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Birria Family Recipe

User Rating 4.5 Star Rating (7 Reviews)


Birria tacos
AlejandroLinaresGarcia/Wikimedia Commons
This traditional Mexican dish is often sold by street vendors in Mexico. Birria can be made with beef, veal, pork, goat or lamb making it quite versatile. Many people will use more than one type of meat, combining one, two or three kinds in one dish. Poultry is not traditionally used in this dish. You will need a Dutch oven or large casserole dish with a tight fitting lid and a rack that sits inside.

Prep Time: 24 hours

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 28 hours


  • 3-4 lbs meat with or without bones
  • 4 guajillo chiles
  • 3 ancho chiles
  • 3 cascabel chiles
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme or 2-3 sprigs
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • Corn tortillas


Start Chile Paste
Toast the chiles on a hot pan until browned, but not burned. Remove the seeds and veins and cover with hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. When done soaking, process in blender with the vinegar to make a paste.

Meat Rub
Mix the salt, pepper, cloves, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and thyme. Rub the meat well with this mixture. Then coat the meat with half of the chile paste. Let marinate overnight.

Cook the Meat
Fill a Dutch oven with water. Add the chopped onion, bay leaf, garlic and the remaining chile sauce to the water. Place meat on a rack that sits just above the water. Place lid on and bake for 4 hours at 350 degrees.

Prepare the Dish
Remove the meat and place into serving bowls. There are two ways to finish. The first way has no broth. Remove bay leaves from liquid. If liquid is too watery, reduce by boiling in a small pan. Coat the meat chunks with the reduced chile sauce. Use meat to fill tortillas and top with onions and cilantro. The second way is to let the liquid cool slightly and remove the bay leaves. At this point some people blend the liquid. Add enough hot water to make at least 2 cups. Ladle the liquid over the meat and top with chopped onion and cilantro. Serve with warm corn tortillas.

User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
BIRRIA, YEA!!!!, Member 4olgasantana

i made this recipe and i loved it . i made it for my mexican parents that are in there late 80's and they loved it. My dad keeps asking for it. i serve it with lime, chopped onion, and chopped cilantro. and serve with flour and corn tortillas. And coca-cola. i also make a side of refried beans and mexican rice. thank you, thank you, thank you.

14 out of 14 people found this helpful.

See all 7 reviews

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