These tacos gained international fame in 2020, and for a good reason- they are absolutely delicious! These beefy, cheesy, & crispy tacos are dipped into a flavor packed consome and they are to die for.
What is Birria?
Birria is a rich & flavorful stew, infused with spices and Mexican chiles. Every region in Mexico has their own variation of Birria, but it is known to have originated in Jalisco, where my family is from. It is traditionally served as a stew for holidays/special occasions, using lamb, goat, beef, or a combination of the three.
I found out that birria tacos originated in Tijuana in the early 2000’s. I’m not exactly sure when it made it’s way to Los Angeles, but they were all over social media in 2020 and have become extremely popular. Birria is in such high demand now, you can find a restaurant or food truck that specializes in it anywhere in Southern California.
How to make the BEST Birria
I highly recommend the addition of beef bones to your broth for extra flavor. The fat that comes from the bones will completely transform your consome and taste amazing.
Cuts of meat that work for birria:
Beef short ribs
Choose one or a combination of the meats above. It is all really just based on preference. Out of all these I prefer beef chuck, but if I feel like splurging, I’ll add some oxtails to it as well.
Birria Quesatacos (Beef)
- 3 lbs beef chuck roast or goat for authentic birria
- 1 lb beef bones optional, highly recommended
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- 10 chile guajillo
- 4 chile de arbol
- 2 chile ancho
- 1 tbsp oil
- 5 tbsp apple cider vinegar split
- 1 onion
- 2 tomatoes
- 8 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp black peppercorn
- 2 tsp whole coriander
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp knorr chicken bouillon
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tbsp chipotle adobo sauce optional
- water (enough to cover beef)
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- chopped cilantro, onion, and lime wedges (for toppings)
- Season the beef with salt, pepper, & cumin. Let it rest at room temp for 30 minutes.
- Deseed the dried chiles and boil for 30 minutes.
- In a large pot, add 1 tbsp oil and sear all sides of the beef then remove from the pot.
- Deglaze with 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, then add the onion, tomatoes, and garlic. Scrape the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
- When the onions and garlic are nicely browned, add the beef back in and cover with water. If you are using beef bones, now would be the time to add them.
- Add the peppercorns, coriander, cloves, ginger, and bay leaves to the pot in a cheese cloth.
- Skim off impurities that float to the surface.
- Reduce heat to medium and cover for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the chiles from the other pot to a blender with 1/2 cup of the chile water
- Transfer the onion, tomatoes, garlic, spices, and 1 cup of the broth to the blender as well (after 30 minutes of boiling).
- Add chicken bouillon, oregano, cumin, thyme, and 3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar.
- Blend until smooth, adding more chile water if needed.
- Strain into the pot through a sieve until the chunks won't go through. You can discard this if you want to but I highly recommend putting it back into the blender with some of the broth and repeating the process until there is only a small amount to be discarded.
- Optional: add chipotle adobo sauce. I like a bit of smokiness but some may think it's too overpowering.
- Stir everything and then add salt to taste. Add more chile water if the stew is too thick.
- Cover on low heat for 2 to 2.5 hours.
- Remove the beef, let it cool and shred it.
- Add oil to a pan, dip a corn tortilla into the consome (broth) and put it in the pan. Note: if you used beef bones for your broth, you will see a lot of oil at the surface. You can use this oil for frying the tortilla- it will add amazing flavor.
- First add shredded cheese, then beef, then fold the tortilla over and press down to push a little bit of the cheese out for crispy cheesy edges.
- When the cheese starts to crisp up on the edges, flip over.
- Top with cilantro and chopped onions, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Serve with a side of the consome to dip your birria tacos into.