Birria, a beloved and flavorful dish, has gained tremendous popularity in recent years. This traditional Mexican dish is known for its rich and robust flavors, tender meat, and vibrant spices. In this article, we will go into what birria is, explore its origins, and discover the versatile ways in which you can enjoy this mouthwatering culinary delight. Lets dive into these birria tacos!
What is Birria?
Birria is a savory and aromatic meat dish typically made with beef, although other meats like goat, lamb, or even pork can be used. What sets birria apart is its distinctive cooking method, which involves slow braising the meat until it becomes incredibly tender and easily shreds with a fork. This slow-cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a luscious and comforting dish that is beloved by many.
The key to birria’s exceptional taste lies in its robust and well-balanced seasoning. The meat is typically marinated in a flavorful blend of dried chilies, spices, herbs, and other aromatics. The marinade infuses the meat with layers of complex flavors, ranging from smoky and earthy to mildly spicy and tangy.
Where Did Birria Originate?
Birria’s origins can be traced back to the state of Jalisco in western Mexico, particularly the city of Guadalajara. However, its popularity has spread throughout the country and beyond, making it a cherished dish in various regions. The roots of birria can be found in the rich culinary traditions of Mexico, where slow-cooked stews and braised meats have long been celebrated.
Traditionally, birria was reserved for special occasions and festive gatherings, such as weddings, holidays, and family celebrations. However, its irresistibly flavorful nature has made it a favorite dish for any time, turning it into a beloved street food and a staple in Mexican cuisine.
How to Make Birria Tacos:
To make birria tacos, start by preparing the flavorful braising sauce. Remove the stems and seeds from guajillo chilies, Ancho chilies, and Arbol chilies. Lightly toast the chilies in a dry skillet, then soak them in hot water until softened. In a blender, combine the soaked chilies, chopped onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, water, beef broth, and apple cider vinegar. Blend until smooth and set aside. Sear the seasoned chuck roast in a skillet, then pour the braising sauce over the meat, ensuring it’s fully immersed. Add a herb and spice bag for extra flavor. Braise the beef for several hours until it becomes tender and easily shreds. Once cooked, shred the beef and dip tortillas in the braising sauce. Toast the tortillas, add Oaxaca cheese and shredded beef, then fold and fry until crispy. Garnish with diced onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Serve the birria tacos hot and enjoy the irresistible combination of flavors!
(All measurements in recipe card below)
- Guajillo chilies
- Ancho chilies
- Dried Arbol chilies
- Large white onion
- Crushed tomatoes
- Cloves garlic
- Beef broth
- Apple cider vinegar
Herb and Spice Bag
- Allspice berries
- Cinnamon stick
- Bay leaves,
- Dried oregano
- Chuck Roast
- Flour tortillas
- Oaxaca cheese
- Diced white onion (for garnish)
- Chopped cilantro (for garnish)
- Lime (for garnish)
Preparing the Braising Sauce:
Remove the stems and seeds from 6 guajillo chilies, 2 Ancho chilies, and 3 dried Arbol chilies. Lightly toast the chilies in a dry skillet until fragrant. Soak the chilies in hot water for 15 minutes until softened. Meanwhile, roughly chop 1 large white onion and peel 6-8 cloves of garlic. Drain the soaked chilies and transfer them to a blender. Add the chopped onion, garlic cloves, 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes, 2 cups water, 2 cups beef broth, and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to the blender. Prepare a herb and spice bag with peppercorns, allspice berries, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, and dried oregano. Add the herb and spice bag to the blender and blend until smooth. Set the braising sauce aside.
Preparing the Beef:
Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper. Sear the beef in a heated skillet or Dutch oven until browned on all sides. Pour the braising sauce over the seared beef, ensuring it is fully immersed. Add the herb and spice bag to the sauce. Cover the skillet or Dutch oven and let the beef braise for about 3 hours, or until tender and easily shredded with a fork.
