I know, it’s grill season. Trust me, we suffered through a winter-like spring here in the Midwest so yes, bring on summer! Bring on the charcoal and smoking chips! Put away that slow cooker!
Well….hold on just a minute.
As tempted as I am to stow away the slow cooker in favor of my Weber kettle, I think about this recipe and decide it’s not QUITE time to give the crock pot the summer off. After all, who doesn’t love tender, slow cooked beef on a tortilla with fresh guac and a slushy margarita. THAT…is summer to me.
This recipe was inspired by a not-so-ordinary gift from my son. After visiting a friend in the city, he arrived home with a 3# package of thinly sliced short ribs (the perks of having a friend whose parents own a grocery store) These are the sort of gifts I love! And I admit a bit of a challenge, this one.
Never before had I seen short ribs sliced in this manner. On to Google, and discovered this to be a “flanken” cut, often used in Korean cuisine. Yep, a first for me.
Expert meat people instructed that this cut should be cooked quickly over high heat, but for some reason I chickened out on that whole approach. I thought back to an Italian-inspired braised short rib ragu recipe I made a while back. So tender with a concentrated beef flavor. This time, though, I was feeling more Southwest flavors. I had zero time to tend to braising, so into the slow cooker they went along with a smoky, spicy chipotle rub, some onions and a cup of dark Mexican beer.
Now to tweak the original recipe. The flanken ribs had great flavor but not enough meat for this purpose, so the first substitute was traditional English cut ribs. The chipotle rub was amazing…no changes there.
If you don’t cook a lot, I understand the reluctance to keep this many spices on hand. In that case, look for a good-quality chile/Southwestern seasoning blend like this Mesa Rosa Chipotle Seasoning blend from Urban Accents. Otherwise, this recipe is incredibly simple. Just slice an onion, brown the seasoned ribs and throw it into the slow cooker with a cup of Negro Modelo.
Low and slow all day, the slow cooker is made for dishes like this. Tender, with intense beef flavor and complex spices, this meat can go just about anywhere. My creation: served “burrito” style with a flour tortilla, yellow rice, a spoonful of Ann’s Essential Guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.
The possibilities are truly endless. Use this amazing flavorful meat as the star of your nacho platter, or on tostada shells or even serve atop some creamy polenta and topped with stewed tomatoes for a comfort food kind of dinner. Check out other recipe notes and tips following the recipe and a bonus: my recipe for Ann’s Essential Guacamole.
Enjoy summer cooking low and slow my friends. This one’s a keeper!
~Slow Cooker Short Ribs with Chipotle Rub and Dark Beer~
3 1/2-4# Beef short ribs, English cut (see recipe notes)
- 1/2 tablespoon ground red chipotle powder
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoons paprika (smoked paprika if available)
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano (Mexican oregano if available)
- 1/4 tsp teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups sliced white or yellow onion
1 cup dark beer, preferably Negro Modelo
Canola or vegetable oil for browning
- Flour or corn tortillas
- Ann’s Essential Guacamole
- Saffron Rice, preferably Vigo Seasoned Yellow Rice, cooked
- Sour Cream
- Fresh chopped cilantro
- Lime wedges
Combine Chipotle Rub ingredients together and store until ready to use.
Place ribs in a large bowl and combine with enough of the seasoning mix to coat, tossing well. Let stand at room temperature approximately 30 minutes.
Heat a thin film of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ribs and brown on all sides. Remove to a platter.
Place sliced onions in the bottom of a slow cooker. Top with browned ribs. Pour beer over all. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
Using a slotted spoon, remove ribs and onions to a rimmed cutting board. Shred meat using forks and place in a bowl. Strain cooking liquid and skim fat from the top (a good quality fat separator is perfect for this!)
Add some of the degreased cooking liquid to the meat and toss. Place a large spoonful of yellow rice on a tortilla. Top with warm shredded beef, guacamole, then sour cream and cilantro. Squeeze some fresh lime over all and serve.
- If your grocery store does not carry beef short ribs, the next best thing would be a bone-in chuck roast. In a pinch, a boneless chuck roast will do just fine!
- If early morning browning of the meat is not feasible, you can skip this step but…I would recommend coating the meat in the seasoning mix the night before to kick up the flavor.
- If you don’t have these spices on hand, grab a good all-purpose seasoning like Urban Accent’s Mesa Rosa Chipotle Seasoning or any other Southwestern-inspired blend. Just keep an eye on salt contents of blends and adjust salt as necessary.