Braised Beef Short Ribs are such a warming, rich comfort food, as well as being low carb and keto! Add a Mexican flair to them and you have a richly flavored, fork-tender beef stew (Caldo de Res). This recipe feeds a crowd, but it also can just serve two and then be used in a whole range of Mexican dishes the next day (like quesabirria tacos).
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What Type of Meat are Short Ribs?
Beef short ribs are similar to pork “spare ribs”, except they are usually larger and meatier; and they come from a cow rather than a pig of course.
The photo above is the dish I made with standard beef short ribs. I have made this dish with the boneless type of pork short ribs also (aka country-style ribs) and it was great both ways. The photo below is a recipe for pork spare ribs.
Beef short ribs are best braised, stewed, or slow-cooked in liquid over low heat to yield fork-tender meat.
Short ribs are high fat, but then if you are on a keto or low-carb diet, that is often desirable.
Illustrated Step by Step:
The hands-on preparation of this dish is fairly simple, with the low and slow roasting in the oven the key to getting robustly flavored, tender meat. Below are the basic steps (see recipe card for further details):
Step #1: Slice short ribs into 2-3” chunks and brown in oil
Step #2: Remove ribs and caramelize onions 5-8 min.
Step #3: Add spices to the onion mixture, cook for 1 min, and deglaze with enchilada sauce
Step #4: Add short ribs back to the pot and bring to a low boil
Step #5: Cover the stew and cook in 350 F oven for 2-3 hours
Sides to Pair with Braised Short Ribs
My favorite pairing with these short ribs is to serve them on a bed of orzo pasta. Other higher carb sides that are popular with Caldo de Res include:
- Smashed potatoes
A dollop of sour cream on the carb side dishes makes the pairing perfect!
Vegetable side dishes that pair nicely with short ribs include all of the various greens (and they pack the highest nutritional punch with the lowest level of carbs).
And I must say a Mexican Michelada beer cocktail with a squeeze of lime is a perfect side to this dish also!
Can They be Made in an Instant Pot?
I use my Instant Pot a lot, and basically, anything that requires a long cooking time can be made within a shorter time in a pressure cooker without a loss of flavor. That said, I have not made these short ribs in an Instant Pot, so I can’t tell you 100% that they would be as robust in flavor. I have cooked pork cubes in my Instant Pot for Tacos al Pastor – delicious!
If you do opt for the instant pot, just make sure you fully braise the ribs first and then give them a fairly long cooking time (I’d start with an hour).
Ingredients for Mexican Braised Short Ribs
Adding some complex, smoky chile spices to this dish enhances the depth of flavor and takes it to new heights. I sometimes exchange enchilada sauce for beef broth to deglaze the pot.
If you enjoy all types of Mexican food, check out this category of ALL Mexican recipes, where you will find over 40 Mexican recipes, from casual, to low carb, to fancy.
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Mexican Braised Short Ribs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds beef short ribs
- 1 large onion sliced or chopped
- 6 cloves garlic smashed or minced
- 4-5 poblano peppers (optional) Roasted, peeled and sliced into strips (see notes for roasting process)
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon spicy chipotle
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 tablespoons Tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons enchilada spice mix alternatively, use an enchilada sauce and omit the tomato paste (DIY blend is in Notes section)
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme option: use 1 tsp dried
- 3-4 cups water
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a dutch oven (or large ovenproof pot or Mexican cazuela) and heat up over med-high.2 tablespoons olive oil
- Slice ribs into 2-3” chunks. Pat ribs dry with a paper towel and begin adding them to the pot in batches to sear (to brown). Only add one layer of ribs to the pot at a time so as not to overcrowd the pot. Brown all sides of the ribs until the edges form a golden brown crust, about 5 minutes per side. Once browned remove from pot and set aside.3 pounds beef short ribs
- Once ribs are removed from pot, coat the pot with some more oil if needed and reduce the heat to medium. Add sliced onions and caramelize over med-high heat for about 6-7 minutes (or until caramelized but not burned).1 large onion
- Add garlic to onions and cook for 30 seconds. Add poblano strips at this time if you are using them, and then add spices and salt. Stir for a minute to toast spices.6 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon spicy chipotle, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon salt
- Deglaze the pot with the broth (or prepared enchilada sauce), scraping off any brown-bits that have formed on the bottom of the pot. If not using a prepared enchilada sauce, stir in tomato paste and enchilada spice blend instead (see notes for DIY blend).2 cups beef broth, 3 tablespoons Tomato paste, 3 tablespoons enchilada spice mix
- Add back in the browned ribs to the pot, along with any juices that drained from the ribs. Add the thyme. Also add enough water to almost cover the ribs (about 2 cups). Alternatively, you can add red wine instead of water for a richer sauce.4 sprigs fresh thyme, 3-4 cups water
- Bring everything to a gentle boil, cover the pot, and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for 2-2 1/2 hours. Check occasionally and add more water if ribs are starting to dry out.
- Transfer to a serving dish or serve from the pot. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges if desired. Serve with orzo or rice on the side or as a bed.You can make this dish ahead of time and reheat over the stovetop before serving. The flavors continue to develop in the refrigerator.
- 3 Tablespoons mix of dried and ground chile peppers
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon annatto
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated onion powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic powder
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