Rich and flavorful beef birria tacos are an undeniably great addition to any dinner table. Ironically enough, the first time we tried them was actually in Costa Rica. We stopped at the Bar Restaurante Los Laureles in Uvita for some margaritas and ended up having the best Birria Tacos as a snack while waiting for the rain to stop. They were undeniably delicious!
For birria tacos, the meat is cooked for a long time soaking up all the delicious flavors and then tortillas are soaked in the meat juice and fried to finger-licking perfection.
CUT OF MEAT
A nice marble piece of chuck roast is perfect for birria. Cut it into 2–3-inch pieces. You can add a couple of pieces of short rib for more flavor. Sear the meat first in batches until all pieces are nice and brown.
Authentic Mexican peppers used for cooking the meat are absolutely necessary. Dried guajillo, ancho, and chiles de arbol can all be used to add a delicious and rich flavor to this dish. With or without seeds, depending on the spice you like.
INSTANT POT OR SLOW COOKER
The recipe can be modified to use the instant pot or the slow cooker. For either of these options, the meat would need to be seared ahead of time and the sauce prepared separately and then added to the meat.
For an instant pot, it takes about 50 minutes to cook the meat.
For a slow cooker set it on high heat for 6-8 hrs.
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3 lbs. boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-3-inch pieces
1 lbs. short rib, optional
1 large onion, cut in half
2 carrots, quartered
4-6 guajillo chiles
4-6 ancho chiles
2-3 chiles de arbol
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
6 garlic cloves
1 packet of chicken bouillon
6-8 cups of hot water
3-5 Bay leaves
1 tsp Mexican oregano, regular oregano can be used if you can’t find Mexican oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Cut the meat into 2-3-inch pieces and generously season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, warm up a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil and sear the meat in batches until nice and brown.
Step 2: Once all the meat is brown return it to the Dutch oven. Add halved onions, quartered carrots, garlic cloves, all the dried peppers, bay leaves, and enough water to cover all the ingredients.
Step 3: Add chicken bouillon, oregano, cumin, and salt, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil.
Step 4: After 30 minutes all the peppers should be soft. Remove the peppers, onion, carrots, garlic, and 2 cups of water from the Dutch oven and place it in the blender with chipotle pepper in adobe sauce. Blend all the ingredients together until completely smooth, for about 2 minutes.
Step 5: Once all the ingredients are blended add them back to the Dutch oven with the meat and broth, cover, and simmer for 3 hours. Stirring about every 40-45 minutes.
Step 6: After 3 hours meat should be tender to shred with two forks. Remove all the meat from the pot, place it on the cutting board, and shred. Place all the shredded meat in the mixing bowl, add one cup of sauce from the Dutch oven and mix well. Taste for flavor.
Step 7: Heat a skillet on high heat. Dip the tortillas into the greasy broth that the meat was cooked in and place in the hot skillet.
Step 8: Add meat and cheese to one side of the tortilla, then fold the tortilla over and cook until pan-fried on both sides, about 1 minute.
Step 9: Transfer to a plate and serve alongside any of your favorite sides: rice and beans, black bean salad, Mexican corn salad, salsa, guacamole, etc. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
TIP: While making the tacos it takes time, to make sure the rest of them stay warm set the oven to 170°F and keep the serving platter in the oven.
Step 10: Bon Appétit!