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Smoky Short Rib Tacos with Pepper Mustard Slaw

These are the best smoky short rib tacos made in the slow cooker! Served with a banana pepper mustard and napa cabbage slaw, it's a flavor explosion.
5 from 6 votes
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smoky short ribs

  • 3 pounds  boneless beef short ribs
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • teaspoon  salt
  • teaspoon  pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon  ground cumin
  • tablespoon  grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 4 to 8  ounces  of your favorite beer or beef broth

banana pepper mustard

  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons diced pickled banana pepper rings
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey

slaw and topping

  • 12 corn or flour tortillas, for serving
  • 2 ½ cups shredded napa cabbage
  • ½ cup radish slices
  • ½ cup chopped freshly cilantro
  • ½ cup diced pickled banana pepper rings, for serving
  • lime wedges for spritzing


short ribs

  • Trim any major fat excess from the ribs. I like to leave a little on for flavor. In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder and cumin.
  • Rub the seasoning mixture evenly over the ribs. At this point, you can throw the short ribs directly in the slow cooker or you can brown them first. I have this slow cooker that sears meat in the crock, and it's amazing!
  • To sear the beef, add the oil to a large pot or dutch oven (or that slow cooker). Add the ribs and sear on all sides until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Place the short ribs in the slow cooker and add the liquid smoke and beer. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  • After 8 hours, remove the short ribs and shred them with kitchen tongs or a fork. Place them back into the slow cooker and cook on high for 30 minutes or so, so they soak up some of the juices.
  • To braise the short ribs in the oven: sear the short ribs in a cast iron or enamel (any over-safe) dutch oven as instructed above. Pour 8 ounces of beer/broth in the pot. Cover the pot and stick it in the oven. Braise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. After 3 hours, the ribs should be tender and falling apart.

banana pepper mustard

  • Make the mustard while the short ribs are cooking. Blend the ingredients together in a food processor until combined. Taste and if you’d like to add more honey, go for it! It should be tangy, but not unbearable.

slaw and topping

  • I love to toss the cabbage with some of the banana pepper mustard, but you can also toss it with a pinch of salt and pepper and freshly squeezed lime juice. It’s your call!
  • To assemble the tacos, spread some of the mustard on a corn or flour tortilla. You can spread as much as you’d like! Top with the cabbage and radish slices. Add the pulled short ribs on top. Top with cilantro and a spritz of lime, as well as more banana peppers. Devour!

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