Home » Kitchen » Main Dish Recipes » Short Rib Tacos: Spice-Rubbed and Chile-Braised

Short Rib Tacos: Spice-Rubbed and Chile-Braised

This recipe for Short Rib Tacos begins with a brown sugar & spice rub, followed by a sear to get ‘that crust’ and then a slow braise in a chili broth for fall-apart tender meat.

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.

I was hoping to focus less on the flavor of a sauce and more on the 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 chili paste instead of chile powder for a deeper, richer flavor.  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.

Recipe for Chile-Braised Short Rib Tacos and Pickled Red Onions

Chile-Braised Short Rib Tacos

Lynn Spencer
Beef Short Ribs coated with a brown sugar/spice rub, seared to achieve a nice crust,  braised with chile sauce and roasted in a slow oven to let the heat work it's magic to create these tender and delicious short rib tacos.
4.80 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Additional Time 10 hours 40 minutes
Total Time 14 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 people
Calories 663 kcal


  • 3 pounds beef short ribs


Chile Braise

  • 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

Pickled Red Onions

  • 1 red onion thinly sliced (a mandoline slicer works great)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 TB granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Prepare rub by mixing all rub ingredients together.
  • Dry off short ribs with a 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 medium-high heat. Sear the ribs on all sides, about 2 minutes each side.
  • Preheat oven to 300'.
  • Place seared ribs into an 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 the 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.
  • It can easily be made ahead of time and reheated.
  • Pickled Red Onions
  • Place onions in a bowl.
  • Combine apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and warm water. Stir to dissolve
  • Pour over sliced onions, making sure they are covered
  • Let sit for an hour before serving
  • Store unused in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.


Serving: 1gCalories: 663kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 50gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 156mgSodium: 1743mgPotassium: 1293mgFiber: 3gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 1099IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 86mgIron: 8mg
Keyword beef, chile, short rib, tacos
Well, what did you think?Please rate this recipe here! It helps other readers and also helps to support our site.
Recipe for Chile-Braised Short Rib Tacos and Pickled Red Onions

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.

(Not at all related to the recipe, but I want to point out the tablecloth! Isn’t it lovely! My grandmother embroidered this beauty 40+ years ago and it is easily one of my treasured heirlooms)

Recipe for Chile-Braised Short Rib Tacos and Pickled Red Onions

Serve these short rib tacos with pickled red onions, cotija cheese, fresh cilantro, and avocado. And if you really want to impress, whip up a batch of my dad’s famous Margaritas, which are easily the Best Margarita you will ever have!

Recipe for Chile-Braised Short Rib Tacos and Pickled Red Onions

Bookmark this page or pin the following image to refer back to these chile-braised short ribs tacos in the future.

Thanks so much for spending a few minutes of your busy day with me!

To ensure you don’t miss future content, pop your email in the pale green box on the right or click here. I usually send one email weekly, so I won’t inundate your inbox. I’m sensitive to an overflowing email inbox!  

We will only use your email address to send you emails, no more than 1-2 weekly. In addition, you will have access to my growing library of knit & crochet patterns and other printables. Check back often as this library will continue to grow.   You can unsubscribe anytime by emailing me or clicking on the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of all emails.

And you can access many of the products I refer to on my Nourish and Nestle Amazon Page. You can access it here.

So, if you’d like to participate in the ‘subscriber benefit’ action, simply subscribe to Nourish and Nestle here or use the form on the right sidebar. It’s slightly towards the top.

I have sent all my subscribers the link to the Subscriber Benefits Library. If you missed it or misplaced it, let me know.

Until next time…


Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!

Similar Posts


    1. I’m with you Wendie! Everything is better with avocados and pickled onions…And these tacos are the perfect food for them. Thanks for stopping by and visiting.

      Wishing you a lovely week.

      Hugs, LYnn

    1. Hi April, I really enjoyed getting out of my bubble and in to the world of farming. I was so lucky to have such a passionate and down to earth farming advocate to visit, that it made my visit all the more enjoyable.

      Enjoy the tacos.


  1. Fantastic post, Lynn! Makes me want to check out Moore Brother’s for myself–growing 95% of the food they feed their cattle right there *and* dry aging?! Wow!! The tacos sound wonderful. I do love short ribs, and anything wrapped in a tortilla checks all the boxes, so this recipe is right up my alley. Thank you so much for being a part of the blog tour!

    1. Hi Jenni, I do hope you do find the time to visit Moore Brothers. Eddie is such a passionate and down to earth advocate of natural farming. And I am pretty stoked about these tacos…already made them a second time!

      Thanks for organizing us.


