Look What I Made: Beef Rib Tacos with Pickled Onion Recipe

Beef rib tacos (photo by Travis Awalt)

It occurred to me today that I hadn’t yet dished beef on this forum (outside of using beef hot dogs last week). For shame. Beef is the national edible animal of this great state. Time to make some.

Come to think of it, I also haven’t done tacos yet either(!), so, you know, two birds…

Where’s the beef? Jump to find out.

I like beef ribs for tacos because they’re cheap and they have a rich, distinctly beefy flavor. They’re also uncomplicated (like Eli Manning). And pickled onions are just neat. You’ll try this, enjoy it, and not think about it for awhile. Then, in six months, you’ll wake up in the middle of the night, sweating and screaming, “Beef rib tacos!” You’re welcome.

Beef Rib Tacos with Pickled Onion
(serves 4-5)


For the ribs:
About 6-7 lbs beef ribs*
2 cups beef stock
3/4 cup OJ
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 heaping tbsp garlic pepper sauce (the kind in Vietnamese restaurants)
3 or 4 green onions, chopped
2 tbsp cumin
Tbsp chili powder
pinch of cinnamon
Tortillas for serving

For the pickled onions:
1 medium red onion, sliced into thin rings (use a mandolin slicer if you’ve got one)
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp cup sugar
tsp corriander seeds
1 or 2 cloves
bay leaf


1. Remove silver skin from the backs of the ribs. Insert a thin blade between the silver skin and the meat. Peel it back with some sterile needle nosed pliers. No, I’m not joking.
2. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker (Yup, this is another “easy” post. Deal with it.) on low for about 8 hours. You’re looking for the bones to pull away from the rib meat effortlessly.
3. Let the meat cool down some, then shred it, adding in a little of the strained braising liquid. You can do this ahead and heat up the meat on a hot, dry skillet or under the broiler for a minute or so (which will add a little crust). Serve with warm tortillas (I used corn, but I’m not going to tortilla shame you if you use white) and…

Pickled Onions:
1. In a sauce pan, bring all ingredients to a boil.
2. After a minute, cap the pan, and remove from heat.
3. Allow onions and pickling liquid to come to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container in the fridge. As they continue to cool, their color will turn a bright pinkish red. These stay good in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

*Beef ribs undergo significant shrinkage as they cook, so buy over 1 lb per person.