Get your life, baby! These beef birria tacos are everything and then some. The meat is so tender, it’s falling apart like a bad relationship. The cooking method was loosely adapted from Food & Wine.
- 3 pounds boneless chuck roast
- 3 1/2 pounds beef short ribs
- Flaky kosher salt (Diamond Crystals brand)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 6 Guajillo chilis, stemmed and seeded
- 3 New Mexico chilis, stemmed and seeded
- 2 Ancho chilis, stemmed and seeded
- 2 Pasilla chilis, stemmed and seeded
- 6 chile de árbol, stemmed and seeded
- 1 1/2 large onions, chopped in half (3 onion halves)
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped into 2-inch chunks (SEE NOTE)
- 2 2-inch chunks fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 head of garlic, peeled but cloves left whole
- 2 tablespoons flaky kosher salt (Diamond Crystals brand)
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 whole cloves, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 dried bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated onion
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 tablespoons packed brown sugar, divided
- 1 14.5oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 3 chipotle peppers, with 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
- 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 large onion diced
- 1 cup of packed cilantro, washed, dried and finely chopped (SEE NOTE)
- Zest from a lime, plus the juice of half the lime
- Pinch of sea salt
- Corn tortillas
- Monterey jack cheese, shredded by hand (SEE NOTE)
- Lime wedges
- Thinly sliced jalapenos (optional)
- Canola oil
- Birria fat
You’ll need a multi-cooker/pressure cooker for this recipe. If you don’t have one, you can make this in your oven! Just transfer everything to a large oven-safe dutch oven or pot big enough to hold it all. Cook for 3 hours in a 300 degree F oven. This will also make reducing the consome a lot easier since it’s in the same pot.
- Place the short ribs and chuck roast into a large glass bowl. Season all sides of every piece of meat generously and evenly with flaky kosher salt. Set aside.
For the pepper mixture
- Pour a tablespoon of canola oil into a 12-inch cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet over medium-low heat. Add the dried and de-seeded peppers and toss to make sure they’re all coated thinly in the oil. Continue to move them around and toast them for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant and just starting to release their natural oils. They will blister and blacken in SOME spots, and that’s fine. Do NOT let them burn or blacken all over! They will become very bitter if so. If your heat is too high, turn it down.
- Transfer the toasted peppers to a medium saucepan. Place the 3 onion halves, chopped carrots, chunks of ginger, and garlic cloves on top of the peppers and pour in 6 1/2 cups of water. Bring the water to a rolling boil. Allow the entire mixture to boil uncovered until the peppers are softened and the carrot is partially tender — about 10-15 minutes.
- Drain the pepper/onion mixture and toss out the bitter water — we don’t need it. Transfer the pepper/onion mixture to a high-powered blender, along with the white distilled vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, kosher salt, black pepper, cinnamon, whole cloves, bay leaves, dried Mexican oregano, dried thyme, ground coriander, granulated garlic, granulated onion, smoked paprika, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, the can of fire-roasted tomatoes, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, and 2 and a half cups of cold water.
- Blend until completely smooth. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, you may have to strain this mixture after you puree it to remove any large unblended chunks.
Cook the meat
- Place the salted meat into the pot of your pressure cooker, and pour all of the pepper mixture over the meat. Toss to coat. Add 8 cups of water. Set the pressure to High and cook for 50 minutes. Allow the meat to rest for 30 minutes before releasing the steam.
- Remove the tender cooked meat from the pot into a large bowl. Shred the meat to your desired consistency. I used two forks to break the meat apart, then used kitchen shears to make some pieces smaller. You can hack it with a cleaver if you choose.
Reduce the consome
- Carefully transfer the consome to a large pot, and reduce 2/3 of the way down over high heat, about 25 minutes. This will thicken the consome just slightly and also deepen its flavor. Once it’s reduced to your desired consistency, taste it! Add the apple cider vinegar and remaining tablespoon of brown sugar to balance it out if needed. If you need to add more salt, feel free to do so.
- You will have a lot of consome — check the notes below for suggestions on what to do with it.
- Skim some of the fat from the top with a spoon into a small bowl. You will use this to fry the tortillas when you’re ready to make the tacos. Add some of the consome to the meat to make it juicy and moist.
- Mix the onions and cilantro together and squeeze the juice of half a lime all over along with a small pinch of salt. Toss until evenly combined.
- Pour some of the consome into small bowls for each person eating, and add some of the onion/cilantro mixture to the consome bowl.
Make the tacos
Heat a large non-stick skillet or comal over medium heat. Add about 2 teaspoons of the birria fat and 1 teaspoon of canola oil, then place two corn tortillas down, getting the fat on both sides. Let the tortillas heat and crisp while laying flat. Add a desired amount of cheese and birria meat. Manage the heat, if it’s browning too quickly turn the heat down. When the cheese starts to melt, gently fold the tortilla to create a taco. You’ll have to hold it down for a few seconds until it seals. Flip the taco over so the other side crisps. Keep this routine going until you’ve made your desired amount of tacos.
Place the tacos on a plate, then gently pry them open to fill them with the onion/cilantro mixture. Serve with additional lime wedges and a small bowl of consome for each plate of tacos you’re serving. Get your life and enjoy.
Your carrot should be around 8 inches long, that’ll do it 😉
Include those cilantro stems, too! Tons of flavor.
You can use ANY kind of cheese you want!
Leftover consome – throw in some shredded chicken! Or any kind of meat you want. Also, pour it into freezer bags and keep it for a rainy day!
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: tacos
- Method: Pressure Cooking
Keywords: birria tacos, tacos, birria de res, how to make birria tacos