    1. Hi Kate! And thanks so much for swinging by. These tacos are so good (I’ve already made them twice in the span of a month) and I so enjoyed my visit. I’ve already ordered more meat from them through my local natural foods store.

      Have a great day.


  2. The Moore Brother’s farm sounds wonderful! I’m in Wilmington and Raleigh a lot so I’ll have to look for their beef! That brown sugar/spice rub sound like it would be perfect for the shirt ribs for these tacos! YUM!!

    1. Hi Angie! Next time you are in Wilmington, stop by Lovey’s on Military Cutoff! Who knows, I might just run into you there. I have to say that I am a convert…there really is no comparison with this more natural beef. Don’t you agree? I’ve already ordered more from Moore Brothers through Loveys.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Hugs, Lynn

    1. Oh Nikki, I’m so glad you’re going to Seaboard 18. If it’s convenient, do let them know about the Moore Brother’s post…and good press for those great guys would be super. Next time I visit my daughter at UNC I’ll need to head to Raleigh and give it a try.

      Thanks for stopping by to visit.

      Hugs, Lynn

  3. I made the short rib tacos a few days ago and they were great! There were 3 of us home the night we had them so I assumed we would have some leftover. Wrong! We all went back to refill our plates and ate every last bit! This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing it!

    1. Hi Heather, I am so glad that you loved them! I am getting ready to make them for a third time next week…that are a favorite in my family too. Really appreciate you swinging by and leaving your comment. It thrills me to know that others love this dish as much as we do.

      Have a great day.

      Hugs, Lynn

  4. Your house must have smelled amazing while those ribs were in the oven! No wonder you had trouble keeping fingers out of the meat until meal time. Pinned!
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Good Morning Leigh, thanks for coming by.

      Not only did my house smell good, but the short ribs lived up to their olfactory billing! I’m looking forward to making them again in a couple of weeks for company…my mouth is watering at the thought.

      Wishing you a fantastic day.

      Hugs, Lynn

  5. That looks simply amazing! My mouth was watering when I got to that photo of the skillet with all that tender and juicy beef. mmmm! You’ve got some skills.

    I love that the focus on grass-fed, grain-fed, organic, non-GMO NC beef. So important! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Trish, thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your kind comment.

      I enjoyed every minute of my visit to Moore Brother’s and was truly honored to be included in this roundup. And those short ribs are truly delicious and I think I’ll be cooking short ribs this way from here on out.

      Wishing you a wonderful day.

      Hugs, Lynn

  6. Fabulous recipe and how great to learn about some NC farmers and their products. I love tacos and adding the pickled onions intrigues me. I like them so I bet I would love this version as well!

    1. Oh Beth Ann, If you like tacos and pickled onions, then I think you will love them. I am making them for the third time next week for my Game Night crowd.

      Thanks for stopping by to visit.

      Hugs, Lynn

  7. Lynn, I really loved reading about the history of this farm. So fascinating! And this taco recipe (with pickled red onions!!) absolutely knocks my socks off. I am not sure how I will ever be able to eat a standard taco again. Thank you for such an awesome two-fer post!

    1. You are ever so welcome Jenn! I really did enjoy my trip to Moore Brothers and have already special ordered some different cuts of meat from them through my local natural foods store. And that recipe…oh my it was so good. I am planning to make it for the third time when I have my game group over next week!

      Thanks for visiting.

      Hugs, Lynn

    1. They are so good Helen…getting ready to make them again. And thanks for inviting me! I’ll pop by with another taco recipe soon.

      Hugs, Lynn

    1. Banging! I hadn’t heard that term related to a recipe before, but think it is very appropriate. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

      Hugs, Lynn

  8. These look delicious Lynn, and I am big fans of local and responsibly grown food. My family loves anything wrapped in a tortilla so I think I need to add this recipe to our rotation. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Sarah, I think those meat-lovers in your family will love this recipe. I will be making it to serve to my game night crew this Friday… so excited to enjoy it again.

      Thanks for coming by today.

      Hugs, Lynn

    1. Hi Sam, I know you will enjoy these short ribs! I am making them again for the third time this week and am already drooling thinking about them! Have a great day.

      Hugs, LYnn

  9. “delightful and delicious “ is an exact quote from my hubby after eating this dish. I changed a few things substituting beef roast for ribs, used my crockpot and served with pickled onions and queso cheese. This is a keeper! Thank you.

    1. Rhonda, you just made my day! I know how much we enjoy those tacos, but it always affirming when others enjoy them as well. That rub is just so good. And I am so glad that you were able to substitute a different cut of meat! That’s good to know.

      Thanks for sharing your review and have a great day, my friend.



4.80 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating