Dr. Pepper Braised Short Rib Tacos

“I’m a Pepper” from now on…

Dr. Pepper for a braising liquid transforms these tacos into a new classic.

So this recipe came about because of this whole social distancing thing. Being cooped up at the house can get a little boring, so my good friend Grady Spears and I decided to have a little friendly competition. Since his restaurant Horse Shoe Hill is on “hiatus” during this unfortunate time, he had a couple of boxes of awesome looking spareribs that needed to be cooked. So with that it was settled – spareribs was the main ingredient. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am of the mind set that “sweet” is for desserts, and even then I prefer that to be on the less sweet side. Culinary school taught me how important it is to have a balance of flavors in anything you cook. So since then, I have tried to integrate a little “sweet in my meat” and it works well as long as all flavors are balanced.

Balance is key in cooking – you want a little acid, a little sweet, a little savory – the flavors should be harmonious.

gail simmons

Avoiding grocery stores is an inconvenience, but it can have its benefits as it forces you to use what you have on hand. So while rummaging through the refrigerator for ingredients to cook with, I came across one lonely can of Dr. Pepper which seemed to be calling my name. Now I have heard of people marinating meat in things like Coke and Dr. Pepper. Heck my buddy Grady even told me about it. So I decided, right then and there, today was the day that this little 12oz can of goodness would have its chance to do its part in the great culinary balancing act.

So sorry Case (my son)… I stole your Dr. Pepper…… but it’s for the greater good.

Dr. Pepper Braised Short Rib Tacos. Hope y’all enjoy these as much as we did. These can be cooked outdoors with coals and dutch ovens or in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Dr. Pepper Braised Short Rib Tacos


  • 2 pounds short ribs
  • 12 ounces Dr. Pepper
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 large white onion chopped
  • 4 garlic clove minced


  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 cup white onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup radish sliced
  • 1 dozen tortillas corn or flour
  • 1/2 cup Twisted Red Salsa


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Season short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat 3 tbsp oil in a dutch oven. As soon as oil starts to smoke, add the short rib pieces.
  • Brown them on medium well on all sides. Do not overcrowd them as you want them to brown, not steam. Once all sides are nicely browned, remove them and set aside.
  • In the same dutch oven, add the onions. Cook them for 2 minute stirring constantly. Add the gralic and cook for 30 seconds stirring constantly.
  • Pour in Dr. Pepper and deglaze Use a wooden spoon to scrape all the bits of goodness off the bottom of the dutch oven.
  • Add beef stock and tomato paste, combine well.
  • Return short ribs to dutch oven, cover and place in oven. Cook in oven for two hours until fork tender.
  • Remove short ribs from bone, shred with a fork, and serve with warm tortillas, salsa, thinly sliced radishes, chopped onion, cilantro.

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