Looking to try a new Mexican recipe this week? Try making this beef birria recipe at home! With its melt-in-your-mouth tender beef and rich, deep flavors, it’s sure to be a hit!
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Homemade Birria de Res
There’s something special about making Mexican recipes at home. The dishes are usually an amazing celebration of bold flavors, vibrant colors, and fresh ingredients that are so fun to make and share with family and friends.
This beef birria recipe is one you have to try! I love to make a big pot on the weekend and then use it to make other meals throughout the week like my favorite birria tacos.
What is Birria?
Beef birria (Birria de Res) is a classic Mexican dish, (like a beef stew), that is usually made with beef, lamb, or goat meat that is slow-cooked in a rich broth packed with spices, herbs, and amazing chili flavor. It’s the same similar method to my favorite braised short ribs.
Because of the slow cooking process, the meat becomes incredibly tender and is easily chopped or shredded which makes it perfect to use in these shredded beef tacos, beef enchiladas and beef taquitos.
Yes, making homemade beef birria does take some time and effort, but the wait is so worth it! If you’re a fan of bold, hearty, and flavorful dishes, then you’re going to love making beef birria at home!
Birria Recipe Ingredients
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Chuck Roast: Look for one that is about 2 pounds and cut it into 4 pieces.
- Bone-in short ribs or bone-in back ribs: These are important ingredients to give the broth a rich and deep flavor. If you can’t find bone-in short ribs, use bone-in back ribs or beef bones.
- Dried Guajillo peppers: These are mild peppers typically sold dried in the Mexican section of your grocery store. You can adjust the heat level of your beef birria by starting with the guajillo and adding chili powder as the broth simmers.
- Chicken bouillon: This is really just another name for broth. You can use granules, cubes or liquid.
- Optional toppings: Diced onion, chopped fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice or lime slices.
- Herbs and spices: I use dried oregano (if you can find Mexican Oregano that’s a bonus!), ground cumin and chili powder to add bold flavors to the birria meat.
There are a few variations you can make to this beef birria recipe depending on your personal preferences. Here are a few ideas you can try:
- Meat: Beef is one of the most traditional meats used to make birria. Goat is also a popular choice. You can also try pork or chicken depending on your own tastes although the flavor will be quite different.
- Spices: The spices in this dish are key to its bold flavors. Feel free to swap in your favorite spices like cinnamon, black pepper, even ginger, or garlic cloves for added flavor. You can also substitute with some premade taco seasoning or chili seasoning for a quick shortcut.
- Bouillon: I use chicken bouillon in this recipe, but you can use beef stock or even vegetable if that’s what you have on hand.
- Dried chiles: If you can’t find guajillo peppers, you can try using ancho chiles which have a similar flavor.
How to Make Beef Birria
This recipe is best for those days when you have more time to let the beef simmer away until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender.
- First simmer. Add beef chuck roast, ribs, onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaves, and dried peppers to a stock pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Sprinkle in the bouillon and seasoning, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim any impurities from the top of the broth.
- Blend peppers. Transfer the softened peppers to a blender and blend until smooth. You can add some broth to help. Strain the mixture before adding the pepper puree back into the stew.
- Second simmer. Add the chili powder, cover the pot and simmer for 3 hours until the beef is tender and shreds easily.
- Skim. Skim any grease off the top of the broth and discard the onion, garlic and bay leaves.
- Shred. Transfer the beef to a cutting board and cut it into large chunks. You can discard any bones.
- Serve. Place pieces of beef in a bowl and cover with the broth. Top with onions and cilantro and serve with a fresh slice of lime if desired.
- Use a cut of beef that is suitable for slow cooking. You want something with enough fat to keep the meat moist and tender as the beef birria cooks.
- Remember to stir the stew every 40 minutes or so to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- If the beef isn’t fall-apart tender at the end of the cooking time, simmer it for another 30 minutes or so.
- If you want a thicker broth, remove the meat and simmer the broth a bit longer until it reduces.
Typically beef or goat meat is used. I like to use a boneless stewing steak like a chopped chuck roast. Don’t forget to add the bone-in beef as well. Short ribs or back ribs give the beef birria stew a depth of flavor.
Yes! If you’re using a slow cooker, cook on low for 8 – 10 hours, or on high for 4 – 6 hours.
I love to use the meat to make tacos and load up either flour or corn tortillas for a quick meal! With the addition of melty cheese, you’ve got yourself some quesabirria tacos!
You can also add it to homemade ramen or serve the meat in breakfast burritos. Any leftover broth from the birria can be used in place of stock when making soup.
Beef birria is so versatile and you can use the meat to make so many of your favorite Mexican dishes.
This stew can be piled into bowls and served with the rich broth. As I mentioned earlier, it is typically served with chopped cilantro, diced onion, lime wedges, and spicy salsa. You can also add some sliced radishes or avocado for extra flavor and texture.
Storing Beef Birria
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Don’t worry if the fat solidifies at the top of the dish. Once you reheat it, just give it a good stir.
You can also freeze the leftover meat in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let the birria meat thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat your leftover beef birria, place it into a microwave-safe dish and heat for one minute and then for 15-second intervals until warmed through. You can also heat the meat over medium-low in a skillet or saucepan on the stovetop until warm.
More Recipes to Try
- 2 pounds chuck roast , cut into 4 pieces
- 1 pound bone-in short ribs or bone-in back ribs
- ½ large white onion , peeled and halved
- 1 whole garlic bulb , unpeeled and top cut off
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 dried guajillo chiles , stems and seeds removed
- 5-6 cups hot water
- 2 Tablsepoons chicken bouillon
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt , or to taste
- 1-2 teaspoons chili powder , or to taste
Optional toppings: Diced onion, Chopped cilantro, Lime slices
- In large Dutch oven or stockpot, add chuck roast, ribs, onion, garlic, carrots, bay leaves and dried peppers. Cover with water. Stir in bouillon, oregano, cumin, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 30 minutes. Skim any impurities from the bone from the top of the broth.
- When the peppers are softened, transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth, adding up to 1/4 cup broth if needed. Strain the pepper mixture if any peel remains.
- Stir the pepper puree and chili powder into the stew. Cover and simmer, stirring every 40 minutes or so, 3 hours, or until the beef is tender and shreds easily. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Skim any grease from the top of the broth. Discard the onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Transfer the beef to a cutting a board and cut into large chunks, discarding any bones.
- Places several pieces of beef in a bowl and cover with broth. Top with onions and cilantro, if desired. Serve with a slice of lime.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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