Crispy, meaty, and optionally cheesy, this Birria Tacos recipe will save you the long waits at the shop, and freezes beautifully to have again later. ( if you add cheese, it's a quesabirria taco and I HIGHLY recommend it)
Course: Main Course
Keyword: birria tacos, quesabirria, tacos de birria
For the Birria:
8dried Guajillo or Pasilla Peppers
3lbsbone-in beef shanksshort rib, or oxtail
2lbsstew meatcut into 2" cubes ( beef top or bottom sirloin, beef chuck, goat shoulder, see Notes)
12ouncesChipotle Peppers in Adobo
2Sticks of Cinnamon
8cupsChicken or Beef Brothlow sodium or sodium free
For the tacos:
1lbshredded cheesequesadilla, pepper jack, or other white cheese
fresh cilantrooptional, for serving
chopped white onionoptional, for serving
lime wedgesoptional, for serving
To Make the Birria (Meat Filling) on the Stove Top:
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, and add the dried peppers to it. Let them soak for about 15 minutes, or until completely softened. After they have softened, cut off the stem/top of each pepper, shake out and discard the seeds and stem.
Add the olive oil to a very large pot set over medium low heat. Once the oil has heated through, add the chopped onions. Sautee the onions for 8 - 12 minutes, or until they start to soften. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.
While the onions are cooking, add the softened peppers, chipotle peppers in adobo, vinegar, cumin, oregano, paprika, cider vinegar, crushed tomatoes, and 4 cups of broth to a blender. Blend until smooth.
To the pot with the onions, add the beef, puree from the blender, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and remaining 4 cups of broth.Pro Tip: After you pour out the puree from the blender, use the remaining broth to rinse any of the puree still lingering on the walls or blade of the blender before pouring it into the pot.The meat should be completely covered by the liquid in the pot. If it is not, fill the pot with water until it is just barely covered.
Turn the heat up under the pot, and bring it to a simmer. Simmer covered for 3-4 hours, or until the meat is fall-apart tender.
Once the meat is cooked, remove the bay leaf and cloves, and remove the meat from the pot.Shred the meat, and return it back to the pot to simmer until you are ready to make your tacos ( up to 1 hour.)Simmering is NOT required. Feel free to add the meat back to the pot and then start making tacos immediately.
To Make the Tacos:
Preheat a skillet over medium heat. You do not need to add any oil or grease to the pan.
For each tortilla: Dip the tortilla in the sauce the meat was cooked in. Place the tortilla on the hot pan.Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of shredded cheese over the entire top of the tortilla (feel free to double the cheese if you want more of quesabirria or birria quesadilla style). Place a heaping tablespoon of meat on one half of the tortilla.
Cook until the cheese melts and the tortilla is just starting to crisp - about 2 minutes. Fold the un-meated side of the tortilla over the meat side, and flip the taco. Cook for another 2 minutes or until both sides are crispy.
Serve the tacos with a bowl of the cooking liquid on the side topped with fresh cilantro and diced onion, and limes.
Note about goat meat:
The shoulder is a great cut for this. My local shop also sells what they call "Goat cubes" which is an assortment of cut up goat meat - it also works wonderfully for this recipe.