These outrageously tender Mexican short ribs are slowly braised in a boldly seasoned sauce that infuses every bite with bold flavor. Your braised short ribs are the perfect show-stopping stand-alone entree to serve with your favorite Mexican side dishes, or shred them into incredible tacos that are dripping with flavor! Either way, if you are craving comfort food, this is it!
What are they?
Short ribs are short rib bones with large chunks of meat still attached. This is a tough cut of meat from the front of the cow, but they transform into wonderfully tender morsels when you braise short ribs.
My Mexican beef short ribs are first seared in a Dutch Oven to improve the texture and flavor, then braised in a flavorful combination of tomato sauce, beef broth, chipotles, and Mexican seasonings.
While braising low and slow in your oven the short ribs turn ridiculously tender, with the meat practically falling off the bone. Meanwhile, all of the mouthwatering seasonings are saturating into the meat to ensure every bite is juicy and loaded with flavor.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Beef short ribs - You need enough short ribs to line your pot in a single layer. This is appoximately 6 four-inch ribs (shown above). Each will weigh roughly half a pound with the bone attached.
- Cooking oil - Canola oil, olive oil, or your favorite vegetable oil will work well.
- Low sodium beef broth - Since salt is also being added you want to avoid making this too salty. Use Low sodium or no sodium broth. Beef stock is an equally good substitition, but you can use chicken stock or broth if needed.
- Tomato sauce - Tomato sauce adds body to your sauce. You can even use tomato paste if you would like it thicker.
- Limes - Fresh limes or 4 tablespoons of bottled lime juice will work. Other citrus, such as oranges can be used, or use half the amount of apple cider vinegar instead.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - You can find canned chipotle chiles in the Mexican food aisle of your grocery store.
- Garlic cloves - You can substitute 1 teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
- Kosher salt - If substituting table salt only use 2 teaspoons.
- Brown sugar
- Smoked paprika - Regular paprika or sweet paprika can also be substituted.
- Ground cumin
- Dried oregano - Mexican oregano is a great substitute.
- Black pepper - Fresh ground black pepper is best.
Optional additions: You can also add sliced red onions, and chopped poblano peppers to the braising liquid if desired.
How to make Mexican Short Ribs
This Mexican short ribs recipe begins by properly searing the meat. To do so, heat oil in a large pot (oven safe) or large Dutch oven by setting it over medium high heat on your stovetop. Once the oil is heated place ribs in the pot and sear until browned on all sides.
Next, add a couple of splashes of beef broth to the pot and scrape any brown bits from the bottom so they are able to incorporate into the sauce. You can briefly remove the browned ribs from the pot while you do this to make things easier, if desired.
Add the remainder of the beef broth to your Dutch oven along with the tomato sauce, chipotle peppers, garlic, salt, brown sugar, paprika, cumin, oregano, and black pepper. Stir this all together, then cover and place it in a 325 degree oven for 2 ½ hours, or until the short ribs are tender.
Serve the tender short ribs with or without the sauce (the sauce tastes great ladled over rice!). Alternatively, you can discard the bones, along with any large pieces of fat then shred the meat in the braising liquid to use for tacos, and serve with flour tortillas or corn tortillas.
Can Mexican Beef Short Ribs be made in the slow cooker?
Yes, you can make these short ribs in your slow cooker instead. You won't be able to sear them in the crockpot, so the flavor isn't AS good, but they will still turn out fine. Alternatively, you can sear the meat on the stovetop prior to slow cooking and then transfer the beef ribs into the crockpot.
Slow cooker beef short ribs should be cooked on high heat for 4-5 hours, or low heat for at least 7 hours. You can leave them in there longer, they will just get more tender and the meat will fall apart more.
How to store leftover short ribs
Leftover beef short ribs can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator with the braising liquid to keep the meat moist. The ribs should be enjoyed within five days.
Because of their size, it can be difficult to reheat the short ribs well. You can use a microwave, which will sacrifice some texture, or you can reheat short ribs by simmering them in a saucepan with the braising liquid until they return to temperature.
The easiest way to enjoy leftover short ribs is to shred them into the braising liquid. The shredded Mexican beef reheats easily in the microwave.
What sides to serve with them
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Mexican Short Ribs
- 6 beef short ribs Approximately 3 pounds*
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 ½ cup low sodium beef broth
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 2 limes juiced
- 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 3 garlic cloves smashed
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon fresh black pepper
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Trim excess fat from the short ribs, leaving some to flavor the braising liquid.
- Add cooking oil to your Dutch oven and place it over medium-high heat on your stove top. Once the oil is shimmering add the short ribs and brown the meat on all sides.
- Once the meat has been properly seared, deglaze the bottom of the pot by adding a couple splashes of beef broth and scrape any burnt on bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon.
- Add the remainder of the beef broth, tomato sauce, lime juice, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, garlic, and seasonings - which include salt, brown sugar, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and black pepper.
- Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and place it in the oven for 2 ½ hours. The meat should be completely tender and come apart when pulled with a fork.
- Remove from the oven and serve whole with braising liquid on the side to be used as desired. Alternatively, these tender ribs can be shredded in the braising liquid to serve as tacos.