Time: 4 hours
Yield: 8 servings
The meat is the star in Birria Tacos, and that meat is something exceptional. Fatty and flavorful cuts of beef are slow-braised in a herbaceous and vivid marinade. Seriously, the meat in Birria Tacos is the epitome of melt-in-your-mouth tender. Making the beef takes time and patience, but the result is a mountain of meaty goodness on top of corn tortillas and topped with cilantro and Oaxacan cheese. It's a mountain worth scaling!
IngredientsFor the birria de rez: • 2 pounds chuck, boneless • 1 pound oxtail or short ribs • kosher salt, to taste • 1 teaspoon neutral oil, such as vegetable or avocado For the sauce: • 7 ancho chiles, ends trimmed and de-seeded • 7 guajillo chiles, ends trimmed and de-seeded • 3 chiles de árbol, ends trimmed and de-seeded • 1 white onion, peeled and halved • 6 cloves garlic, peeled • 4 Roma tomatoes • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves • 1/2 Mexican cinnamon stick • 3 bay leaves • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar • 3 cups beef broth, divided • kosher salt, to taste For the tacos: • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced • 1/4 white onion, minced • juice from 1 lime • kosher salt, to taste • 8 corn tortillas • 3 ounces Oaxacan or mozzarella cheese
Bring the boneless chuck and oxtail or short ribs to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Season the meat on all sides with kosher salt.
In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil.
Once the oil is shimmering, add the chuck and oxtail or short ribs in batches. Sear on all sides until well-browned, about 2-4 minutes.
Transfer the meat to a plate and set it aside.
In a medium pot, add the ancho chiles, guajillo chiles, chiles de árbol, the halved white onion, garlic, tomatoes, peppercorns, oregano, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, Mexican cinnamon stick, and the bay leaves.
Add cold water until it covers everything in the pot. Place the pot over medium heat and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.
Pour the mixture through a strainer, discarding the liquid.
Place the contents of the strainer into a blender. If you are not using a Mexican cinnamon stick, discard the cinnamon stick now.
Add the apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of beef broth to the blender. Blend until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
Season the sauce mixture to taste with salt.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Add the meat back to the dutch oven and pour the sauce over it.
To the blender, add the remaining 2 cups beef broth and swirl it around to pick up any remnants of the sauce.
Pour the contents of the blender into the dutch oven over the meat.
Place the dutch oven over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer. Immediately cover and transfer the dutch oven to the oven.
Cook until the meat is tender and has reached a minimum temperature of 135 degrees F, about 3 hours.
Mix the cilantro, the minced 1/4 white onion, lime juice, and salt together.
Remove the meat from the sauce and shred it with forks.
Ladle the sauce into a bowl and add the diced cilantro mixture to taste.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Dip a tortilla into the top fatty part of the sauce. Add the tortilla to the hot skillet and pan fry for about 30 seconds.
Flip the tortilla and add the shredded meat and cheese to taste. Fold the tortilla over the filling and cook until pan-fried on both sides, about 1 minute.
Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
Serve the tacos with the sauce.