These Tequila Braised Short Rib Enchiladas are insanely good, and an upgrade from the typical enchilada experience. Succulent short ribs are braised in a rich and robust, tequila infused broth with tons of authentic Mexican spices and flavors until fall-apart tender and paired with filling beans. That braising liquid then transforms into a fine, homemade enchilada sauce for no-waste deliciousness!

tequila braised short rib enchiladas with red rice on white plate

Yasss, so excited about this new recipe, y’all! I know this is the time of year where we’re all about soups and stews and things. Meanwhile, here I go tossing in some enchiladas, ha! However, there’s technically a braising component to this recipe, so there. I loveeee me some short ribs and have been dreaming up a way to infuse them with one of my favorite cuisines…Mexican food. Here we have these tequila braised short rib enchiladas, they’re so bomb!

Tequila Braised Short Rib Enchiladas 😎

Listen, the obsession is real over these enchiladas. There’s so much goodness going on here, whew. Tons of robust depth, authentic Mexican spices, and a homemade enchilada sauce that comes after braising the short ribs. These enchiladas are loaded with meltingly tender pieces of succulent short rib, filling beans with cheese, and slathered in flavor-filled, tequila infused enchilada sauce.

Whether it’s my Red Wine Braised Short Ribs, these Birria Tacos (gahhh!), and even Braised Short Rib Ragu…like I said, I just love cooking with short ribs ♡

tequila braised short rib enchiladas in white baking dish with toppings

What You’ll Need For This Recipe

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Beef short ribs: The head honcho, friends! You’ll need nice and meaty *English style/cut* bone-in, beef short ribs. Not to be confused with the thinner cousin, Flanken style/cut, that is common for Korean BBQ and other recipes. English short ribs are cut parallel to the bone as opposed to across from it…which basically means that the pieces are thick and fat and not thin/long. That ultra-meaty goodness is everything for these short rib enchiladas!
  • Salt & pepper: To season the short ribs very liberally.
  • Olive oil: To give the short ribs a crispy brown sear before braising.
  • Onion: Such a staple for braising and flavoring the enchilada sauce.
  • Flour: Just a touch to help thicken the braising liquid.
  • Tequila: The deglazing liquid of choice here! Tequila infusion works so well in Mexican-forward dishes, friends. It adds smokiness, depth, and elevation. I use blanco tequila, however, you can use a reposado or añejo as well.
  • Brown sugar: This helps provide some balance among the bolder flavors.
  • Worcestershire: A pantry staple, bottled condiment that gives a boost to so many dishes, like soups and stews. It has a unique combo of flavors from various ingredients. Also, it kinda acts like an umami flavor bomb, too.
  • Spices: Seasonings like cumin, dried oregano, and coriander. These bring big flavors to the party and are clutch spices for Mexican-inspired dishes.
  • Chipotle peppers: The ones used here come in little cans packed with adobo sauce. They add an incredible smoky kick that you’ll love!
  • Garlic: You’ll need 6 cloves of crushed garlic.
  • Tomato sauce: Adds a robust, tomato-y flavor.
  • Dried chili peppers: We’re using dried guajillo + pasilla peppers here. These are authentic Mexican peppers that add so much flavor and richness. Contrary to what you might think, these peppers are mild and don’t pack much heat. You can find them sold in Latin markets or often in the international aisle of your local grocery store. Otherwise, grab guajillo and pasilla peppers online.
  • Broth: You’ll need liquid to cover the short ribs. Use beef or chicken broth for loads of flavor that then transforms into our enchilada sauce.
ingredients for tequila braised short rib enchiladas on beige surface

Let’s Talk About Short Ribs

So, we’ve already talked about English style beef short ribs but let’s discuss selecting the best short ribs in general. You want to grab well-marbled & meaty beef short ribs. These ribs also have a great ratio of meat without a considerable amount of fat on them. Honestly, If I can, I try to hand-pick my short ribs in the case from my local butcher. Some pieces are fattier than others and for these tequila braised short rib enchiladas, it’s all about the meaty goodness!

Where do short ribs come from? 🤓 Short ribs are a cut of beef taken from the front plate and shoulders of beef cattle. The front plate refers to the lower rib cage of the steer and cuts can be taken from the plate, brisket, chuck, and rib sections. However, cuts taken from the chuck area of the cattle are considered the best. To recap, aim for bone-in, english style, chuck short ribs.

