Barbacoa Short Ribs

Barbacoa Short Ribs- for tacos, burritos, nachos, dip  

Let's talk meat. There are very few weeks in the month where my family DOES NOT celebrate Taco Tuesday or Taco Thursday (if we in fact missed Taco Tuesday, we move it to Thursday, if we miss both...then I will never hear the end of it from my daughter). But the typical beef or turkey tacos can get a little stale for my husband and myself. In the summer and spring we like to do fish tacos. And there's also always steak tacos and chicken tacos. But I wanted something richer in flavor for the freaking COLD weather lately in Boston. This is a stick to your ribs type of dish and is easy to make, it just takes a while of non cooking time. They’d be great in a taco or burrito, or on top of some rice and beans. OR you could take your extras and make nachos OR just use it as a meat dip. Meat dip (Exhibit A, below).

Exhibit A, Meat Dip

Exhibit A, Meat Dip

If you're looking for a spicy and sweet and full of flavor protein to go with your burritos, tacos,  nachos or, uh, meat dip, here's your recipe.

Barbacoa Short Ribs

 Serves: 4 entreé sizes portions

Shopping List

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for the dutch oven
  • About 5-6 beef short ribs, boneless or bone in, does not matter.
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 chipotles in adobo sauce plus about 1 tablespoon of the sauce
  • 1.5 limes, juiced
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cups beef bone broth, I used Five Way Foods
  • 1 bottle of Fat Tire beer or a similar amber
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons of cornstarch + cooking liquid to make a slurry


Season the beef with salt and pepper. Pour about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the beef on all sides. Get a nice golden crust on the beef.


While the beef is browning, place the apple cider vinegar, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic cloves, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, ground cloves, lime juice, and bone broth in either a food processor or a blender and blend to combine. Pour this mixture on top of the beef ribs. 

Add the beer to the beef and spices and bring to a boil. Add in the brown sugar, stir, and bring the pot down to a simmer. Put a lid on it. Let this cook for as short as 3 hours or as long as 6-8. A quick note on the brown sugar... If you find your dish smells or tastes too vinegar-y (real term, I swear), add a touch more brown sugar, a little at a time, until the desired sweetness. This balances the flavor out. 


When done cooking, remove the beef from the pot and remove the bones if needed. Chop the beef up into bite sized pieces. 


Meanwhile, bring the liquid up to a boil and take about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and mix together with the cornstarch. Whisk the slurry together and add back into the pot and whisk. Bring to a boil and add the meat back in. When the mixture looks combined and thick, it's ready to serve. 


Using a slotted spoon, spoon mixture into hard or soft corn shells, with lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese, or in a bowl with some chips and lime wedges.