Birria Quesotacos (Pressure or Slow Cooker)

Birria tacos are making their mark across the U.S. and there's a good reason why! Birria is traditionally a Mexican stew made from goat meat, but I've only had beef birria tacos and they are amazing. The corn tortillas are dipped in the birria beef broth, fried and loaded with melty cheese, beef and toppings. I was so excited to find a recipe that I could make at home since I don't have any good taco spots nearby. The meat can easily be made in a pressure or slow cooker and directions for both are listed below.
The key is making a great broth and using it as a dipping sauce for your tacos. The tacos have an amazing flavor on their own, but the broth makes it 10x better. My favorite toppings are diced onions and cilantro. They provide such a well-rounded flavor. You've got to try these out!

Birria Quesotacos (Pressure or Slow Cooker)

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven

3 dried ancho chiles, stems removed and seeded

3 dried guajillo chiles, stems removed and seeded

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small white onion, peeled and diced

2 Tbsp. garlic, minced

3 large roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

4 cups beef broth, divided

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

pinch of ground cloves

3 to 3 1/2 pound beef roast (chuck or round), roughly cut into 3-inch chunks

salt and black pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil

18 to 24 small corn tortillas, for serving

1 lb. Mexican melting cheese such as Oaxaca or Chihuahua cheese

Toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, chopped white or red onion, sliced avocado, lime wedges

1. Press the “Sauté” button on the pressure cooker. Add the prepared chiles and cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, flipping once, until the chiles are fragrant and lightly toasted. Transfer them to a blender (or food processor) and set aside.

2. Add the oil and onion to the hot pressure cooker. Sauté the onion for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic and tomatoes and sauté for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the pressure cooker and transfer the entire mixture to the blender.

3. Add 2 cups of the beef broth, apple cider vinegar, cumin, oregano, ginger, cinnamon and cloves to the blender. Cover and carefully blend for 1 minute (if the mixture’s too hot the lid can pop off), until the mixture is completely smooth. Set aside.

4. Generously season the beef chunks with salt and pepper. Transfer to the pressure cooker along with the blended marinade and remaining 2 cups of beef broth and give the mixture a quick stir. Cover and set the lid to pressure. Cook on HIGH pressure for 35 minutes followed by a 10 minute natural release. Use a quick release to reduce all remaining pressure.

5. Carefully remove the lid once all of the pressure has released. Remove beef onto a plate and use two forks to shred the beef into bite-sized pieces. Toss the shredded beef back into in the marinade so that it is evenly coated. Taste and season the birria with additional salt and pepper, if needed.

6. Using a little olive oil, grease and heat a large non-stick pan or cast iron skillet and heat over medium high heat. Briefly dip a few corn tortillas (as many will fit in a single layer in the pan) in the top layer of the birria broth so that the tortillas are coated with broth on both sides. Place the tortillas in a single layer in the hot pan. Let one side get nice and crispy to avoid any tears or rips in the tortilla, cooking about 2-3 minutes. 

7. Once crispy, carefully flip and immediately fill half of each tortilla with a small slice or handful  of melting cheese, a spoonful of shredded birria beef and desired toppings. Once the cheese begins to melt, carefully fold the tortillas over in half and press down. Continue to fry the tacos for 2-3 minutes per side or until crispy. Once the tacos are ready to go, carefully transfer them to a plate or baking sheet.

8. Repeat this process until all of the tacos are prepared. Serve the tacos warm, along with small individual bowls of the leftover birria broth for dipping.

Slow Cooker Method: Complete Steps 1 and 2 as directed in a large sauté pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Complete step 3 in a blender and Step 4 in a large slow cooker by cooking the mixture covered on low for 7-8 hours until the meat is completely tender and shreds easily. Continue with Steps 5-9 as directed.


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