*Room temperature short ribs. First, protein browns even better when it is near room temperature as opposed to being cold from the fridge. The recipe card notes after seasoning the ribs to let them sit for a bit to absorb the salt/pepper, and to come up to room temperature for the perfect sear.

How To Make These Tequila Braised Short Rib Enchiladas

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Season & rest the short ribs: Generously season the short ribs with salt/pepper. Set the short ribs aside to rest and sit until they reach room temperature, about 30 minutes. Afterwards, preheat the oven to 300°F. 
  2. Brown the short ribs: Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a few short ribs into the pot, working in batches. Sear the short ribs on all sides, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Then set the browned short ribs aside and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. Sauté & deglaze: Add the chopped onion into the pot. Sauté until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to coat. Cook until the flour dissipates, about 1-2 minutes. Then slowly pour in the tequila to deglaze the pot. Use a wooden utensil to stir the tequila into the mixture, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pot. Allow the mixture to cook until the tequila has mostly absorbed, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Assemble the braise: Add in the brown sugar, worcestershire, cumin, oregano, coriander, chipotle peppers, garlic, tomato sauce, and salt/pepper- to taste, stirring to fully combine. Return the browned short ribs back into the pot along with any residual juices. Then add in the dried guajillo and pasilla chili pods followed by the broth, covering everything.
  5. Braise the short ribs: Cover and transfer the pot into the oven. Allow the short ribs to braise for 3 hours, covered- until the ribs are fall-apart tender.

How To Make These Tequila Braised Short Rib Enchiladas: II

Shred the short ribs: After braising, the short ribs will be very tender. Carefully remove the ribs from the pot and set aside to cool down for a few minutes before handling. When ready, use a fork or your hands to shred the short rib meat into pieces. Discard the bones along with any excess fatty parts.

Combine meat with beans: After you have all the short rib meat shredded, add it into a bowl. Toss in the drained can of beans and mix to combine, this is the enchilada filling. Set aside until you’re ready to assemble the enchiladas!

Homemade Enchilada Sauce!!! 😛

Prepare the enchilada sauce: There are 2 ways: Immersion blender method: Place an immersion blender directly into the pot and pulse until the braising liquid is completely smooth and the enchilada sauce has formed.

Blender method: Carefully transfer the braising liquid in the pot along with all its bits into the body of a high-powered blender. Note: since the liquid is hot/warm, you need to be cautious to not have an expansion/explosion mishap. I recommend blending on the lowest speed first or working in batches if your blender can’t take all the liquid at one time. Blend until the sauce is smooth and free of any lumps, and boom, this is your delish enchilada sauce.

This enchilada sauce, whew. I love how the whole thing comes together in a pinch. All of the garlic, onion, spices, tomato sauce, peppers, and broth that made up the braising liquid has been transformed into a luscious red sauce!

red enchilada sauce in blender

Assembling & Cooking Short Rib Enchiladas

How to assemble enchiladas:  First, set up an assembly line: tortillas, enchilada sauce, short rib filling, and cheese. Next, spread about a 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce evenly onto the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Then grab a tortilla and spread 2 tablespoons of sauce over the tortilla surface.

Add a 1/4 cup of filling in a line down the center of the tortilla, then sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of cheese on top of the filling. Roll up the tortilla, tucking the inner mixture in as nicely as you can. Then place the tortilla into the prepared baking dish, seam side down. Repeat the process with remaining enchiladas.

Top & finish enchiladas: Pour any remaining sauce evenly over the assembled enchiladas in the dish >> this will depend on how wet you like your enchiladas, sauce it up as you’d like (if you have any sauce left, save for later use!). Then evenly sprinkle any remaining cheese over the top of enchiladas 🧀

Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until the enchiladas are slightly crispy.

