Homemade Beef Birria Tacos

Prep Time
Cook Time
3h 55m
Ready In

"To make the recipe easier to put together, the components (sauce, meat, etc.) work beautifully when made ahead and then saving the last step of cooking the tortillas right before serving. It is a delicious dish and worth it."

Original recipe yields 10 servings
  • Sauce
  • Tacos:


  • Serving Size: 1 (349.4 g)
  • Calories 462.2
  • Total Fat - 17.4 g
  • Saturated Fat - 7.9 g
  • Cholesterol - 108.4 mg
  • Sodium - 488.7 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 36.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 6.3 g
  • Sugars - 3.6 g
  • Protein - 40.6 g
  • Calcium - 365.3 mg
  • Iron - 4.9 mg
  • Vitamin C - 11.4 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.2 mg

Step 1

Though this recipe says serves 10, these are the small sized corn tortillas, so about 2 tortillas per person. Adjust amounts for serving less.

Searing the Meat:

Step 2

Bring the meat to room temperature, about 30 minutes and then sprinkle liberally on all sides with kosher salt. In a large Dutch oven (or a pot with an oven-proof lid), set over medium-high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the meat and sear (a hard sear) on all sides until browned. Remove pot from heat; set aside.

Making the Sauce:

Step 3

In another medium pot, add all sauce ingredients and add cold water until it covers everything. Place over medium heat and simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes. Pour through a strainer and transfer everything (except for the cinnamon sticks) to a blender. If your blender is small you may need to do this in batches. Reserve liquid for another use like making rice (See Note III).

Step 4

Add the apple cider vinegar and about 1 cup of beef broth and blend until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Add salt to taste (about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt).

Step 5

*Note: a high-powered blender results in a super smooth sauce. If you have a blender that is meh, you may want to run the sauce through a strainer to discard any big bits the blender didn’t puree.*

Braising the Meat:

Step 6

Preheat the oven to 300-degrees-F. To the Dutch oven containing the beef, pour the sauce over it. To the blender, add the remaining 2 cups of broth and swish it around to pick up any leftover sauce and pour it over the beef. Depending on consistency, you may want to also add some of the reserved liquid that chillis were cooked in. Place Dutch oven back over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer and then immediately cover and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for about 3 hours, until the meat is tender.

Assembling the Tacos:

Step 7

Mix together the cilantro, white onion, lime and salt; set aside.

Step 8

Once meat is tender, remove the meat from the sauce and shred using a couple of forks. Ladle the sauce remaining in the Dutch oven into a bowl and add a handful of diced cilantro.

Step 9

Place a skillet over medium heat. Dip the tortilla into the top of the sauce (or with with a spoon shmear it over the top of the tortilla) and add it to the skillet, shmeared side down (See Note II). Pan fry on one side for about 30 seconds, then flip over. Then, place meat, some of the sauce, shredded cheese, and onion cilantro mixture onto one side of the tortilla. Fold over with the help of a couple of forks or spoons and press down with back of fork (or spoon) to keep it closed and uniform, once crisped, turn over and pan fry until crisped on the opposite side about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and serve alongside the sauce.

NOTE II: I made this with dipping tortilla into the sauce as described, but I didn't care for this method because it turned out soggy-ish and not crisp. I preferred to placing the tortilla to the skillet with the hot oil as it makes the tortilla crispy which is more to our liking, but it's all up to your personal taste.

NOTE III: You will end up some liquid from cooking the chillis, use this liquid to cook rice (with some added chicken stock or water if you prefer it a bit milder), along with some diced onions and a 14 oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes (drained, use tomato juice as part of your total liquid measure), season with salt and pepper. This makes a dynamite flavored Mexican rice.

Tips & Variations

No special items needed.