Birria tacos are a great way to enjoy professional quality street tacos at home for barbecue beginners and seasoned backyard cooks alike. Smoked birria tacos are the perfect mix of BBQ flavors and craft food truck quality. Tender braised beef that is slow-cooked to deliver rich and savory notes with a hint of smoke. Don't worry; if you don't own a smoker, we have provided other cooking techniques below to bring this dish to life.
What are Birria Tacos?
Traditionally this dish is made using goat, but it is more commonly made with beef, veal, lamb or pork in the United States. Birria is historically a spicy and super savory protein braised until the meat is tender and fall-apart juicy and delicious. Then you stuff the flavorful meat into a warm taco shell. But these are dipping tacos into a traditional Mexican birria sauce.
What is the sauce made of for birria tacos?
Birria sauce is a delicious sauce made with various dried chilis, cinnamon, onion, and spices. The red sauce is added to the remaining stock from braising to form a delicious dipping sauce for the tacos.
How to Make Birria Tacos
There are a few steps to making these tacos, but the reward is worth it. The overarching steps are to prepare the meat, make the birria stew, braise the meat, shred the meat, and then build tacos to serve. Below we provide detailed instructions on making birria tacos. The recipe below is for making Smoked Beef Birria Tacos. However, you can use the same technique in your Insta Pot, oven, grill, or crock pot.
Don't Forget To Fry
Dipping the complete tacos in the stew, then frying them to deliver the crisp mouth feel. Take advantage of this step because this magic sets this recipe apart from bland store-bought tacos. It is a transcendent secret in the Southwest to cook the tortilla in fat. In this recipe, we use the fat from the top of the birria stew to bring even more flavor.
Birria (Stew) Cooking Techniques
Instant Pot Birria
You can make this stew any way you like. Occasionally, we prefer to use the instant pot for speed and ease. The Insta Pot retains more flavor than other techniques. Be prepared for a delicious and savory smell to invade your kitchen when you open the lid. Follow the recipe below for making the Birria Stew, but use the Insta Pot. If using a smaller-sized Insta Pot, you will need to half the recipe. Seal the lid, and pressure cook on high (199-210°F) for 45 - 55 minutes, followed by a natural pressure release.
Slow Cooker Birria
This cooking technique is similar to the recipe below. The most significant difference is the length of time required. For best results, set it to low using a slow cooker and cook for 8 hours. If using a smaller-sized slow cooker, you will need to half the recipe.
Cover and cook over low heat on the stovetop for 4 to 6 hours, or until the meat is completely tender. Keep an eye on the stew and stir it every 20 minutes or so, as not to burn the meat at the bottom.
Smoked Birria Tacos Recipe
PREP TIME : 30 mins. COOK TIME : 9 hrs. TOTAL TIME : 9 hrs 30 mins. SERVINGS : 10 People
Ingredients for Birria Tacos
4 Lbs - Chuck Roast
For the braising liquid:
6 cups - beef stock (divided use 4 cups for braising and 2 cups for final birria)
2 - ancho chili peppers
2 - guajllo chili peppers
2 - sticks cinnamon
2 - chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
8 - cloves garlic (smashed)
4 - San Marzano or Roma tomatoes
1 - medium yellow onion (quartered)
1 - Bottle Smoked Bros Nada Hombre (USE ENTIRE BOTTLE)
12 - 14 - Corn tortilla shells (Fresh is preferred)
Oaxacan cheese (can substitute with shredded quesadilla cheese)
Any other personal favorite toppings
Smoked Birria Tacos Directions
1. Rehydrate Chilis. Cut the stems off and make a slit along the side to open them and discard the seeds. Put them in a bowl, pour in a cup of hot water, and let it sit for 20 minutes.
2. Season. Do not trim off fat! Season the chuck roast on all sides with Smoked Bros Light Strike
3. Sauté. Heat oil and sauté the onion, garlic and tomato until softened. Then transfer the veggies to a blender. Do Not Burn The Garlic or it will be disgustingly bitter.
4. Blend. In the blender, blend the sauted veggies, rehydrated chilis, spices, and beef stock. Blend it till the mixture is completely smooth. (Ensure you blend all ingredents from For the braising liquid: listed above)
5. Smoke. In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, aluminum pan, or dutch oven (without lid) pour the mixuter from the blender. Place the pan of braising liquid on the lowest grates of your smoker, set the seasoned chuck roast on a rack directly above the pan of braising liquid. With this set up, you'll maintain
moisture in your smoker, as well as catch any drippings from your roast. Close the lid and smoke your roast for 4-5 hours, or until the internal temperature reads 165- 175 degrees F.
*The best woods for smoking chuck roast are robust hardwoods that carry deep, earthy flavors to match the rich, savory taste that most beef cuts carry. This includes oak, hickory, and mesquite.
6. Braise. Move the roast down into the pan of braising liquid, close the lid, and cook for an additional 2-3 hours, or until your roast reads 210 degrees F internal temperature and shreds easily with a fork.
*Do not add water to the braising liquid, and only add beef stock if the pan appears dry. You want a concentrated liquid at the end to create a rich birria.
7. Shred. Remove the roast and shred into small pieces. Strain the peppers and onions from your braising liquid. It should have reduced significantly while cooking. Whisk in the remaining 2 cups hot beef stock to reconstitute your consomme and keep warm.
8. Make the tacos. Prepare your workstation for cooking the birria tacos. Preheat a cast iron skillet or flat top over medium-high heat and oil lightly. Dip your tortilla in your consomme liquid and set it directly on the oiled pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes before flipping. Top the tortilla with cheese and layer in your shredded birria. Fold the tortilla over and cook, flipping occasionally, until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is browned and crisp. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, cheese, and birria.
9. Destroy. Serve your tacos with fresh lime, cilantro, and diced onion alongside a bowl of your hot consomme. Dip your taco into that consomme before each bite and enjoy!
More About Smoked Bros:
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