Over the weekend I was asked about bringing either a dessert or an appetizer to a cookout. It threw me off a little bit as none of the recipes I had in my “need to make” pile really fit the bill. I settled on an appetizer as our oven is still broke so baking something was out of the question. After doing some searching and not really finding anything I decided, somewhat randomly, on making mini tacos. And, since I had a plethora of beef short ribs, I might try that. As with some recipes I “make up”, I did do a search to see if I was way off or not on the idea of a beef short rib taco. Of course I wasn’t but one never quite knows. In the end I settled on this recipe as a guide for what I wanted to make.
I say “guide” as my end result is probably pretty close to the recipe but I went about it a little differently. First, I actually have no idea how much beef short ribs I used. I took three packages out of the freezer to use. I didn’t weigh them or anything, although I really should have. To cook them, remembering that my oven doesn’t work I used my crockpot. I crammed all of them into the crockpot – literally – as I had to cut one apart to stuff it in and turned it on low. That was it. No onion, no spices, no broth. They sat on low for about ten hours and then on “warm” for another two as I couldn’t get to them right away but wanted to “stop” the cooking. At that point I separated the meat from the bones and fat and shredded the meat. I strained the juices and put them in a small pot on the stove. I let it come to a boil and boil for about 5 minutes. It really didn’t reduce and I wasn’t going to spend the time trying to let it reduce. I then poured some of it (I didn’t measure) back into the meat (straining it again) so that there was some extra liquid in the meat to keep it juicy. Then it went into the fridge and I went to bed.
The next morning I separated out enough of the meat to fill up another (smaller) crockpot which wasn’t quite all of the meat. I took what I had separated out and put it in a cast iron skillet to reheat it. At this time I added two teaspoons each of salt, smoked paprika and ground coriander. Plus one teaspoon of pepper. I let the meat reheat and get happy with the spices. It then went into the crockpot (the smaller one) and sat on low for another four hours or so. I stirred it regularly and eventually turned it off (there is no warm setting on that one) only to turn it back on later and the. Back on when we got to the party (about an hour drive away). I wanted to keep it warm but not go overboard with cooking. Although I have learned from making pulled pork that it works really well to cook it the second time once you’ve added the sauce/spices/etc. That’s what I was doing here.
For the pickled onion, I used the amounts listed in the recipe but with fewer onions. I had about 1/3 to 1/2 of a large red onion leftover from some other stuff and just cut it up to use. Turned out fine to me.
To assemble them, I used small corn tortillas (the “mini” part of this) with a little smear of sour cream and guacamole. Then a little of the meat, some of the pickled onion and some cilantro.
They were excellent. The flavor of the meat was great with the smoked paprika and corriander giving a much different flavor but one that worked really well.