Tips + Tricks For Preparing Enchiladas

  • Gluten-free enchiladas: Use gluten-free flour or corn tortillas.
  • Corn tortillas: While corn tortillas are used for authentic Mexican-style enchiladas, I prefer using flour tortillas. In my opinion, they’re easier to use when enchilada-making because they hold up better when you assemble/roll ’em up. Sometimes you run the risk of corn tortillas breaking when handling, but def use whatever tortillas you prefer.
  • Use chuck roast: Even though short ribs are top tier, you can use beef chuck roast as a substitute for these enchiladas. Season, brown, braise, and shred just the same as directed for using short ribs.
  • Types of beans: I love black beans with these enchiladas; however, you can use your favorite beans here: pinto beans, white beans, etc.
  • Moisten/heat tortillas: To make your tortillas a bit more pliable, place them in moistened paper towels and microwave for about 15-20 seconds. This will give the tortillas more movement and make them easier to roll.
  • Don’t fill too much: Be sure to follow the filling instructions in the recipe card, below. Overfilling the enchiladas can cause them to tear apart.
  • Seam-side down: Place the assembled short rib enchiladas in the dish seam-side down. We want all the filling to stay locked in and for the enchiladas to be tightly pressed against each other in the baking dish.

What To Serve With Short Rib Enchiladas

These tequila braised short rib enchiladas are best served immediately while they’re nice and hot. I recommend garnishing or serving with all the enchilada-inspired goods that’ll make them pop. For example: chopped onion, cilantro, sliced jalapeños, radish, avocado, shredded lettuce, crema/sour cream, guacamole, queso, and/or spanish-style rice. Then grab you a fork and dig in! 👅

Instant Pot Short Ribs (Pressure Cooker)

An unbeatable level of delicious magic happens with braising: the meat connective tissues tenderize and break down while absorbing the flavors that it’s accompanied with in the pot. Oven-braised short ribs do take a few hours due to the slower cooking process, but not everyone has the time.

If you don’t want to wait 3 hours for oven-braising, I got you:

To make this recipe using a pressure cooker, here’s how it’ll go down: Season/rest short ribs as instructed in step 1 in the recipe card, below. Set the IP to the sauté function and add the oil. Follow step 2 in the recipe card to brown short ribs, about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Then follow steps 3-4 to sauté the onion, deglaze, and assemble the braise. Seal and set the IP to the pressure cook function and set the cook time for 45 minutes. Afterwards, allow the IP to naturally release its steam, then follow steps 6-10 to finish short rib enchiladas. Woohoo!

Make-Ahead Enchiladas & Freezing Notes

These short rib enchiladas can be prepped ahead, yay! To make-ahead, simply follow instructions as written in steps 1-8. After the enchiladas have been assembled, cover the dish tightly with foil and place in the refrigerator for no more than 1 day. Then bake as directed when ready.

⇢ Freezing these enchiladas is also an option that you could go with…either freezing unbaked or freezing leftover cooked enchiladas. Here’s how:

Freezing unbaked enchiladas: To freeze, simply follow instructions as written in steps 1-8 and assemble the enchiladas in a freezer-safe dish or foil pan. Cover them well with foil and they’ll keep stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, thaw out enchiladas and bake as directed.

Freezing cooked/leftover enchiladas: To freeze an entire pan of cooked enchiladas or remaining leftovers, make sure they’re at room temperature. Cover them well, I recommend double wrapping them to ensure that they don’t dry out. They’ll keep stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheating frozen enchiladas: When ready to reheat, thaw out enchiladas. Then bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes or until warmed through completely.

closeup of short rib enchiladas on white plate

Paging deliciousness…these Short Rib Enchiladas just have to be on your agenda, peeps! Tasty, messy, and hella bomb. Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

If you love flavor-filled & scrumptious eats, don’t miss:

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tequila braised short rib enchiladas with red rice on white plate

Tequila Braised Short Rib Enchiladas

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 2 reviews
  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 enchiladas 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Braise, Oven-baked
  • Cuisine: Mexican American

Description

These Tequila Braised Short Rib Enchiladas are insanely good, and an upgrade from the typical enchilada experience. Succulent short ribs are braised in an extra rich + robust, tequila infused broth with tons of authentic Mexican spices and flavors until fall-apart tender and paired with filling beans. That braising liquid then transforms into a fine, homemade enchilada sauce for no-waste deliciousness!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 lbs bone-in beef short ribs (about 6 meaty pieces!)
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup tequila, good-quality- (I use silver/blanco)
  • 2 tablespoons packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 dried guajillo chili pod, stem cut off & inner seeds shaken out
  • 1 dried pasilla chili pod, stem cut off & inner seeds shaken out
  • 2 cups beef or chicken broth

