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Tacos de Costilla

Tacos de costilla, known as beef short rib tacos, constitute a delightful Mexican culinary treasure. Typically found in various taquerias and restaurants, these tacos boast beef ribs as their primary protein, offering a rich and savory experience.

The beef ribs are meticulously smoked or slow-cooked to achieve tenderness and a burst of flavors. The resulting meat, shredded or chopped, is then presented in a tortilla, adorned with an assortment of toppings such as diced onion, cilantro, lime wedges, salsa, and creamy avocado.

For added zest, some recipes recommend incorporating homemade or store-bought taco seasoning mixes to elevate the meat’s taste. These delectable tacos offer the flexibility of using different tortilla types—whether it’s the traditional corn or the softer flour variety.

Key Takeaways

  • Who This Meal Appeals To: Meat lovers, those who enjoy a hearty Mexican dish, and individuals who appreciate a blend of savory and fresh flavors.
  • Estimated Duration: Prep Time: 30 minutes, Cook Time: 3-4 hours.
  • Nutrition Facts: Rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals from the ribs and fresh vegetables, while also providing carbohydrates from the tortillas.

About this Recipe

Tacos de Costilla provides a hearty meal where the succulent taste of ribs is paired with the crunch and zest of fresh veggies. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, creating a savory treat that’s hard to resist.

Equipment Required

  • Cast Iron Pot
  • Blender
  • Wooden Spoon


  • 1 kg of ribs
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 pieces of carrot
  • 1.5 kg of tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 of cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 radishes
  • 2 green onion tails (green part only or chives)
  • Olive oil and lemon (for dressing the cabbage salad)
  • Cilantro to taste


  1. Begin by searing the ribs in a cast iron pot, aiming for a light caramel color.
  2. Once each piece of meat has color on all sides, remove them from the pot and set aside. You’ll notice some meat stuck at the bottom of the pot, which is a good source of flavor. Do not clean the pot.
  3. In the same pot, add a tablespoon of butter, half a bell pepper, an onion, and a garlic clove, all finely chopped.
  4. Cook on low heat, using a wooden spoon to scrape the bits off the bottom of the pot and integrate them into the sauce.
  5. Cook the vegetables until they are soft, then reintroduce the meat and its juices.
  6. Blend the tomatoes with a quarter of an onion, the carrots, the rest of the bell pepper, and a garlic clove. Add this mixture to the pot.
  7. Add the bay leaves, oregano, pepper, and a little salt (you’ll adjust the salt at the end of cooking).
  8. Add two cups of water.
  9. Cook the sauce on the lowest heat setting on your stove, uncovered.
  10. Let it simmer for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning at the bottom of the pot.
  11. The goal is to slowly evaporate the water, leaving the sauce clinging to the tender meat, which should break apart easily with a fork.

Side Dishes

  • A fresh cabbage salad dressed with olive oil and lemon complements the savory taste of the ribs.
  • Traditional Mexican sides like guacamole or pico de gallo are great accompaniments.

Storage Options

  • The meat freezes well, so you can double the recipe and freeze half for a future meal.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • If short ribs are not available, regular ribs can be substituted.
  • Any preferred herbs and spices can replace oregano and bay leaves based on personal taste.

Alternatives to this Meal

For further help finding your ideal beef taco, please consider taking a look at this comprehensive beef taco guide. From here you will be able to identify which tacos suit your needs most.


Tacos de Costilla is a comforting, hearty meal that embodies the rich flavors of Mexican cuisine. The slow-cooked ribs with a mix of fresh vegetables offer a delightful eating experience that satisfies the palate and warms the soul.