Mexican food in all it’s forms is so incredibly flavorful and enjoyable. My family and I were fortunate to live in California for 15 years and eat the wide variety of authentic Mexican food that was available there. In recent years, a lot more Mexican food has been showing up here in North Carolina too, and we are so grateful!
Birria is a strongly flavored stew, traditionally made of goat, but in this case beef. Seasoned with chiles, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, the broth is very rich. You can eat it as a stew, or you can shred the meat, fry it in a corn tortilla dipped in broth with some cheese and eat it as an amazingly cheesy and beefy crispy taco.
I can’t resist always making the tacos because they are soooo delicious. After some trial and error, I prefer not to dip my tortillas in the broth before frying. I like to fry them in some of the beef fat separated from the broth, plus a touch of oil so they get nice and crispy. Then we dip them in the broth as we eat them. I usually add some raw chopped onion and cilantro to my shredded meat when forming the tacos, as well as to the broth served on the side.
I use a combo of chuck roast and short ribs to make this, but you can use just chuck if you don’t want to find short ribs. My family really loves these and if you haven’t had them, you may have just found your new favorite dinner. 🙂
Beef Birria Tacos
For the birria:
- 4 cups beef stock
- 3-4 lbs chuck roast
- 1-2 lbs boneless short ribs
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 head of garlic cloves separated and skin removed
- 1 carrot chopped
- 5 bay leaves
- 8 dried Mexican chili peppers I used a mix of guajillo, ancho, and new mexico but you can just use guajillo or any mix you like
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp salt adjust to taste
- black pepper to taste
For the tacos:
- corn tortillas
- shredded Oaxaca cheese or mozzarella or Monterey jack
- chopped onion
- chopped cilantro
- oil or beef fat from broth for frying tacos
Make the birria:
- Add a small amount of oil to a large oven safe dutch oven. Fry the onion, garlic and carrot over medium heat for a a few minutes. Add the chiles and stir around for a minute or two. Add the beef broth and allow to simmer for a couple minutes to soften the chiles.
- Add contents of pan to blender and blend until smooth (be careful, if the broth is hot it will spray out. Place a towel over the top of the blender to be safe).
- Wipe out the dutch oven and add a tbsp of oil. Cut the chuck into a few chunks and brown the short ribs and chuck over high heat until nicely seared.
- Add the blended broth, along with the rest of the spices and seasonings. Bring to a boil and transfer to a 300 degree oven.
- Cook for about 3 hours until the meat is extremely tender and can be easily shredded. Once the meat is done, remove pan from the oven and cool slightly.
- Remove the meat and shred it, drizzling a little broth on it as needed to keep it moist. Add the chopped raw onion and cilantro to the meat.
- Pour the broth into a fat separator. Pour off the broth into a pot and reserve the fat for frying.
- Put a little of the fat or oil in a frying pan and spread it around. Add a couple of corn tortillas and top with some shredded cheese. Add the meat mixture to half of the tortilla and fold over to make a taco.
- Fry one side of the taco until brown and crispy and then flip and fry the other side. Keep warm on a sheet tray in a 200 degree oven while frying the rest of the tacos.
- Serve the tacos with small bowls of broth with onion and cilantro added and dunk the tacos in the broth before eating.