This recipe takes the “complicated” out of Beef Birria once and for all. Authentic tasting with way less work and the same amazing payoff. You and your family will be talking about this recipe for days to come. It really is that good.
Perfectly tender, shredded beef, coated in rich and deeply flavorful guajillo sauce, this stuff is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Beef Birria will have you feeling like a dinner-time queen with so little effort. You can even make the sauce up to 2 days in advance!
This crockpot dish is the fix-it-and-forget-it kind. Easier than your average Beef Birria recipe (we even skip some steps!), but still achieving that incredible flavor and tenderness.
Use it for those busy weekdays when you still want to come home to a mega comforting dinner or enjoy a slow-moving Saturday in which the enticing scent of slow-cooking beef and chiles fills the air all day long.
This juicy shredded beef can be served as a consomé, topped with chopped cilantro and white onions with warm corn tortillas on the side, or in quesabirria taco form. So choose your own adventure and let’s get cooking!
Looking for more awesome slow cooker recipes to try? Bookmark Mexican Shredded Beef Tacos in your internet browser for next time!
WHAT IS BIRRIA?
Birria is a Mexican stew of meat seasoned with chiles. The traditional meat used in a Birria-style consomé is goat, although it can be made with beef, lamb, or chicken.
The beef rendition (Birria de Res) has recently taken off in popularity thanks to the quesabirria taco; a taco made up of Beef Birria served with melted cheese in a tortilla that has been dipped in Birria sauce.
Birria sauce is chile-based and typically consists of guajillo peppers. Guajillo peppers are dried mirasol chiles. These chiles are rich in chile flavor, slightly fruity, and make for a well-rounded, full-bodied sauce that is low on heat and big on flavor.
Once the Guajillo Sauce is prepared, the meat of choice cooks low and slow until fork-tender. Then, the Birria can be eaten as a stew served with onions, cilantro, and fresh lime with corn tortillas on the side, or it can be consumed in taco form.
Beef Birria Tacos are coming, but first — baby steps. Today, we’ll focus on the Guajillo Sauce and making the Beef Birria Stew.
If you tend to favor chicken over beef, Chicken Birria Tacos use this same Guajillo sauce and are just as delicious!
HOW TO MAKE BEEF BIRRIA
This Beef Birria recipe comes together without extra time-consuming preparations like soaking the chiles prior to cooking and pan-searing beef on the stovetop before it can make its way to the slow cooker.
But, make no mistake, although this recipe saves you some steps here and there, it is by no means lacking in flavor. With less work (and less prep time), you are guaranteed that robust beefy flavor and a rich, homemade consomé that is second to none!
- Prep the chiles.
- Simmer chiles with vegetables in broth.
- Blend sauce.
- Season the beef.
- Slow cook with the sauce in a crockpot (8 to 10 hours).
- Shred and serve!
PREP THE CHILES
The first thing you’ll need to do to make Beef Birria is to prepare your guajillo sauce. Remove the guajillo chile stems, gently tear the chiles open, and allow any loose seeds to fall away.
Then, lay the chiles flat on a work surface and use a paring knife to scrape away any remaining seeds.
SIMMER SAUCE INGREDIENTS
Next, add the chiles, broth, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and a bay leaf to a saucepan and place it over medium-high heat. Note, for a beefier flavored guajillo sauce, sub in beef broth in the place of chicken broth.
Allow the mixture to simmer for about 15 minutes on the stovetop, stirring occasionally. Once the onions and the chiles are fork-tender, you can remove the saucepan from the heat and discard the Bayleaf.
ADD REMAINING SAUCE INGREDIENTS AND BLEND
Transfer the mix to a blender or a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and add sugar, vinegar, salt, oregano, cloves, and cumin. Note, you can use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar for your guajillo sauce.
Blend until everything is puréed to your liking. If you’d like for your guajillo sauce to be extra smooth and silky, place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium-sized mixing bowl and slowly whisk the sauce through the strainer. The strainer will catch any solids that remain and then it’s ready to go into your Beef Birria.
