Authentic Birria

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5 from 10 votes
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This authentic beef birria recipe features seared beef simmered in a rich chili broth until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. Layered with rich flavor and aroma, it’s deceptively easy to make. 

birria.

In my home, we enjoy our fair share of beef stews, like beef short ribs and carne guisada, but when I need a dish that’s a step above the rest, I make my famous birria. 

Not only is it delicious, but it’s versatile and full of wholesome ingredients. The meat turns out buttery tender, while the chili broth soaks into all the nooks and crannies, infusing every bite with so much flavor. 

Table of Contents
  1. What is birria?
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make it
  4. Alternative cooking methods
  5. Recipe tips and variations
  6. Storage instructions
  7. Frequently asked questions
  8. More Mexican recipes to try
  9. Authentic Birria Recipe (Recipe Card)

What is birria?

Birria, also known as birria de res, is a traditional Mexican stew originating from the state of Jalisco. It’s composed of meat (either goat’s meat or beef) that’s seared and slow-cooked in an adobo sauce consisting of peppers, onions, and aromatics. 

Once fork-tender, the meat is served with rice and beans or layered in tortillas with Oaxaca cheese to make quesabirria tacos

For this recipe, we’re sticking with beef chuck roast since it’s easy to find at any grocery store and turns out beautifully tender. Here’s why I love this recipe:

  • Versatile. Enjoy this dish on corn tortillas with lime and cilantro, or use the meat and consomme to make birria pizza, birria quesadilla, or birria ramen. Whatever way you serve this dish is sure to be a hit.  
  • Foolproof. Like my Dutch oven beef stew, this recipe is so easy to make. The only extra step is making the chili broth, but even that’s a breeze. 
  • Inexpensive. The star ingredient is beef chuck roast, which is one of the cheaper cuts of beef you can find.
  • Multiple cooking methods. I prefer using my Dutch oven, but I’ve also included instructions on how to use your slow cooker or instant pot. 
beef birria.

Ingredients needed

Aside from the beef and chilies, the rest of the ingredients are common pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Beef chuck roast. Also known as beef stewing meat. It’s slightly fattier, which helps the beef turn out buttery soft and tender. Cut into 1-1 ½ inch cubes. 
  • Dried ancho chiles. Stemmed and de-seeded. You can find these in the Latin aisle of your grocery store or at a specialty market. If you can’t find anchos, use other dried chiles, like mulato or guajillo chiles.
  • New Mexico chilies. Stemmed and de-seeded. Jalapeños or canned chipotle peppers can also work. 
  • White onion and fresh garlic. Essential aromatics.
  • Tomato. For acidity and color. 
  • Beef broth. I used low-sodium beef broth since we’ll add salt to the meat. 
  • Vegetable oil. For searing the meat.
  • Salt and pepper. To taste.
  • Apple cider vinegar. For acidity and to help tenderize the meat.
  • Spices. I used cumin, coriander, Mexican oregano, and a cinnamon stick.
  • Bay leaves. For aroma and flavor. 

How to make it

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1- Prep work. Preheat the oven to 300F/140C.

Step 2- Make the birria broth. In a large pot, combine chilies, onion, tomatoes, garlic, and beef broth. Heat on medium heat and bring to a simmer, then let it continue simmering for 15 minutes. 

tomatoes, onion, chili, and broth.

Step 3- Sear the beef. Heat an oiled Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper, then add to the Dutch oven and cook for 5-6 minutes until all sides are brown. 

chuck roast in Dutch oven.

Step 4- Blend. Using either an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the broth mixture until smooth. Add the liquid to the Dutch oven along with apple cider vinegar, spices, and bay leaves. Bring everything to a simmer. 

blended ingredients.

Step 5- Roast. Once simmering, transfer the Dutch oven to the oven and cook until the beef is fork-tender, around 3 hours. 

simmered birria meat.

Step 6- Shred. Transfer the cooked beef to a large bowl and use two forks to shred. 

shredded birria meat and oaxaca cheese.

Alternative cooking methods

As I mentioned, I think using a Dutch oven yields the best results, but if you’d rather use your slow cooker or instant pot, you certainly can. Here’s how:

Instant pot: In a large pot, simmer the broth ingredients. While the broth is simmering, season and sear the beef in the instant pot. Blend the broth mixture using an immersion blender until smooth, then add this to the instant pot along with the apple cider vinegar, spices, and bay leaves. Secure the lid and pressure cook for 70 minutes. Allow the lid to release slowly for 15 minutes. 

