Beef birria tacos are trending hard right now, and for good reason. What’s not to love about a crispy fried taco that comes with a rich, flavourful broth for dunking?
Birria is a thick, Mexican stew that is traditionally made with goat meat, chillies and spices, but it is also often made with beef or lamb.
READ NEXT: What type of beef to use in a stew?
Beef birria tacos are made with the leftover stew meat, with the broth served as a dipping sauce. The tacos are fried in fat with extra ladles of the sauce, making them juicy and crunchy at the same time. To make the tacos, you first need to make a batch of beef birria stew – but they’re so good the process is worth it.
Beef Birria Stew
- Dutch oven or slow cooker
- A mixture of 6-8 dried chillies (such as guajillo, pasilla or ancho), deseeded and destemmed
- 2 cups of beef stock
- 1-1.5kg of boneless beef (chuck, short ribs off the bone or any sort of stewing beef), cut into cubes
- Oil for frying
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large onion, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp of oregano
- 1 tsp of cumin
- 2 tsp of ground coriander
- 2 chipotles chillies in Adobo sauce (you can find these in a jar)
- 1 can of diced tomatoes
Add the chillies to a blender and cover with the beef stock. Set this aside for about 15 minutes to let the chillies soften up.
Coat the beef cubes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Sear the beef in batches in a heavy set pan or a dutch oven until coloured on all sides. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add the diced onion and cook for a few minutes. Then, add the garlic and another glug of oil. Let this cook for about two minutes.
Add the apple cider vinegar and continue to cook for one minute. Add the beef cubes back into the pan and continue to cook on a low heat.
Now, back to the chillies. To the blender, add the oregano, cumin, ground coriander, chipotle chilies, can of diced tomatoes and salt and pepper. Blend this mix until smooth.
Add the chili mix into the dutch oven and cook in a preheated oven at 350ºF/180ºF for about 3 hours. You could also slow cook it for about 6 hours. The beef will be ready when you can stick a fork through it and it falls apart.
To make the Beef Birria Tacos
Once you’ve got your beef stew, you’re ready to start preparing the tacos.
- Optional: Additional beef stock to thin out the broth if needed
- Corn tortillas
- Grated cheese
- Diced white onions
- Chopped cilantro
- Lime wedges
Pull the beef out of the sauce and shred it using two forks. This is the meat you’ll use to stuff the tacos. The finer the beef, the better it will absorb the liquid and the wetter (and better) your taco will be.
To prep the broth, take whatever sauce or cooking liquid you have left, adding more beef stock to thin it out if you need to. Give it a stir and simmer on high heat.
Skim off any fat that forms on top of the stew and set this aside for frying the tacos.
Add a couple of teaspoons of the reserved fat in a medium-high skillet. Fry the corn tortillas until they are lightly golden brown on both sides.
Now it’s time to assemble the tacos while they are in the skillet. Add grated cheese, then top it with the shredded beef. Be generous, but remember that you have to be able to fold the tacos.
Drizzle a ladle of broth over each taco. This will help your tortilla fold.
Add a spoonful of diced white onions and freshly chopped cilantro. Gently fold the tacos in half. Keep frying the tortillas on both sides until they are nice and crispy.
Ladle up some of the broth in a side bowl for dunking. Give the tacos a squeeze of fresh lime juice and that’s it!