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. 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.
Asian Short Rib Tacos with Pineapple and Crunchy Slaw
- 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.