About This Beef Birria Tacos Recipe
I love Mexican food because it is always full of unique and intensely bold ﬂavors, and these beef birria tacos are no exception.
Birria is a rich Mexican stew that originated in Jalisco. It is traditionally made with goat or lamb meat. The Spanish, in the 16th century, brought with them all kinds of animals to Mexico, including goats. Unlike other animals, the goats were not very loved because they used to destroy the crops and multiply fast, and their meat was stringy and gamey.
But out of necessity, the residents adapted to cook goat meat for a longer time to tenderize it and added lots of spices to hide the gamey ﬂavor. Later on, they also used the same cooking method with other meats like beef or pork.
Traditionally, birria was served as a stew with cilantro and white onion, but now it is also used as filling for tacos or burritos and in nachos, salads, and quesadillas.
There are many variations of birria made with different meats and spices and cooked in various ways. But it is essentially a stew made from chuck roast or short ribs that are braised in a mixture of dried chiles, and spices like oregano, cumin, bay leaves, and cinnamon.
The fork-tender braised beef is then stuffed in a corn tortilla that was ﬁrst dipped in the stew liquid and then pan-fried until crispy and golden brown.
These amazingly ﬂavorful Mexican tacos are topped with shredded Oaxaca cheese, cilantro, and lime and served with a small bowl of stew for dipping. A delicious homemade Mexican meal you can’t beat!
What You Need for This Beef Birria Tacos Recipe
- Beef: I have used beef chuck cut in cubes.
- Dried Chiles: The chiles are very important because they add a lovely deep ﬂavor to the stew. I like to use a combination of dried Guajillo and Ancho chiles. And for a little bit of heat, I add 2-3 chiles de Arbol. I like to remove the seeds, but you can leave them if you can handle the heat.
- Tomato, Onion & Garlic: They give structure and a wonderful rich ﬂavor to the dried chiles and spices.
- Spices: I like to use a combination of dried oregano, ground cumin, bay leaves, and cinnamon. They give a wonderful earthy ﬂavor to the stew.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: To sear the beef cubes, I use a little bit of extra virgin olive oil.
- Broth: I like to use chicken broth for a lighter taste.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: A little bit of vinegar helps balance all the ﬂavors.
- Tortillas: Corn tortillas are a must for these tacos.
- Toppings: I have used Oaxaca cheese, which is a soft melting Mexican cheese, cilantro, and lime.
- Beef: I like to use beef chuck cut in cubes, but you may also use different cuts of beef. Short ribs, beef oxtail, beef shanks, or a combination of these will work great too. Or you may use pork, goat, or lamb.
- Dried Chiles: I use a combination of Guajillo, Ancho, and Chiles de Arbol, but you may use whatever dried chiles you like.
- Oaxaca Cheese: It is a Mexican melting cheese, but you may also use other types of melting cheese like mozzarella.
- Chicken Broth: I like to use chicken broth for a lighter taster, but you may also substitute it with beef broth for a stronger, bolder taste.
How can I store these birria tacos?
You can separately store the birria and the corn tortillas in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Can I freeze birria?
Yes. You can freeze it in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. You can then reheat it in the microwave or simmer it on the stovetop.
Can I make these birria tacos ahead of time?
The tacos are best eaten right away, but you may do them up to 20-30 minutes ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven at the lowest temperature, covered in foil.
Beef Birria Tacos
Crispy, meaty, and cheesy, these beef birria tacos are easy to make and incredibly flavorful — a mouthwatering homemade Mexican meal that’ll have you coming back for more!
Yield: 10 tacos
How To Make Beef Birria Tacos Step By Step
Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles, and toast them in a skillet over medium heat until they’re hot and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
Bring 240 ml/1 cup water to a boil, remove from heat, submerge the toasted chiles into the water, and let them soak for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, using the same skillet, roast the garlic cloves, onion slices, and tomato until they become fragrant.
Remove the veggies from the skillet and place them in a blender. Add the softened dried chiles, dried oregano, ground cumin, bay leaves, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, half of the soaking liquid from step 2, and blend until completely smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add a little bit more soaking liquid.
Season the meat with salt and pepper, and sear it in a large pot with the extra virgin olive oil until golden brown on all sides.
Pour the chiles sauce over the beef, add the broth, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer with the lid on over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender and shreds easily. If the stew begins to dry up, add more broth as needed.
Remove the beef, shred it with two forks, return it to the pot, and let it soak up the juices.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Dip a tortilla into the stew to lightly coat it with the delicious liquid, then place it on the skillet.
Add some shredded birria beef on one side of the tortilla, and cook until the bottom is slightly brown and crispy.
Gently fold and press the tortilla in half to make a taco using a spatula.
Remove from the skillet and serve with shredded Oaxaca cheese, cilantro, freshly squeezed lime, or with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
- If you have sensitive skin, you may need to wear gloves when removing the stems and seeds from the dried chiles.
- While you toast the chiles, make sure not to burn them as that will make the sauce bitter.
- Dip the tortillas just on the top of the stew. Don’t saturate it completely.
- Do not overﬁll the tacos.
- With 2-3 dried chiles de Arbol, these birria tacos are not very spicy. If you like them hot, you may add more chile de Arbol or spicier chiles.