Birria Tacos


For 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


Step 1

Bring the boneless chuck and oxtail or short ribs to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Step 2

Season the meat on all sides with kosher salt.

Step 3

In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the oil.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

Transfer the meat to a plate and set it aside.

Step 6

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.

Step 7

Add cold water until it covers everything in the pot. Place the pot over medium heat and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes.

Step 8

Pour the mixture through a strainer, discarding the liquid.

Step 9

Place the contents of the strainer into a blender. If you are not using a Mexican cinnamon stick, discard the cinnamon stick now.

Step 10

Add the apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of beef broth to the blender. Blend until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

Step 11

Season the sauce mixture to taste with salt.

Step 12

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Step 13

Add the meat back to the dutch oven and pour the sauce over it.

Step 14

To the blender, add the remaining 2 cups beef broth and swirl it around to pick up any remnants of the sauce.

Step 15

Pour the contents of the blender into the dutch oven over the meat.

Step 16

Place the dutch oven over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer. Immediately cover and transfer the dutch oven to the oven.

Step 17

Cook until the meat is tender and has reached a minimum temperature of 135 degrees F, about 3 hours.

Step 18

Mix the cilantro, the minced 1/4 white onion, lime juice, and salt together.

Step 19

Remove the meat from the sauce and shred it with forks.

Step 20

Ladle the sauce into a bowl and add the diced cilantro mixture to taste.

Step 21

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Step 22

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.

Step 23

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.

Step 24

Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Step 25

Serve the tacos with the sauce.

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