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Beef Birria Tacos

Beef Birria Tacos

Yield: 10 servings (2 tacos per serving) 1x
Prep: 1 hour plus time to marinateCook: 4 hours 30 minutesTotal: 5 hours 30 minutes plus time to marinate



2 pounds beef shank*

4 pounds beef chuck

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


4 dried Guajillo chiles**

2 dried California chiles

4 plum tomatoes

1 7-ounce can chipotle in adobo (I used only half a can to keep it mild)

2 tablespoons garlic, chopped

1 ½ teaspoons Mexican Oregano

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Braising liquid

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup white onion, diced

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 ½ quarts beef stock or broth

For serving

20 6-inch corn tortillas (you could also use flour tortillas)

2 cups Cotija cheese, crumbled

1 small bunch cilantro leaves

23 fresh jalapenos, sliced thin

½ cup finely diced white onion

23 fresh limes cut into wedges


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Leave shank whole and cut the chuck into large pieces. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in a two-gallon bag or container. If you do not have a two-gallon bag, you could split between two one-gallon bags.

Line a small sheet tray with foil.

Heat one cup of water in a small sauce pan.

Remove and discard stem and seeds from peppers then lay out dry on the sheet tray.

Cut tomatoes in half the long way and lay cut side up on same sheet tray.

Place in the oven for ten minutes then remove the peppers and flip the tomatoes and cook the tomatoes for ten more minutes.

As soon as the peppers come out of the oven, place in the hot water and cover the sauce pan with a lid and let steep for 15 minutes.

After the peppers steep, place the peppers with their liquid, the charred tomatoes, the chipotle in adobo, garlic, oregano, cumin and vinegar into a blender and puree. Cool to room temperature.

As soon as the mixture cools, pour over the beef and refrigerate overnight.

Five hours before serving, heat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat oil and add onions, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and garlic and cook for three minutes.

Add stock, the marinated beef and everything from the marinade bag into the Dutch oven and bring up to hot on the stove top.

Cover and place in the oven for four hours, untouched.

After four hours remove the beef and shred and discard any marrow bones, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. (Do not discard the liquid)

Skim the fat from the liquid and save both the fat and the liquid.

While the beef is cooking, prepare all of the serving ingredients.

If your corn tortillas are dry, wrap in a wet paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.

To serve, heat a large flat grill pan over medium heat and brush on some of the fat you skimmed off of the cooking liquid.

Then dip corn tortillas in the liquid then place onto the pan.

Top each with about 2-ounces of shredded beef, the Cotija cheese, cilantro leaves, diced onions and a few jalapeno slices and cook to brown. Fold in half and serve with lime wedges and little bowls of the cooking liquid for each guest.

Dip folded taco into the liquid before eating.

Assuming a portion is two tacos, this recipe should yield approximately 20 tacos and serves 10.

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*If beef shank is not available, buy blade steak and marrow bones or short ribs and marrow bones.

**If you can’t find Guajillo peppers, use either Ancho or Pasilla.

© Author: A Family Feast
Cuisine: Mexican Method: braise