Birria is traditionally a spicy and super savory Mexican beef or goat stew that’s slow-cooked until the meat is tender and fall-apart juicy and delicious. Someone had the amazing idea to stuff this meaty goodness into a taco shell, and then dip the whole thing into the stew and fry it up.
Tacos are good but very few people who don’t live in the Southwest know that tacos only become truly transcendent once you cook the tortilla in fat. Traditionally they do this in butter or lard, but here we use the fat from the top of the stew to give it that extra kick. Once you bite into a crisp fried taco shell, you’ll never go back.
These birria tacos are famous. They are possibly the most famous tacos you will find on social media. The image of these tacos with the fried and crispy meat and cheese sticking out the top, being dunked into a deep red consommé fill my feed.
My Birria Tacos are Sweet, mildly spicy, and filled with fall-apart tender chuck roast and Mexican cheese, you will savor every bite and want to share them with everyone!
Ingredients for Birria Tacos
- 2 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 4 large chunks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 guajillo chiles, stems cut off, and seeds removed
- 2 dried ancho chiles
- 6 garlic cloves (peeled)
- 2 Roma tomatoes quartered
- 1 medium onion halved
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1-2 tsp chili powder
- 1-inch cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt, (adjust to taste)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 to 2 cups of beef broth
- 14-16 corn tortillas
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 bunch cilantro chopped, optional
- 1 cup Mexican cheese blend grated, optional
- 1 lime cut into wedges
Instructions for Birria Tacos
- Start by removing stems and seeds from all of the dried ancho and guajillo chiles.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then remove from heat.
- Add chiles to the large pot then cover and allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, Place a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add olive oil.
- Heat oil and Sauté the bay leaf, onion, garlic, and tomato until softened. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Then transfer the Sautéed bay leaf, onion, garlic, and tomato to the blender along with soaked chilis, spices and herbs (oregano, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper), and 1 to 2 cups beef broth.
- blend as smoothly as possible. it should be completely smooth.
- Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer, back into the pot.
- If your blender is small you may need to do this in batches.
- Birria sauce is ready.
- Cut the chuck roast into large chunks and generously season it with salt and pepper.
- Add oil to a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the meats and Cover with chicken broth, then set to high pressure for 45 minutes or until the meat is completely tender.
- If using a slow cooker or stovetop, set it to low heat for 4-6 hours.
- Keep an eye on the stew and stir it every 20 minutes or so, as not to burn the meat at the bottom.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings like salt and pepper. Remove the beef from the consommé and shred it with two forks.
- Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium heat. Add a small amount of oil to the griddle.
- Using tongs, Dip a corn tortilla into the birria sauce and lay the tortilla on the hot pan.
- Quickly top with a spoonful of shredded meat, a sprinkle of cheese, and a little chopped onion and cilantro.
- Don’t overfill the tacos. Especially with the cheese, which will ooze out of the tacos while they are frying if you add in too much.
- Fold the tortilla over, in half. Fry for several minutes, until crispy and browned on the bottom.
- Remove the taco to a plate or baking sheet and keep it warm. Repeat the above steps with the remaining tortillas.
- Serve the birria tacos with a wedge of lime to squeeze in. Sprinkle remaining chopped white onion and cilantro on top.
I’m gonna be honest, these Birria Tacos are good enough to eat about a dozen of all on their own.
Tips and variations
- Mexican cinnamon sticks are softer than cassia cinnamon sticks, so be sure to use Mexican cinnamon sticks so they blend well, or substitute ground cinnamon.
- Chiles can be pretty spicy and hot. Use according to your spice tolerance.
- once the meat is cooked all the way through, towards the end, you can taste and adjust the broth as needed.
- Prepare and blend the sauce. Add sauce and meat to slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, until meat is tender.
- The meat and sauce can be cooked a few days in advance, and stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
- any good melting cheese will work in the tacos. Quesadilla cheese can be found in the market by the Mexican Cheeses. Other options would be to use Monterey Jack, Mozzarella or Oaxaca cheese.
- freeze meat and sauce separately in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before rewarming, to make tacos.
- What is birria?
A: Birria is a traditional Mexican stew made with beef or goat meat, spices, and sometimes chilies. It is often served with tortillas, lime wedges, and fresh cilantro.
- What type of meat is used for birria tacos?
A: Beef or goat meat is traditionally used for birria tacos, but some variations may use chicken or pork.
- What are some common toppings for birria tacos?
A: Common toppings for birria tacos include chopped onions, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and salsa. Some variations may also include sliced avocado, cheese, or sour cream.
- Are birria tacos spicy?
A: Birria tacos can be spicy depending on the level of heat in the chili used to make the broth and the toppings added to the tacos. However, they can be adjusted to suit individual tastes.