Birria tacos are a traditional Mexican meat stew turned into taco form. This slow cooked meal is perfect for a weekend day where you want to smell the lovely aroma and enjoy a spicy, delicious take on the classic.
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I love slow cooked meals.
Birria tacos are no exception.
Started on the stove top and finished in the oven, this recipe features fall off the bone meat that is seasoned with the perfect blend of southwestern spices.
One bite and you’ll want to make these every time you have tacos!
What are birria tacos?
Birria is a traditional Mexican dish.
In culinary terms, birria means “exquisite savory dish, full of culture.”
But birria specifically refers to the way the meat’s prepared as a meat stew.
The stew can be eaten as is, or used as filling for tacos
The rumored origin is the state of Jalisco, but the idea of making it into a taco originated in Tijuana where it was prepared as a street food.
The taco idea was introduced to California and become quickly popular.
It’s now begun branching out and spreading across the rest of the U.S.
Traditionally, birria tacos were made with goat meat.
But you can use beef, veal, lamb, and pork as substitutes for goat meat, which is good because beef is much more common in the United States than goat.
You’ll need a few sets of ingredients to make these tacos.
They are broken down below.
For the chili puree, you’ll need:
- Ancho chilies – You will want to remove the tops and seeds before chopping.
- Dried guajillo chilies – To reduce the heat, make sure you remove the tops and seeds.
- Garlic cloves – I use freshly minced, but you can find minced garlic in the store in some locations that would work too.
- Crushed tomatoes – If you are in a pinch, pureed can work too.
- Water – Regular old tap water is all you need.
- Red wine vinegar – You could use white vinegar in a pinch.
- Seasonings – You’ll need thyme, oregano, cumin, allspice, and smoked paprika.
For the meat/sauce, you’ll need:
- Chuck roast – You can also use lamb if you prefer.
- Salt and pepper – Add these to taste.
- Olive oil – You can use another oil like canola oil if you prefer.
- Onion – You can use white, yellow, or red.
- Broth – Beef broth and water will form the base of the sauce.
Finally, for the toppings/assembly, you’ll need:
- Corn tortillas – They are traditionally made with corn, but you can use flour instead.
- Butter – Butter adds some extra flavor to the tacos.
- Onion – You can use red, yellow, or white.
- Cilantro – Fresh cilantro really has no substitute. If you don’t like
- Shredded Monterey Jack cheese – You can use a block and shred your own, or you can use a bag of shredded cheese.
- Limes – I like to cut them into wedges, but you can do halves.
How to make
To make, start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees.
As it heats, add the aricho and guajillo chilies, garlic, crushed tomatoes, water, red wine vinegar, and spices to a medium sauce pan.
Heat over medium-high heat until it starts to boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the chilis are softened.
Next, add the chili mixture into a food processor and pulse until it forms a thick puree.
Once the puree is ready, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven.
Before placing in the pan, generously season the meat with salt and pepper.
When the oil is hot, sear all sides of the meat, remove from the pan, and place on a clean paper towel.
With the meat removed, add another tablespoon of oil, if needed, and sauté the onion until they turn translucent and soft.
This will take about 2 to 3 minutes.
Next, pour in the beef broth and water and then place the beef back into the Dutch oven.
Pour the chili puree on top of the beef and bake 2 1/2 -3 hours or until the beef is tender.
Once the meat has cooked, remove from the oven and place the beef onto a cutting board and shred with two forks.
When you have shredded the meat, place it back into the broth.
Next, heat a skillet over med-high heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter in it.
Take one tortilla and dip both sides in the beef broth and place on the hot skillet.
Fry on each side for 1 to 2 minutes and then add some shredded beef, onion, and cheese onto each tortilla and fold in half.
Heat until the cheese is melted then remove and place on a clean plate.
Repeat with each tortilla until you have enough to serve.
Finally, top the tacos with chopped cilantro, extra cheese, and fresh lime juice.
Serve with extra sauce and enjoy!
Serving and storing
You should serve these tacos fresh and hot.
They go great with shredded cheese, butter, cilantro, and onions on top of corn flour tortillas.
If you can’t finish the tacos, you can store them in air tight containers in the fridge.
I recommend storing them in separate containers to make reheating easier.
To reheat, I recommend using a microwave for one to two minutes until warmed through.
You would just assemble them like you would when serving fresh.
Tips and tricks
- Flip the meat as it cooks twice: once at 2 hours and once at 2 and 1/2 hours. This helps give it even flavoring and makes sure it cooks evenly too.
- Don’t skip sauteing the shells and tacos before serving. This adds an extra layer of flavor and is very tasty.
- Use two forks to shred the meat. You might also have luck using a handheld mixer on low speed.
Other taco recipes you’ll love
Tender, slow cooked birria tacos are a yummy take on everyone’s favorite meal.
Make these for your next taco night and enjoy!
If you love Mexican inspired foods, you will need to check out some of my other favorite taco ideas:
- Oven Baked Tacos
- Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos
- Southwestern Chicken Tacos
- Beer Battered Fish Tacos with Cilantro Slaw
If you’ve tried these BIRRA TACOS, or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out, we love hearing from our readers! You can also follow along with me on PINTEREST, FACEBOOK, and INSTAGRAM to see more
- For The Chili Puree:
- 4 dried ancho chilies- tops/seeds removed and chopped
- 2 dried guajillo chilies - tops/seeds removed and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves- minced
- ½ can crushed tomatoes
- ½ cup water
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- For The Meat/Sauce:
- 3 lb. chuck roast or you can also use lamb
- Salt and pepper- to taste
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium onion-diced
- 32 oz. beef broth
- 2 cups water
- For The Toppings/Assembly:
- 18 corn tortillas
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- ½ medium onion- diced
- Cilantro- chopped
- Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, add the aricho and guajillo chilies, garlic, crushed tomatoes, water, red wine vinegar, thyme, oregano, cumin, allspice, and smoked paprika. Heat over med-high heat until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chilis are softened.
- Add the chili mixture into a food processor and pulse until pureed and thick.
- Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven. Season the meat generously with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot, sear all sides of the meat. Remove from the pan and place on a clean paper towel.
- Add another tablespoon of oil if needed and sauté the onion until translucent and soft.
- Pour in the beef broth and water and place the beef back into the Dutch oven. Pour the chili puree on top of the beef. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 -3 hours or until the beef is tender and is easily shred. I flipped the meat at about 2 hours and then again at the 2 ½ hour mark)
- Remove from the oven and place the beef onto a cutting board and shred. Place back into the broth.
- Heat a skillet over med-high heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Take one tortilla and dip both sides in the beef broth and place on the hot skillet. Fry on each side for 1-2 minutes. Add some shredded beef, onion, and cheese on each tortilla and fold. Heat until the cheese is melted then remove to a clean plate. Repeat with each tortilla.
- Top with chopped cilantro, extra cheese, and fresh lime juice. Serve with extra sauce and enjoy!
This post may contain affiliate links. As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See my full Disclosure Policy for details. As always, all opinions are my own.