Beef Birria Tacos


20 minutes prep5 hours cook
Main Dish
Good LeftoversSlow CookerTacos


  • 6qt slow cooker
  • 12" non-stick skillet
  • Medium bowl
  • Blender


  • 3–4 lb roast beef
  • 3–4 cups water
  • 5 dried guajillo chiles1
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 white onion, 1/2 quartered, 1/2 finely diced2
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1–2 cloves
  • 1/4 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp beef bouillon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • To taste: salt, pepper
  • Corn tortillas
  • Oaxaca or Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, diced - optional


The Beef

  1. Heat skillet to medium heat, add vegetable oil.
  2. Pat roast beef with paper towels to eliminate extra moisture, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Sear the beef on all sides, then add to slow cooker.
  4. In the same skillet add the dried chiles, and quartered onion then toast for 2–3 minutes. Turn frequently - you don’t want to burn them or else you’ll have to start over with new chiles.
  5. After toasting add 1 1/2 cups of hot water and cover with lid and let the chiles to steam for 5 minutes or until pliable.
  6. Remove the chiles and onion from the skillet, then deseed and devein the chiles. Save the skillet water!
  7. Add the saved skillet water, chiles, onion, garlic, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, clove, bouillon, bay leaves, salt and pepper to a blender.
  8. Blend that until smooth. Smoother than Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind.
  9. Once blended add to slow cooker, with beef, and enough water to have 1/4 inch of water over the meat.
  10. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 4–5 hours.
  11. Remove the beef and shred with some forks, or even your hands and set aside.
  12. Keep the consomé (liquid) in the slow cooker on low, there should be a layer of dark red looking fat/oil on the top.

The Tacos

  1. Construct a taco station that includes: the consomé in the slow cooker, non-stick skillet heated over medium heat, a plate of shredded beef from the birria, and corn tortillas to the side, as well as small bowls filled with shredded cheese, cilantro and chopped onions.
  2. Take one corn tortilla and dip it shallowly into the consomé, coating both sides with the dark red fat. Place the tortilla on the skillet and cover with cheese.
  3. Fry the tortilla for 3 minutes or until the cheese has mostly melted and the underside has browned and started to crisp. Place the shredded meat on one half of the tortilla and top with cilantro and white onion (optional). Fold the tortilla into a taco, sear each side for an additional 30 seconds and remove. Repeat this process until you have run out of beef.
  4. Serve the tacos topped with cilantro and onion, with lime wedges on the side, and small bowls of consomé for dipping.


  1. Can be substituted with 4 dried California Chiles
  2. Diced onion is optional, it is for garnishment with cilantro.

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