This Birria Tacos recipe comes from my parent's home in Jalisco, Mexico which is served with the stew the beef was previously cooked in. They are traditionally eaten at weddings and baptisms in Mexico, and are gaining popularity in the United States.
These Birria Tacos are SO flavorful and adding the melted cheese at the end makes the dish. This dish actually was mistakenly made when someone dropped the taco into the stew and cooked it anyway. The recipe blew up after that and the rest is history!
What Are Birra Tacos?
Birria tacos are a delicious and popular Mexican dish known for their flavorful and tender meat, often served in corn tortillas. The key feature of birria is the slow-cooked and stewed meat, which is typically made from beef, lamb, or goat. The meat is marinated and cooked in a rich, savory sauce made from dried chilies and various spices.
Why you will love this recipe
- Flavor Explosion: The rich and aromatic blend of dried chilies, spices, and slow-cooked meat creates an explosion of flavors that's simply irresistible. It's a harmonious balance of spicy, smoky, and savory notes that will tantalize your taste buds.
- Tender and Juicy Meat: The slow-cooking process ensures that the meat becomes incredibly tender and juicy, making every bite a succulent delight.
- Versatility: You can customize this recipe to your preferences. Choose your favorite meat (beef, lamb, or goat), adjust the level of spiciness, and pile on your preferred toppings for a personalized taco experience.
- Consomé: The side of consomé (broth) takes this recipe to the next level. It's not just a dipping sauce; it's a comforting and flavorful broth that adds depth to your meal.
- Authentic Mexican Flavor: If you're a fan of authentic Mexican cuisine, this recipe brings the true flavors of Mexico to your plate. It's like a culinary journey to the heart of Mexico without leaving your kitchen.
Birria Tacos Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Chuck roast
- Guajillo chilies
- Ancho chilies
- Bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
- Beef broth
- Diced tomatoes
- Corn tortillas
- Shredded cheese
See recipe card for quantities for this Birria Tacos Recipe.
How to make Birria Tacos
Prepare the Chilies: Remove the stems and seeds from the dried guajillo and ancho chilies. Toast the chilies in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few seconds on each side until fragrant. Place the toasted chilies in a bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them soak for about 20-30 minutes until softened. Reserve the soaking liquid. Prepare the Birria Marinade: In a blender, combine the soaked chilies, chopped onion, minced garlic, ground cumin, dried oregano, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and a little salt and pepper. Blend until you have a smooth paste. You can add some of the reserved chili soaking liquid if needed to help with blending.
Cook the Meat: Cut the beef into chunks and season it with salt and pepper. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Sear the meat on all sides until browned. Add the chili paste from the blender and stir well to coat the meat. Pour in the beef broth, add the bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2-3 hours or until the meat is tender and can be easily shredded. Make the Consomé (Broth): In a separate pot, heat some oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook until they become translucent. Add the diced tomatoes, dried thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes break down and the flavors meld. Add the reserved chili soaking liquid and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Shred the Meat: Once the meat is tender, remove it from the pot and shred it using two forks. Serve: Warm the corn tortillas. Dip the tortillas in the consomé broth, allowing them to soak up some of the rich flavors.
Fill each tortilla with the shredded meat and top with chopped cilantro, diced onions and shredded cheese if you wish. Serve with lime wedges and extra consomé on the side for dipping.
Birra Tacos vs. Quesatacos
Birria is actually served as the meat itself. In Mexico, tacos were never a dish, more-so tortillas were always served on the dish of every dish as a way to accompany it. It wasn't until the 1900s that tacos became a thing itself. The main difference between how to make birria tacos and a quesabirria taco is that a quesataco has cheese and the birria taco doesn't.
- Birria Tacos are all about the slow-cooked, marinated meat and the rich chili-based sauce. They come with a side of consomé for dipping.
- Quesatacos prioritize the crispy, cheesy shell made by melting cheese on the tortilla, with a variety of fillings and toppings.
- Meat Substitutions:
- Instead of beef, you can use lamb, goat, pork, or even chicken if you prefer a different type of meat.
- For a vegetarian option, you can use mushrooms, jackfruit, or tofu as a meat substitute. Marinate and cook them similarly for flavor.
- Chili Substitutions:
- If you can't find guajillo or ancho chilies, you can use other dried chilies like pasilla or New Mexico chilies. Adjust the quantity based on your preferred level of spiciness.
- Broth Substitutions:
- If you don't have beef broth, you can use vegetable broth or chicken broth as a substitute.
- Spice Substitutions:
- Adjust the spices to your taste. If you don't have one of the spices mentioned (e.g., cloves or cinnamon), you can omit it or use a pinch of allspice as a replacement.
- Tortilla Substitutions:
- If corn tortillas are not available, you can use flour tortillas, but keep in mind that this will give the tacos a different texture and flavor.
Birria Tacos Recipe Variations
Cooking is a chance to be creative! Have fun with it and feel free to make your own variation.
- Birria de Res (Beef Birria): The traditional Birria Tacos recipe typically uses beef, but you can experiment with different cuts of beef like chuck roast, brisket, or short ribs. Each cut will impart a slightly different flavor and texture to the dish.
