Braised Short Rib Taco with Korean Barbecue Sauce, Kim Chi, and Apples

Food Recipes by Lisë Stern / March, 2012

 This tasty taco is made with ultra slow cooked short ribs, with homemade kimchi and apple slaw on a flour tortilla. To save time, if desired, use store-bought kim chi. Each component can be prepared in advance.


Adapted from Executive Chef Ian Thomas of The District.

Kim Chi

1 head Napa cabbage (about 2 ½ pounds)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
10 tablespoons sugar, divided
¼ cup minced garlic
¼ cup minced ginger
½ cup coarse ground Korean chili powder
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
6 white anchovy filets, rinsed
½ cup julienned scallions
½ cup julienned carrots 

Short Ribs

1½ pounds boneless beef short ribs
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large carrot
2 stalks celery, including leaves
½ yellow onion, skin and root still attached (washed thoroughly)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2½ cups plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
4 slices North Country Smokehouse bacon
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Apple Slaw

1 red bell pepper, deveined and seeded
1 medium carrot
2 stalks celery
½ red onion
2 firm tart apples
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon Applecrest Farms Apple Cider Vinegar


8 corn tortillas or 4 flour tortillas
4 teaspoons chopped cilantro
Applecrest Farms Apple Cider Vinegar to taste

1. Prepare the kimchi. Slice cabbage in half lengthwise, from stem to tip. Rotate and slice the cabbage into 1-inch pieces, about the width of your thumb. Place in a large sealable container and sprinkle the salt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the cabbage. Seal the container and shake gently to coat the cabbage. Let sit overnight at room temperature.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the garlic, ginger, chili powder, remaining ½ cup sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and anchovies. Beat it like it owed you money. Stir in the scallions and carrots and refrigerate, covered, overnight.

3. The next day, transfer the cabbage to a colander and squeeze as much liquid as you can; using your hands is easiest. Add the drained cabbage to the refrigerated carrot and scallion mixture and toss to combine. Refrigerate overnight. Store in a covered jar, refrigerated, for up to month (but you will finish it before then).

4. Prepare the short ribs.  Preheat the oven to 250°F. Season the ribs liberally with salt and pepper. The ribs may be grilled or pan-seared. To grill, preheat the grill. Grill the ribs just enough to mark them—you’re not cooking them here, so don’t let them cook through. Just grill marks are okay; you want that charred flavor in the final product. Alternately, pan-sear the seasoned ribs in a skillet just to sear the surfaces. Transfer grilled or seared meat to a Dutch oven or deep roasting pan.

5. Peel carrot and cut lengthwise from stem to tip, slice again lengthwise to make four pieces. Place in a saucepan. Smash the celery with the flat of a knife against a cutting board and add to saucepan with the onion and sesame oil. Sprinkle with a little salt to help release moisture. When the vegetables release their juices and have cooked dry, add 2½ cups of the water, bacon, soy sauce, and sugar. Bring to a boil and pour over short ribs. Cover the pot and bake for at 250°F until meat is tender, about 8 hours.

6. When meat is tender, let cool. Remove the short ribs and tear into smallish chunks. Strain the remaining liquid into a saucepan and bring to simmer, skimming the foam off and spooning out as much fat as possible.

7. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon water. Add to simmering liquid, whisking constantly until thickened. Continue to cook for about 3 more minutes. Add the short rib chunks and toss to coat completely.

8. Prepare the apple slaw. Slice the bell pepper into the thinnest strips you can manage. Cut the carrot into thin slices on the bias, and cut again into julienne sticks. Peel the celery and slice into julienne strips about two inches long. Slice the red onion as thin as you can. Peek the apple if you wish, core it, and slice into equal size sticks.

9. Toss all the vegetables and apples in a bowl; add the cilantro and cider vinegar. Toss to incorporate.

10. Assemble the tacos. Grill or steam tortillas to warm. Place on plates, then place short rib chunks in the middle. Top with kimchi and apple slaw. Sprinkled with cilantro and a dash vinegar and serve.

Makes 4 servings

Beer: Throwback Brewery Campfire Smoked Porter (North Hampton, N.H.)
Wine: Peter Paul Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley, California