Short ribs are popping up on menus everywhere and Old Town Gringos is jumping on the bandwagon. The taqueria and bar, located in the heart of downtown Scottsdale, recently rolled out a new menu that includes sweet and spicy short rib tacos.
Chef Willie Nelson (yep, that’s really his name), late of Cowboy Ciao and Super Chunk Sweets & Treats, devised a short rib taco recipe that uses Sprite to sweeten the meat. His reasoning: A lot of chefs put Dr. Pepper and Jack Daniels in their barbecue sauces, so why not use a lemon lime-flavored elixir in a taco recipe?
Make sure that when you’re seasoning the short ribs you devote a generous amount of salt and pepper to the rub, Nelson says. Another tip: Give the ribs a good charring on the grill to sear in the juices, then throw them in the crock pot with the bone side down. When the ribs are done, “they taste almost like pot roast.”
Sweet and spicy braised short ribs
Serves: 5-6 people
5 lbs. beef short ribs
2 tbsp. smoked paprika
2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
½ cup brown sugar
12 oz. Sprite
3 dried pasilla chiles
1 cup yellow onion, rough chopped
½ bunch green onions
5 cloves fresh garlic
Apply a generous amount of kosher salt and pepper to your short ribs. Sear all sides on the grill so the entire short rib has a nice dark grilled color. In a sauté pan, sauté your garlic and onions until lightly browned. Place your short ribs and all other ingredients in a crockpot. Cook at 300 degrees until short ribs are tender. Remove short ribs from braising liquid and strain the liquid and bones. Skim fat from the braising liquid. Put the liquid over medium-low heat and reduce by half. Sauce should be thick enough to coat the meat.
Pickled Red Cabbage
½ gallon white vinegar
2 cups granulated sugar
3 bay leaves
1 head red cabbage, shredded
Boil the vinegar with sugar and bay leaves until all the sugar has dissolved.
Pour directly over cabbage in a storage container. Place a small plate on top of the cabbage to keep it completely submerged. Let sit in refrigerator for 24 hours before using.
Serve tacos on flour or corn tortillas, top with cabbage and shredded cotija cheese.
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