Shredding the Beef and Assembling the Tacos:
Remove the beef from the braising sauce and shred it into bite-sized pieces using two forks or your hands. Dip a flour tortilla into the braising sauce to coat both sides. Toast the sauced tortilla in a hot skillet until slightly crispy. Flip the tortilla and sprinkle Oaxaca cheese on one half. Spoon shredded beef on top of the cheese. Fold the tortilla in half, pressing gently to seal the edges. Cook the taco for a few minutes on each side until the cheese melts and the tortilla turns golden brown and crispy. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
Serving and Garnishing:
Place the cooked tacos on a serving platter. Garnish with diced white onion, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve the birria tacos hot, accompanied by the remaining braising sauce for dipping.
Enjoy your delicious homemade birria tacos!
The Best Birria Tacos
- 6 guajillo chilies ONLY ADD THE NUMBER 6 FOR INGREDIENTS LATER
- 2 Ancho Chilies SAME HERE AND THE REST
- 3 Dried Arbol Chilies
- 1 large white onion
- 1 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 6-8 cloves garlic
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Herb and Spice Bag
- 2 teaspoons peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons All Spice Berries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Beef Used for This Recipe
- 3 pounds Chuck Roast
- Flour tortillas
- 1 pack Oaxaca cheese
- Diced white onion garnish
- Chopped cilantro garnish
- Lime garnish
- Remove stems and seeds from 6 guajillo chilies, 2 Ancho chilies, and 3 dried Arbol chilies. Toast them in a dry skillet, then soak in hot water for 15 minutes.
- Chop 1 large white onion and peel 6-8 cloves of garlic. Drain soaked chilies and blend them with onion, garlic, 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes, 2 cups water, 2 cups beef broth, and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar. Add a herb and spice bag (peppercorns, allspice berries, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, dried oregano) to the blender and blend until smooth.
- Season a chuck roast with salt and pepper, sear it in a skillet or Dutch oven. Pour the braising sauce over the beef, add the herb and spice bag. Cover and braise for about 3 hours until tender and easily shredded.
- Shred the beef, dip a tortilla into the braising sauce, toast it in a skillet, then sprinkle Oaxaca cheese on one half. Spoon shredded beef on top, fold the tortilla in half, and cook until crispy.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
- Place the cooked tacos on a serving platter, garnish with diced white onion, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Serve hot with the remaining braising sauce for dipping.
There you have it! Birria is a culinary masterpiece that brings together rich flavors, tender meat, and a touch of Mexican tradition. By following these instructions, you can create a mouthwatering dish that will impress your family and friends. However, it’s important to note that birria offers flexibility and can be customized to suit different preferences and dietary needs.
When it comes to birria, there are alternate ingredients you can consider. For meat variations, you can experiment with cuts such as beef short ribs, lamb shoulder, or even chicken to create unique flavor profiles. Additionally, adjusting the spice level is possible by changing the quantity and variety of chilies used. If you prefer a milder version, you can reduce the number of Arbol chilies or replace them with milder peppers.
When it comes to garnishes and accompaniments, traditional diced white onion, chopped cilantro, and lime juice add brightness and freshness to the tacos. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with additional toppings like sliced radishes, avocado slices, or pickled jalapenos to add more texture and flavor to the dish. Consider serving Mexican rice, refried beans, or a refreshing side salad alongside the birria tacos to create a complete and satisfying meal.
If you find yourself with leftovers, rest assured that birria tastes even better the next day as the flavors continue to meld. Store any remaining braised meat and sauce separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator, and gently reheat before enjoying them in tacos or other creative dishes.
Whether you’re seeking a comforting meal for a special occasion or simply want to indulge in the flavors of authentic Mexican cuisine, birria offers a remarkable experience. With its versatile nature and customizable elements, you can truly make it your own. So, gather your loved ones, embrace the aromas, and savor the deliciousness of homemade birria tacos. Let this traditional dish transport you to the vibrant streets of Mexico and create lasting memories around the table.
DID YOU ENJOY THIS BIRRIA TACOS RECIPE? YOU’LL LOVE MY OTHER BEEF RECIPES IN THE LINK BELOW!
Items used in This Recipe