Grilling, Weeknight dinner
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Grilled Mexican Short Rib Tacos with Poblanos, Onions, Pineapple, and Tomatillo Salsa

Why heat up a grill and only cook meat? I want to grill everything. EVERYTHING. Taco night is the perfect grilled meal, because I don’t have to turn on the stove.

I found thin-cut short ribs at my local Mexican market. They are the same cut I use for Korean grilled ribs, but I went with a Mexican lime-garlic marinade. For the rest of the meal, I’m using recipes I’ve mentioned on the blog before, mainly to use up the veggies I got from my CSA box. I’m grilling tomatillo salsa, peppers and onions, and pineapple.
*Even the tortillas are warmed up on the grill. I wrap the stack of flour tortillas in aluminum foil, then heat them while I grill everything else.

My grill is big enough to handle all this food at once. If your grill is smaller, cook in two batches. Start with the vegetables and fruit; they take longer. The thin-cut short ribs cook through in about five minutes, so cook them as the second batch; while the ribs cook, make the salsa, and chop the peppers and onions.

Recipe: Grilled Mexican Short Rib Tacos with Poblanos, Onions, Pineapple, and Tomatillo Salsa

Cooking time: 10 minutes



Marinade (Brinerade):

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds thin cut (1/4 inch thick) beef short ribs
  • 2 large poblano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into planks
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick planks
  • 20 flour tortillas, wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Grilled tomatillo salsa
    • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
    • 1 jalapeno pepper
    • 1 ring of grilled onion (from above)
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Grilled pineapple
    • 1 pineapple, skinned and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick planks


  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Mexican hot sauce (I like El Yucateco brand chipotle and green habanero)
  • Small leaf lettuce or shredded lettuce
  • Pickled jalapenos


1. Marinate the short ribs
In a large bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients together, then add the short ribs and toss to coat. Toss the ribs every few minutes while the grill preheats to coat them with the marinade.

2. Preheat the grill
Set the grill up for cooking with direct medium heat. I preheat the grill for 15 minutes with all the burners on high, brush the grill grate clean, then turn the burners down to medium.

3. Grill it all
Start grilling the vegetables, pineapple, and heating the tortillas. Put the onions, poblanos, tomatillos, jalapeno, pineapple, and foil pack of tortillas over direct medium heat. Cook for four minutes, or until well browned on the side facing the grill. Flip everything on the grill – the vegetables, fruit, and foil pack of tortillas – then put the short ribs on the grill over direct medium heat. Cook everything for four more minutes, or until well browned. The short ribs will be cooked through – browned on the bottom, gray on top, with juices escaping. Flip the short ribs, then immediately remove everything else from the grill – the vegetables, pineapple, and pack of tortillas. Let the short ribs cook for two minutes, then remove to a platter.

4. Finish the side dishes
Let the tortillas rest on a plate, still wrapped in foil so they continue to steam, until you are ready to serve.

First, make the tomatillo salsa. Drop the garlic cloves into a running food processor, followed by the stemmed jalapeno, and let the processor run until they are completely minced. Add one of the planks of grilled onion to the food processor and pulse until minced. Add the tomatillos to the processor and run for one minute, or until completely pureed.

While the salsa is processing, cut the poblanos and remaining onion planks crosswise into 1/4 inch thick strips. Put the onions and poblanos in a small bowl, sprinkle with a little salt, then toss to combine.

Cut the pineapple into 1 inch chunks, discarding the cores.

I put the ribs on the table, whole, with a set of kitchen shears to chop them up directly into my taco, but to make things easier for your diners you can cut away the bones, then cut the rib meat crosswise into thin strips before serving.

5. Serve
Put everything on the table, stand back, and let people build their own tacos.


  • For thin cut short ribs, I use a trick I learned from Korean barbecue restaraunts. Let your eaters cut up the ribs with kitchen shears. I put the ribs on the table whole, and let everyone cut the ribs right into their tacos.
  • Don’t overcook the tortillas;. the goal is to warm them through. I left them on a little too long and the bottom tortilla was brown and crispy, not soft and bendable. Then, of course, the kids loved that one tortilla, and there was much wailing over who got to eat it.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Tomatillo salsa
Grilled peppers and onions
Grilled pineapple.

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Filed under: Grilling, Weeknight dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


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