- Birria de Borrego (Lamb Birria): Instead of beef, use lamb for a unique and rich flavor. Lamb shoulder or leg are great choices. Lamb birria is especially popular in some regions of Mexico.
- Birria de Chivo (Goat Birria): If you're feeling adventurous, try making Birria Tacos with goat meat. It's a traditional choice in some parts of Mexico and has a distinctive, robust flavor.
- Birria de Puerco (Pork Birria): Pork can also be used for a delicious twist on the classic recipe. Pork shoulder or pork butt works well. The pork's natural sweetness complements the spicy birria flavors.
Check out my Pastel Azteca Recipe.
- Large Pot or Dutch Oven: You'll need a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven for cooking the birria meat. This pot should be large enough to accommodate the meat and the sauce.
- Blender or Food Processor: A blender or food processor is essential for making the chili paste that forms the base of the birria sauce. It's used to blend the soaked dried chilies, onions, garlic, and spices into a smooth paste.
- Skillet or Griddle: You'll need a skillet or griddle for searing the meat before it's simmered in the birria sauce. This step helps to develop flavor and color in the meat.
- Tongs: Tongs are handy for flipping and handling the meat as it sears and for shredding the cooked meat later.
- Cutting Board and Knife: A cutting board and a sharp knife are needed for chopping onions, garlic, and other ingredients, as well as for preparing toppings like cilantro and lime wedges.
- Strainer or Colander: You'll need a strainer or colander for draining the soaked dried chilies before blending them into a paste.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: Standard measuring cups and spoons are essential for accurately measuring ingredients like spices, broth, and other liquids.
- Heatproof Bowls: You may need heatproof bowls to soak the dried chilies in hot water to soften them.
- Serving Platters and Plates: Have serving platters or plates ready to assemble and present your Birria Tacos.
- Tortilla Warmer (Optional): While not essential, a tortilla warmer can keep your tortillas warm and soft as you prepare and serve your tacos.
- Ladle or Soup Bowls (for Consomé): If you're serving the consomé (broth) with your Birria Tacos, you'll need ladles or soup bowls for serving.
How to Store Your New Birria Tacos
1. Cool the Birria Tacos: Allow the cooked Birria Tacos to cool to room temperature before storing them. Leaving them out at room temperature for more than 2 hours is not recommended for food safety.
2. Separate the Components (Optional): If you've assembled the tacos with toppings like onions, cilantro, and lime, it's a good idea to store the components separately. This helps prevent the toppings from wilting and maintains the integrity of the tortillas.
3. Store in Airtight Containers: Place the cooled Birria meat (shredded or whole) in an airtight container. If you've separated the toppings, store them in their own separate containers.
4. Refrigerate Promptly: Refrigerate the airtight containers as soon as possible, ideally within two hours of cooking or assembling the tacos.
5. Store the Consomé Separately (if applicable): If you have leftover consomé (broth), store it in a separate airtight container. The consomé may be reheated and used for dipping or as a soup base.
6. Label and Date: Label the containers with the contents and date to help keep track of freshness.
7. Refrigeration Time: Birria Tacos can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Beyond this time, the quality may start to deteriorate.
8. Reheating: When you're ready to enjoy your leftover Birria Tacos, reheat them in the microwave, in a skillet, or in the oven. You can also reheat the consomé separately and use it for dipping.
Birria Tacos Recipe Tips
- Choose the Right Meat: Select a cut of meat that's suitable for slow cooking and shredding, like chuck roast, brisket, or short ribs for beef birria. For lamb or goat birria, shoulder or leg cuts work well.
- Marinate for Flavor: Allow the meat to marinate in the chili paste for at least a few hours or, ideally, overnight in the refrigerator. This enhances the depth of flavor.
- Toast the Chilies Properly: When toasting dried chilies, be careful not to burn them, as this can make your sauce bitter. Toast them just until fragrant, and then soak them in hot water to soften.
- Blend Thoroughly: When making the chili paste, blend the ingredients until the mixture is smooth. You don't want any large pieces of chili or spice in the paste.
- Sear the Meat: Before simmering the meat in the sauce, sear it in a hot skillet or pot. This step adds an extra layer of flavor by caramelizing the meat's surface.
- Low and Slow: Simmer the meat over low heat for an extended period (2-3 hours or more) until it's tender and easily shreds. This slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together.
- Check the Liquid: Keep an eye on the liquid level while simmering. If it reduces too much, add more broth or water to prevent the meat from drying out.
- Taste and Adjust: Taste the birria sauce as it simmers and adjust the seasoning as needed. You can add more salt, spices, or a touch of sweetness (like a pinch of sugar) to balance the flavors.
- Use Corn Tortillas: Corn tortillas are the traditional choice for Birria Tacos. They add an authentic texture and flavor to the dish.
- Double Tortillas: To prevent your tacos from falling apart due to the sauce's juiciness, use double tortillas for each taco. This provides extra strength and stability.
Make sure to raise the heat after adding the cheese into the taco.Print
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove