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Milk Street Recipe

Dutch Oven Beef Birria Tacos

3¾ hours 45 minutes active

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Dutch Oven Beef Birria Tacos

Birria, from the state of Jalisco on the western coast of Mexico, is a succulent stew of shredded meat in a thick, intense, chili-rich sauce. It traditionally is made with goat, but these days, beef and lamb are common. Our version is made with meaty boneless beef short ribs and is loosely based on the recipe taught to us by home cook Aidee Gonzalez in Mexico City. Four varieties of dried chilies went into Gonzalez’s birria, but to simplify slightly, we chose three that are easy to source but deliver lots of earthy, fruity depth and complexity. We slow-cook the meat in the oven with a minimal amount of water until fork-tender so the flavor is meaty and concentrated. Only after reducing the cooking liquid and shredding the meat do we introduce a puree of chilies, aromatics and spices. This unconventional technique results in a birria that we think tastes brighter and livelier than one in which the chilies are subjected to the same hours-long cooking as the beef. For making birria tacos, Gonzalez offered warm corn tortillas, plus avocado for a little creaminess and sliced white onion for allium pungency and crunch.

6 to 8

Servings

Tip

Don’t use canned chipotle chilies here, as they’re packed in adobo sauce, which would alter the flavor profile of the birria. (If you’re wondering, morita chilies are a type of chipotle. They are dark red-purple and relatively soft because they have been smoked for less time than the stiff, dry, brown chipotle variety, which sometimes is called chipotle meco. Either type works in this recipe.) Also, don’t over-toast the chilies. The pods scorch easily, and if scorched, they will taste bitter. When they become aromatic and just a shade darker, they’re done.

3¾ hours

45 minutes active

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks

  • ½

    large white onion, cut into large chunks, plus thinly sliced white onion, to serve

Directions

  1. 01
    Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. In a large Dutch oven, stir together the beef, onion chunks, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups water. Cover, transfer to the oven and cook until a skewer inserted into the meat meets no resistance, about 3 hours.
Reviews
Janine W.
June 22, 2022
An Elevated Taco
These tacos were delicious. If you want to switch it up from the staple ground meat or chicken taco, then definitely give this try. The short rib and different types of chilies makes it seem like you are eating a much more elevated, fancier taco. I will definitely make this again.
Bethany S.

Are the chilies (Guajillo, Ancho, Chipotle/Morita) meant to be fresh or dried?

Lynn C.

Hi Bethany -

All of the chilies in this recipe are dried.

Best,
The Milk Street Team


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