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Beef Birria Recipe

Though birria is traditionally made with goat, we’ve become partial to this beef birria recipe. Full of chiles and spices, it’s a stewy braise that always satisfies.

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beef barrio in a bowl topped with cilantro and chopped onions next to corn tortillas and bowls of extra onion and cilantro

Chile-Loaded and Versatile, Our Beef Birria Is One for the Books

We first encountered birria when we tried it in the infamously amazing tacos served at Teddy’s Red Tacos in Venice, CA. It was love at first bite, and we’ve been working hard to create a version of birria that’s easy enough to make at home, but still bursting with the beefy, chile-y, spicy goodness that stole our hearts. And sure enough, we eventually figured it out. This recipe hits the spot! If you’re not familiar with it, birria is a traditional dish from the Mexican state of Jalisco, though it can be found throughout Mexico these days, not to mention in homes and restaurants all over the U.S., too! Rich with chilies and cozy, warm spices like cinnamon and ginger, birria is most authentically made with goat meat, but beef birria—”birria de res”—has become popular of late. We just adore this hearty, fragrant, chile-heavy stew-like braise, and we know you will, too.

Beef Birria Ingredients laid out on a counter Chuck roast, chiles, cilantro, onion, spices and corn tortillas

Meet Your Main Beef Birria Ingredients

Beef birria is a wonderful recipe to make on a weekend day, when you have time to just let the beef braise slowly—good old low-and-slow—and fill your home with its deeply spiced, wonderfully heady aromas. Though you will need to set aside some time, you won’t need to make any special grocery runs for the ingredients. The main components of this recipe are just:

  • Dried chiles. We love a combination of three easy-to-find dried chiles! Ancho chiles (which are dried poblanos), guajillo chiles (a tangy, sweet chile that’s really delicious), chiles de árbol (a thin, classic Mexican chile that’s 6 times as hot as a jalapeño!).

  • Dried herbs and spices: cinnamon, oregano, cumin, bay leaves, ginger

  • Beef! Beef birria recipes really vary a lot in terms of what cut of beef they call for. We favor chuck roast, which is ideal for a low-and-slow braise like this. Plus, it’s not usually too expensive.

  • Onion

  • Fresh garlic

  • Beef stock

  • Fire-roasted tomatoes

  • Vinegar

dried chiles in a skillet
dried chiles in a sauce pan covered in water
Beef Birria Sauce in a blender ready to be blended
Beef Birria sauce blended in a blender

How to Make Beef Birria

If you’ve ever made a braised beef dish, this whole process will be mostly familiar. Here’s how to make beef birria:

  1. Prepare the dried chiles. Seed, toast, and soak the chiles. It sounds like a whole thing, but it only takes about 20 minutes. Detailed how-to is in the recipe at the bottom of the page.

  2. Brown the beef. Cook it in batches if need be, and make sure you get a nice browning on all sides. Set it aside, or just go ahead and put it right into your Dutch oven.

  3. Make the birria sauce / broth base! There should be some fat and oil left in the pan from searing the beef—that’s a good thing! Use it to cook the onion wedges a bit, then add garlic, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, bay leaves, and ginger. After a minute or two, pour in the beef stock and vinegar.

  4. Time to blend! Pour the onion, broth and spice mixture into a blender, and add the seeded, soaked and drained chiles. Blend! Voila! You’ve made the world's best braising liquid.

  5. Pour your chile sauce over all of the beef into a Dutch oven, and cook for about 3 to 3.5 hours, until the meat is falling apart.

brown chuck roast beef in a skillet
onion, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, bay leaves, and ginger in a skillet for beef birria recipe
Beef Birria recipe ingredients in a pot
beef covered in beef barrio sauce in a pot

How To Serve Beef Birria

There’s so much you can do with beef birria! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Serve it as a hearty, rich stew in bowls, garnished with chopped onion and cilantro with warm tortillas on the side.

  • As a filling for quesadillas.

  • Or try our birria tacos!

beef birria shredded in a bowl on a counter
beef barria in a bowl topped with cilantro and chopped onions next to corn tortillas and bowls of extra onion and cilantro

Tools You’ll Need

More Beefy Braises

beef birria in a bowl topped with chopped onion and cilantro with a spoon

We Want to See Your Stuff!

