Tacolicious Guajillo Shortrib Tacos

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Tacolicious Campbell.  That’s at my house these days.   These tacos and an Achiote Chicken have been my breakfast and dinner for several days.    Who could ask for anything more?

Tacolicious is one of my favorite restaurants in SF — and sure, it’s easier to sit outside on Chestnut Street, sipping a beer and waiting for someone to bring me a taco, but the weather is better in Campbell.  I can start the barbecue (my new summer oven) put the ingredients together in a dutch oven, pop them in the barbecue, open a beer, watch a movie, or  sit outside reading and noodling in the sun.  Guajillo short ribs are ready for tacos about 3 hours later.

If you’re coming over for dinner this summer, that’s what I’m serving.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 8 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle Negro Modelo or other dark Mexican beer
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
  • Chopped white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, salsa of choice, and lime wedges, for serving

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Working in two batches to avoid crowding, lightly toast all of the chiles in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds on each side, until fragrant but not blackened. Set them aside on a plate.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot with a lid over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, working in batches to avoid crowding, add the meat and sear for about 3 minutes on each side, until the pieces have formed a uniformly browned crust. Add more oil to the pot as needed to prevent scorching. As the pieces are ready, set them aside on a plate.

Add the onion to the same same pot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Pour in the beer, add the toasted chiles, and turn down the heat to low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the chiles have softened and are pliable. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and reserve the pot. Add the cumin, pepper, oregano, salt, and water to the blender and blend the mixture on high speed until smooth and the consistency of cream, adding more water if needed to thin the mixture a bit.

Return the seared meat to the pot and pour in the chile mixture. Cover, transfer to the oven, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is fork-tender.

Remove from the oven and, using tongs or a couple of forks, shred the meat in the pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if needed. Serve with the tortillas, onion, cilantro, salsa, and lime.

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