus less on the flavor of a sauce and more on thee meat’s natural flavor.
I coated them with a brown sugar/spice rub, seared them to achieve a nice crust, spread chile braise over top and then let a low and slow oven work it’s magic to create these tender and delicious short rib tacos.
For the chile-braise, I used chile paste instead of chile powder. I easily adapted this recipe from Serious Eats using the dried chiles I could get my hands on (Ancho, Guajillo and New Mexico). However, feel free to use chili powder as indicated in the recipe.
Chile-Braised Short Rib Tacos
- 3 pounds beef short ribs
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 1 small onion roughly cut
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 TB chile paste or 3/4 TB chile powder
- 3 TB tomato paste
- 3 TB bacon fat or olive oil
- 1 TB brown sugar
- 1 tsp cumin
Prepare rub by mixing all rub ingredients together.
Dry off short ribs with paper towel
Pat rub on all sides of ribs
Put the ribs on a cookie cooling rack on top of a jelly roll pan, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, heat 2-3 TB oil or bacon fat over a medium-high heat. Sear the ribs on all sides, about 2 minutes each side.
Preheat oven to 300'.
Place seared ribs into oven-proof pan and set aside.
For the Chile Braise
In blender or food processor, place onion, garlic, chile paste, tomato paste, red wine, cumin and sugar. Process until pureed.
Wipe out the pan you used to sear the short ribs if it needs (i.e. burnt pieces) and add 1 TB oil/fat.
Add pureed chiles to oil/fat and saute for 3- 4 minutes.
Evenly distribute the puree over top of the ribs, cover with aluminum foil snugly and bake for 3 hours, until tender and falling apart.
Remove from oven, remove aluminum foil turn oven on to broil and place ribs 6 inches from broiler for 7-8 minutes.
Pull meat off and serve with flour tortillas, cotija cheese, pickled onions and cilantro.
Can easily be made ahead of time and reheated.
Pickled Red Onion
- I medium red onion sliced thin
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a pot and warm, but don't boil.
Add onions and let sit for 2 hours.
Can be made ahead.
It was all I could do to keep the family’s collective fingers out of the pot. Suffice it to say that there were no leftovers.
I mentioned at the get-go that this post was sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. North Carolina has a very vigorous ‘Got To Be NC’ program to promote all the wonderful, locally grown, raised and harvested products that our state produces.
Now be honest, when you think ‘states that produce beef’, North Carolina probably doesn’t pop in your head. But North Carolina is home to many cattle ranches that offer beef in the niches of grass-fed, grain-fed, organic, non-GMO, heritage and certified animal welfare approved.
Basically something for everyone! So check your local farmer’s market and favorite restaurants, as well as on-line for Moore Brothers All-Natural Beef and other ‘Got To Be NC’ products.
I teamed up with several other bloggers to provide you with some mouth-watering recipes, all made with NC Beef. Check them all out here.
Got To Be NC Beef Farm Tours
And What To Make with Your NC Beef
- Beef Marsala Pot Pie | Baldwin Family Farms from Big Bear’s Wife
- Chile-Braised Short Rib Tacos | Moore Brothers All Natural Beef from Nourish and Nestle
- Simply Perfect Prime Rib Roast | Ninja Cow Farm from Life of a Ginger
- Shepherd’s Pie | Ray Family Farms from Girl Gone Gourmet
- Back to Earth Tacos | Back to Earth Farm from Jenn on a Mission
- Beef Lettuce Wraps | Hickory Nut Gap Farm from Pantry Doctor
- Bring it on: GotToBeNC Organic GrassFed Beef | Proffitt Family Farms from Heidi Billotto Food
- Bourbon Beef Chili | Newsome Farm from Nik Snacks
- Got To Be NC Beef Hearty Chili | Summerfield Farms from The Army Mom
- Sweet and Spicy Grass-Fed London Broil | Baldwin Family Farms from Pastry Chef Online
My goal today was to provide you with a great short rib taco recipe (check), a great, classically American story (check) and some information that you might not have known(check and check); unless, of course, you are some kind of savant chock-full of dry-aged beef fun facts .
That’s it for today my friends and thanks for stopping by to visit. I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. And when you leave a comment…ah, it makes my heart sing!
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