For finishing & assembling short rib enchiladas:

  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans or pinto beans, liquid drained
  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) shredded Mexican-style cheese
  • 8 large flour or corn tortillas
  • For garnishing & serving enchiladas: chopped onion, cilantro, sliced jalapeños, radish, avocado, shredded lettuce, crema/sour cream, queso, guacamole, and/or spanish-style rice

Instructions

  1. Season & rest the short ribs: In a large bowl (or on a large plate), generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper on all sides. Set the short ribs aside to rest and sit until they reach room temperature, about 30 minutes. Afterwards, preheat the oven to 300°F. 
  2. Brown the short ribs: Heat the oil in a large dutch oven (at least 5-quarts in capacity + oven-safe) over medium-high heat. Once the mixture is shimmering, gently swirl the pot around to evenly coat the bottom. Add a few short ribs into the pot, working in batches, careful not to overcrowd. Sear the short ribs on all sides until a deep brown crust appears, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the browned short ribs onto a clean plate/platter and repeat the process until all the short ribs are browned. Then set the browned short ribs aside and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. Sauté & deglaze: Add the chopped onion into the pot. Sauté, while stirring every so often, until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir to coat. Allow this mixture to cook until the flour dissipates and lightly browns, about 1-2 minutes. Then slowly pour in the tequila to deglaze the pot. Use a wooden utensil to stir the tequila into the mixture, scraping up any of those glorious bits that have collected on the bottom of the pot. Allow the mixture to cook until the tequila has mostly absorbed, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Assemble the braise: Add in the brown sugar, worcestershire, cumin, oregano, coriander, chipotle peppers, garlic, tomato sauce, and salt/pepper- to taste, stirring to fully combine. Return the browned short ribs back into the pot along with any residual juices that have collected. Then add in the dried guajillo and pasilla chili pods. Pour the broth over everything- the ribs should be almost completely submerged under the liquid.
  5. Braise the short ribs: Cover the pot with a lid and transfer the pot into the oven. Allow the short ribs to braise for 3 hours, covered- until the ribs are meltingly tender and falling off the bone.
  6. Shred the short ribs: After braising, the short ribs will be very tender. Carefully remove the ribs from the pot and set aside to cool down for a few minutes before handling. At this stage, increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Back to the ribs, use a fork or your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to shred the short rib meat into pieces. Discard the bones along with any excess fatty parts. Mix the short rib meat with can of beans, this is your filling, set aside.
  7. Prepare the enchilada sauce: There are 2 ways: Immersion blender method: Place an immersion blender directly into the pot and pulse until the braising liquid is completely smooth and the enchilada sauce has formed. Blender method: Carefully transfer the braising liquid in the pot along with all its bits into the body of a high-powered blender. Note: since the liquid is hot/warm, you need to be cautious to not have an expansion/explosion mishap. I recommend blending on the lowest speed first or working in batches if your blender can’t take all the liquid at one time. Blend until the sauce is smooth and free of any lumps, this is your enchilada sauce.
  8. Assemble enchiladas:  Set up an assembly line: tortillas, enchilada sauce, short rib filling, and cheese. Then spread about a 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce evenly onto the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Grab a tortilla and spread 2 tablespoons of sauce onto the tortilla, using the back of a spoon to spread over the surface. Add about a 1/4 cup of filling in a line down the center of the tortilla, then sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of cheese on top of the filling. Roll up the tortilla, tucking the inner mixture in as nicely as you can. Then place the tortilla into the prepared baking dish, seam side down. Repeat the process until all enchiladas have been assembled.
  9. Bake: Pour any remaining sauce evenly over the assembled enchiladas in the dish >> this will depend on how wet you like your enchiladas, top as you’d like (if you have any sauce left, save for later use!). Then evenly sprinkle any remaining cheese over the top. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until the enchiladas are slightly crispy.
  10. Serve these short rib enchiladas immediately while they’re nice and hot. Garnish/serve with all the goods (chopped onion, cilantro, jalapeños, crema/sour cream, avocado, rice, etc.)- as desired…Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks along with instructions to prep/make-ahead + freezing enchiladas & cooking notes for making short ribs using an instant pot/pressure cooker.
short rib enchiladas in white baking dish