Chef Nancy Oakes’s Drunken Short Rib Tacos Recipe

 Courtesy All-Clad

Having people over for dinner doesn’t mean you have to roast a goose or do some table filled with French dishes you learned to cook from watching reruns of Julia Child’s show that you found online. Sometimes all you need is something like this drunken short rib recipe that Chef Nancy Oakes came up with for the people at All-Clad.  Oakes, the owner and chef at Boulevard in San Francisco, could easily serves this up at her beloved restaurant with the epic views of the bay and critically acclaimed food, and that’s exactly the kind of thing you look for when you’re feeding people in your own home. Something that’s not too complicated, but a meal that will knock their socks off. 


  • 8 lbs. beef chuck short ribs, boneless
  • 6 dried New Mexico chiles
  • 12 roma tomatoes, halved
  • 1 7 oz can of chipotle pepper in salsa adobo
  • 2 yellow onions quartered
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 T. dried oregano
  • 2 t. cumin seed, toasted
  • 2 T. coriander seed, toasted
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 bunch cilantro, sprigs picked from the stems and stems reserved
  • 1/4 c. oil
  • 1 btl. Repanso Tequila
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Tomato-Chili Sauce

  1. Wipe clean the dried chilies and remove the stems, seed and veins.
  2. Toast the chilies in a medium hot oven for a minute or two until they just start to change color, remove stems and seeds.
  3. Soak the toasted chilies in water for at least 30 minutes, drain and reserve the soaking water.
  4. In a spice grinder, add the toasted cumin and coriander seeds. Grind into a fine powder.
  5. In a blender, add the soaked chilies, tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cilantro stems.
  6. Add about 1 cup of the reserved soaking liquid and blend, add more liquid if necessary to obtain a very smooth & thick consistency.
  7. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Drunken Beef

  1. Blot the short ribs dry with a paper towel and season well with salt.
  2. Heat the dutch oven over medium high heat, add the oil and wait until it shimmers.
  3. Add the short ribs and brown on all sides, be patient, this will take a few minutes per side.
  4. Once the beef is browned, remove and set aside.
  5. Remove all but 4T. of oil from the pot and return to medium heat, add the reserved tomato-chili sauce, bring to a simmer and stir frequently, about 3–4 minutes.
  6. Stir in the tequila, and then return short ribs to pot.
  7. Cover and place in 325°F oven.
  8. Cook for 2 hours, turning the short ribs over every once in a while.
  9. At 2 hours remove the lid, return to the oven to cook for 1/2 hour.
  10. This will reduce the sauce and deepen the color.
  11. Check for doneness by piercing the roast with a thin knife or fork.
  12. Once there is no resistance in the center, remove from the oven.
  13. Let cool in sauce.
  14. Degrease the sauce by ladling off any excess oil at the top.
  15. Adjust seasoning.
  16. To server remove the beef from the sauce, gently pull the warm beef apart with two forks, pour the warm tomato-chili sauce over the pulled beef.

Cabbage Lime Slaw


  • 1/2 head green cabbage, sliced very thinly
  • 1/2 head napa cabbage, sliced very thinly
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced very thinly
  • 2 julienned jalapenos, seed removed
  • Pickled cilantro leaves
  • 1–2 ea. Juice of limes
  • 1–2 t. salt
  • 2 T. sugar

Toss everything together and serve immediately or drain before serving if made ahead. Adjust seasoning.

Queso Fresco: Corn tortillas, diced avocado seasoned with lime and salt

To serve:

  1. Place a generous spoonful of meal and sauce on a warm corn tortilla. 
  2. Sprinkle with warm queso fresco and diced avocado, top with a pinch of slaw.
  3. Serve to friends with more tequila.