BIRRIA TACOS – Short Rib Version

From the streets of Mexico, the fancy new street food restaurants in town, to everyone’s social media pics, it feels like everyone is craving these amazingly addictive Birria tacos. Here’s how I put mine together, and hopefully you will give it a go too. I promise you will love them.


Fall-apart shreds of beef, cooked slowly in a spicy, rich, flavoursome sauce, packed into a crisped taco with cheese, these prove the simplest of dishes don't need a gimmick…
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8


  • 6-8 Guajillo chilles stems and seeds removed  
  • 3-4 Chile de árbol stems and seeds removed  
  • 2 tsp Cumin seeds 
  • 1 Full Garlic Bulb Cloves Peeled
  • 1 tsp Dried Mexican oregano Normal Oregano is fine
  • ¼ tsp Ground Cloves
  • Onion Quartered
  • 2 Chipotle Chillis in Adobo Sauce Add more if you like spice
  • 4 Beef Short Ribs
  • 800 g Brisket
  • 400 g Can of Plum Tomatoes
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 Sprigs Marjoram
  • 5 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tbsp Peppercorns
  • Corn Tortillas Shop Bought is FineFlour ones will work
  • Monterey Jack Cheese Mozzerella will work also


  • The first thing you want to do is put all your meat onto a tray, and remove any excess hard fat or silverskin from the meat, this won't render down.
    Apply salt liberally and leave to one side for now.
  • Tear the chillies into smaller pieces and add them to a pan along with the cumin seeds. Toast the chillies and cumin for 5 minutes until fragrant but not smoking. 
    Cover the chillies with water and bring the water to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and turn off the heat, allowing the mixture to steam for 15 minutes. 
  • Add chillies and garlic, oregano, cloves, half an onion, and peppers to your food processor. Add enough water to cover all of the ingredients if needed. 
    Blitz until smooth.
  • Now you want to get a nice sear on your meat, coat the meat with oil and seasonings of choice, salt and pepper alone work fine, but add whatever flavours you'd like.
    Bring a heavy-bottomed pan up to heat add the meat in batches and get some nice colour on all sides, remember, we're not cooking the meat, just adding colourflavour to the exterior.
  • Now set up your slow cooker to cook on low for 6 hours, add the beef, cinnamon stick, fresh marjoram, rest of the onion, bay leaves, and peppercorns.
    Pour on your Birria sauce, the tomatoes and more water if needed, the top of your meat should be visible.
  • After 6 hours, give everything a gentle stir, top up the water if needed (not always the case), and put it back on for another 6 hours.
  • Once the cooking time is up, remove all the meat to a bowl, it should fall apart in your fingers, break it up, and use forks if you need to. Add a couple of ladles of the sauce to keep the meat moist.
    Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan and set on heat to reduce slightly.
    You can discard what's left in your strainer, but I blitz it again and freeze it, it's a great chilli paste to use in other recipes.
  • Refrigerate everything, once the sauce has cooled enough, you will have a solidified fat layer on top of the sauce, remove this and keep it. We will coat our tacos in this later.
  • Ready to serve….
    Warm your sauceconsumé, melt your meat fat in a small pan.
    Reheat the shredded beef in another medium pot. 
    Preheat a large cast iron skillet. Warm one tortilla on each side.
    Dip the corn tortilla in the liquified fat and then transfer to the cast iron skillet once again. 
    Top the tortilla with shredded cheese and a generous portion of the beef. 
    Fold the tortilla in half, enclosing the beef and cheese. Continue frying the taco for about 1 minute and then flip it over. Cook for about a minute.
  • Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.
    Serve the birria tacos with a cup of the consomé, white onion, jalapeno peppers, limes and coriandercilantro.
Keyword Beef Taco, birria, brisket, mexican, Short rib, slowcooked, Taco recipe