PREPARE THE BEEF
For the beef, you could use either a chuck roast or short ribs. However, you will get more meat for less money with a chuck roast. Therefore, chuck roast it is.
Prepare the chuck roast by patting away the excess moisture from its exterior with a paper towel. Then, you’ll make the seasoning mix. The seasoning mix consists of kosher salt, black pepper, oregano, and cumin.
Add all the spices to a small bowl and mix them until they are evenly distributed. Sprinkle the spice mix over the chuck roast and rub to adhere.
Add about a half cup of the guajillo sauce to the crockpot, followed by the seasoned chuck roast, and top with the remaining guajillo sauce. Pop on the lid, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.
CAN I COOK THIS ON HIGH?
Chuck roast comes from the shoulder area of the cow, which is a muscle that does quite a bit of work. Meaning, this cut is no filet mignon — it’s a tough one. So what’s the benefit of using it? Chuck roast is renowned for its rich, beefy flavor, making it absolutely perfect for Beef Birria. This is the same cut we use for our perfectly tender Beef Barbacoa.
The downside to chuck roast is that it truly does need to be cooked low and slow. The lower the heat and the longer you can cook it, the more tender this cut of beef will become. So can you cook it on high in less time using your slow cooker? Well, you certainly can… it just won’t be as good.
SHRED AND ADD FRESH LIME
If you plan to serve your Beef Birria as a stew, skim away the layer of fat floating atop the liquid in your crockpot before you remove the beef to shred it.
This fat can be discarded unless you want to make Birria tacos with the leftovers! If tacos are in your near future, reserve the fat by placing it in a food-safe container, covering it, and refrigerating it for up to 2 days.
Once your beef is fork-tender, remove it from the crockpot, place it on a work surface, and shred it, using two forks. Then, return the shredded beef to the crockpot and squeeze in the juice of a lime. Stir, and your Beef Birria Cosomé is ready to serve!
HOW TO SERVE BEEF BIRRIA STEW
Add the beef and some of the sauce to a bowl. Garnish with diced white onion, chopped cilantro, and a wedge or two of fresh lime on the side. You can also serve it with warmed corn tortillas for dipping (or even filling) and enjoy!
6 MORE BEEFY MEXICAN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Steak Ranchero
- Mexican Shredded Beef
- Carne Asada Tacos
- Steak Fajitas
- Tacos al Carbon
- Beef Chimichanga
Beef Birria is easy to make, super versatile, and incredibly flavorful. Serve it as a stew or on tacos, you won't be disappointed!
- 8 Guajillo chiles, stem and seeds removed
- 2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken broth
- 4 tomatoes, seeded and cut into quarters
- 1/2 white onion, cut into chunks
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 3 pound chuck roast
- Juice of a lime
- Diced white onion
- Chopped cilantro
- Lime wedges
Add the chiles, broth, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and bay leaf to a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer.
Stir occasionally and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the onions and chiles are fork-tender.
Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Transfer the mixture to a blender or a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, and add the sugar, vinegar, salt, oregano, cloves, and cumin.
Cover, remove the small blender cap or feed tube, cover with a dishtowel, and blend until smooth. If you are making birria tacos, reserve about a 1/2 cup of guajillo sauce for dipping.
In a small bowl, mix the Kosher salt, cumin, pepper, and oregano.
Add about a half cup of guajillo sauce to the crockpot and set it aside. Pat the exterior of the beef dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with the seasoning. Rub all over to adhere and transfer the seasoned meat to the crockpot. Pour the remaining guajillo sauce over the beef.
Place the lid on the slow cooker, and cook for 8-10 hours on the low setting.
Once the beef is fork-tender, skim the grease off the top of the cooking liquid. Reserve the fat if you plan to make birria tacos with the leftovers, otherwise, discard. Then, transfer the beef to a work surface and shred it using two forks. Add it back to the crockpot, along with the juice of fresh lime, and stir.
To serve, spoon shredded beef and sauce into a bowl and garnish with white onion, cilantro, and lime wedge, if desired.