Short Ribs Alla Birria Recipe | PBS Food

Lidia hosts a dinner at Ironbound Farm in Asbury Township, New Jersey in celebration of the Artisans who opened their doors to her during the making of her special, Lidia Celebrates America: Return of the Artisans One of the dishes she prepares is Short Ribs Alla Birria, inspired by Erika Rojas, a recent graduate of the Comal Heritage Food Incubator, in Denver Colorado. Erika hails from Guadalajara, and owns a food truck where she cooks and serves the Mexican dishes she grew up with.

This dish is based on a taco recipe so the amounts are estimated – use your taste and judgement!


Prep time: 1 Hour

Cook time: 1.5 Hours



  • 4 ancho chilies
  • 4 pasilla or guajillo chilies
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • ¼ cup red wine or cider vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 15 pounds beef short ribs (if you think you need to tie them to keep them on the bone, do so)
  • 2 large onions, chunked
  • 2 cans Cento tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh herbs and finely chopped onion for garnish


  1. Toast the chilies until pliable but not burned in a cast iron pan.
  2. Put in a bowl with water to cover and soak until softened.
  3. Drain and remove the stems and seeds.
  4. Put the chilies in a blender with the garlic, vinegar, sesame seeds, oregano, cumin, ginger and cloves.
  5. Add 1 cup water and process until smooth.
  6. Heat a large dutch oven and add olive oil.
  7. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and brown in batches, removing as you go.
  8. Once the short ribs are out, brown the onion.
  9. Add the blender sauce and cook it down for a minute or two.
  10. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves.
  11. Add the meat back and enough water to almost cover them.
  12. Braise until tender but still on the bone – probably 1 to 1 ½ hours.
  13. Remove the meat then reduce down the sauce until it’s thickened Lidia-style.
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