Slow cooker: In a large pot, simmer the broth ingredients. While the broth is simmering, season and sear the beef in another pot or skillet. Blend the broth mixture until smooth, then add to your slow cooker along with the meat and the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Savor the broth. Trust me, the broth is 99% of the reason why I make birria. It’s so flavorful and deeply nourishing. Besides, you’ll need it for birria tacos and even birria pizza.
  • Use different meat. I’ve made this recipe with carnitas, and it turned out great, so don’t be afraid to experiment with other cuts of meat.
  • Tone down the spice. Not everyone is a spice fiend like me, so if you prefer less spice, use fewer chilies or add a few spoonfuls of honey to tone down the heat.
  • Or increase the spice. If this doesn’t sound hot enough, use dried chile de arbol, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
  • Preheat the pot. To help the meat cook more evenly, add oil to the pot and wait for it to glisten before adding the meat.

Storage instructions

To store: Allow the beef to cool completely, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

To freeze: Store the cooled leftover beef in freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Let the beef thaw overnight before reheating.

To reheat: Reheat leftovers on the stovetop over medium-high heat or in the microwave in 30-second intervals until fully reheated. 

birria meat.

Frequently asked questions

Is birria just barbacoa?

Technically, birria is a type of barbacoa, though barbacoa is not a type of birria. The biggest difference comes down to the kind of meat. Barbacoa is made with beef, pork, or lamb, whereas birria is usually made with beef or goat. 

Is birria meat spicy?

Birria does have some heat to it, although they’re not usually very spicy. If you’re very sensitive to spice, I would recommend making your own birria with less spicy chilies.

More Mexican recipes to try

  • Chicken al pastor– The most flavorful chicken dish that features pineapple and spices.
  • Arrachera– Mexican-style skirt steak, which is great for quesadillas, tacos, and more.
  • Al pastor– Also known as tacos al pastor. It’s tender, juicy, and full of flavor.
  • Pollo asado– Mexico’s answer to grilled or baked chicken.
birria meat recipe.

Authentic Birria Recipe

5 from 10 votes
This authentic beef birria recipe features seared beef simmered in a rich chili broth until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. Layered with rich flavor and aroma, it’s deceptively easy to make. 
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 5 minutes

Video

Ingredients  

  • 4 ancho chilies stemmed and de-seeded
  • 6 New Mexico chilies stemmed and de-seeded
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • 4 large tomatoes halved
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds beef chuck roast cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 140C/300F. 
  • Combine the chilies, onion, tomatoes, garlic, and beef broth into a large pot. Place it over medium heat and bring it to a simmer. Let it simmer for 15 minutes.
    tomatoes, onion, chili, and broth.
  • While simmering, sear your beef. Add the oil to a large Dutch oven and place it over medium heat. Season the beef with the salt and pepper, then add it to the Dutch oven and cook for 5-6 minutes, until browned. 
    chuck roast in Dutch oven.
  • Either use an immersion blender or blender to puree the chili and broth mixture until smooth.
    blended ingredients.
  • Add the liquid mixture into the Dutch oven, along with the apple cider vinegar, cumin, coriander, and bay leaves. Bring everything to a simmer, then transfer to the oven and cook until the beef is tender, around 3 hours.
    simmered birria meat.
  • Transfer the beef into a bowl and use two forks to shred.
    shredded birria meat and oaxaca cheese.

Notes

Use this birria meat for quesabirria tacos, birria quesadillas, birria ramen, and a birria pizza.
TO STORE: Allow the beef to cool completely, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. 
TO FREEZE: Store the cooled leftover beef in freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Let the beef thaw overnight before reheating.
TO REHEAT: Reheat leftovers on the stovetop over medium-high heat or in the microwave in 30-second intervals until fully reheated. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 32gFat: 17gSodium: 737mgPotassium: 906mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 796IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 5mgNET CARBS: 5g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

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Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    So delicious, quick, and easy! I used dried chiles and the flavor was deep and spicy, but not hot. Another great repeat recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Love recipient. But I do get sick of so many woke recipss for gluten free and all special diets. How about some good normal. Desert recipes and I love good dim Sim recipe