I’ve mentioned it before, but seriously, I eat homemade tacos for dinner every single (or darn near every single) Saturday night. Allow me to explain my longest-running food tradition to you. #warning #itslong
The tradition began before I was even born. My parents played tennis with friends on Saturdays, and tacos were an easy and cheap way to feed a crowd at the end of the day. The tennis playing waned over the years, but the tacos remained.
At some point, it dawned on me that I would have to find a husband willing to go along with this delicious insanity. Luckily, Jeff didn’t bat an eye when I broke the news that every Saturday dinner for the rest of his life had been pre-determined.
Fox Family Tacos are prepared according to an un-changing set of guidelines: Browned ground beef with a little chopped white onion and taco seasoning. La Victoria Salsa Brava hot sauce. Extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (also a necessity for my taco mac and cheese).
Chopped tomato and shredded iceberg lettuce, tossed together in the same bowl with plenty of salt and pepper. Flour and soft-shell corn tortillas, pan-fried in oil. Coca-Cola Classic on the rocks.
Tacos are a perfect way for families to spend time together in the kitchen. My Mom got me involved as soon as I was old enough to wield a box grater.
She would start the beef, and we would both take turns stirring while it cooked. I shredded the block of cheese while she chopped lettuce and tomato. I set the table, poured the Cokes, and woke Dad up from his nap while she fried the tortillas.
Now that Jeff and I have continued the tradition in our own home, I’ve taken over most of my Mom’s old duties, and passed most of my previous duties (including the monotonous cheese-grating task) on to Jeff.
Did I ever eat an Asian taco growing up? Absolutely not. But since taco night is moving from Saturday evening to Sunday Supper this week, I figured I’d give the tacos a new spin, just this once.
Inspired by some great Korean short rib tacos I’ve eaten from food trucks, these tacos utilize short ribs simmered in a slow cooker with a variety of Asian flavorings, like the gochujang I’m still trying to use up. I topped them with a crunchy carrot and cilantro slaw and juicy, sweet pineapple.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 pounds bone-in short ribs
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) beef broth
- 1/2 cup gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar, divided
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1-1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 12 small flour tortillas, warmed
- 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
- In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add short ribs and cook 8 minutes or until very brown, turning every 2 minutes to brown all sides.
- Meanwhile, in slow cooker bowl, whisk together garlic, broth, gochujang, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, ketchup, honey and ginger. Add short ribs, turning to coat. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours.
- In medium bowl, toss carrots, cilantro and remaining 2 tablespoons rice vinegar until combined.
- When short ribs are finished cooking, remove from slow cooker. Remove bones and any visible un-rendered fat. Coarsely shred meat. **The meat should be very moist and can be eaten as is. However, if desired, separate the drippings from the fat remaining in the slow cooker bowl. I use a gravy separator for this. Alternatively, you can pour all liquid remaining in the slow cooker bowl into a large measuring cup and refrigerate 20 minutes. The fat should come to the top, and you can easily skim it off and discard. Use a few tablespoons of the meat drippings to stir into the meat.
- Build tacos using tortillas, pineapple, meat and carrot slaw. Serve garnished with sesame seeds.