If you make this beef birria recipe, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Beef Birria Recipe

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  3 hrs 15 min
  • Calories: 366

Ingredients

  • 2 dried, large ancho chiles
  • 2 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2-3 dried chiles de árbol
  • 3-3 1/2 pounds chuck roast, fat trimmed, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, cut into 4 wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced fire roasted tomatoes

For Serving

  • raw white onion, chopped
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • tortillas, warmed

Method

  1. Cut open the dried chiles with kitchen scissors or a knife and discard the seeds. Heat a large dry skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the chiles, moving them occasionally, for 4 minutes. (See Note)

  2. Cover the chiles with 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat off and let the chilis soak until softened, about 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position.

  4. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel and season all over with the salt and pepper.

  5. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches as needed, add the chuck and cook, turning, until browned on all sides, about 15-18 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

  6. Add the onion wedges to the Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and toss until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Add the cinnamon, oregano, cumin, bay leaves, and ginger to the pan, cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant.

  7. Add the beef stock and vinegar, using a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom. Remove the pot from heat and allow ingredients to cool slightly.

  8. Drain the softened chilis (discarding the soaking water) and add them and the tomatoes to the sauce. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until smooth, directly in the pan. (Alternatively, transfer 2 cups of the sauce to the base of a blender, let cool briefly, blend until nearly smooth, and then return the sauce to the pan.)

  9. Return the beef to the Dutch oven and transfer to the oven. Cover and cook until beef is tender and can be pulled apart easily with a fork, about 2 1/2 hours.

  10. Using 2 forks, shred the beef, discarding any large pieces of fat.

  11. Serve the beef with the remaining broth in bowls garnished with chopped onion and cilantro, in warm tortillas, as a filling for quesadillas, or try our Birria Tacos!


Note: While toasting the chilis turn on your kitchen fan and open a window as it can be create very spicy aroma.

Note: If you don't have a Dutch oven, brown the meat and onions in a large skillet and transfer contents to a large baking dish, covered with aluminum foil and according to instructions.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories366
  • Protein57 g
  • Carbohydrates9 g
  • Total Fat13 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol130 mg
  • sodium963 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Beef Birria Recipe

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Nicole

    Superbowl Party. 50 guests. Doing a self serve taco bar. Will this recipe work in a slow cooker using a large brisket?

    It should work fine in a slow cooker. We haven't tried it with brisket. Brisket is much leaner so it won't turn out quite as tender as using the roast.

  • Arthur

    Where do the carbs come from? 9 grams per serving is a lot for something that only has a few veggies.

    most come from the fire roasted tomatoes and dried peppers/chiles. The onion also has some. Hope this helps Arthur!

  • Michelle

    This sounds soooo good. Going to try it today. I have a skillet to brown the meat and the onions but can I cook it all in a crockpot? Thanks

    Should work fine in the slow cooker but we haven't tested it to give specific instructions.

  • Evelyn

    Can this be frozen?

    Definitely! Hope you enjoy Evelyn!

  • Rosalyn

    Can I use this same recipe but instead of the oven I prefer stove top as I have a really bad back. It would be a lot easier for me.

    You could but we haven't tested it on a stove top to give exact instructions.

  • Jill

    I love this recipe! I add a tiny bit of Mexican chocolate for a bit more richness and use as tamale filling. Everyone loves it! . Keep the wonderful recipes coming!

    Thanks Jill, so glad you loved it!

  • Eric

    These were delicious, both the night I made them and when I reheated frozen portions for quesabirria. I do have one warning though. When I toasted the chiles, the bit of smoke from the hot pan was very potent. I caught a breath of it and my lungs were irritated for about an hour after. Not too painful but definitely uncomfortable, and it caused my wife to evacuate the kitchen as well. I would recommend a warning about this in the instructions, and suggest opening windows and using the fan on the stove. But it was worth it- super delicious. I've made Birria a few times and this was the best recipe I've found.

    Thanks Eric, we are so glad you enjoyed it! Toasting those chiles can be intense we can add a note in the post.

  • jan

    Best beef birria recipe ever! Next time I would start with 1 more cup of beef broth for more of that incredible jus

    Thanks Jan! We are so happy you love it!

  • Angie

    Wow! Jus wow! This is the first time ive ever made birria. It was sensational!! I followed the recipe to a t but youre gonna wanna double the recipe if you love birria in general!

    Thanks Angie, we are so happy you loved it!

  • Denzel

    I loved this recipe! but I also used the 123 method using a product called insta-birria by el sabor products. If you look them up on google they should pop up. Their flavor is out of this world! its easy and simple. just add water, sauce and meat. I loved both recipes but insta-birria had a flavor that just blew my mind. so flavourful. I love my birria.

    Thanks Denzel! We are so happy you love this recipe!