Birria Beef

Yield: 8-10 Servings
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 4 hours


2 lbs chuck roast
2 lbs boneless beef short ribs
10 Guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
6 Ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
3 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
6 cloves
1 white onion
2 Roma tomatoes
4 Chile de Arbol chiles
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
Orange peel (from ½ an orange)
4 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp sugar
Kosher salt


  1. Cut your chuck roast into smaller chunks.
  2. In a large stock pot, place your beef pieces and add water to the pot (add enough water to cover the meat).
  3. Place the pot with the beef pieces over medium-high heat and begin to boil. Add in bay leaves, orange peel, and salt (you want the meat to be cooking in highly seasoned water). 
  4.  Toast your chiles in a large pan over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Do not allow the chiles to burn; prevent this by constantly moving them around in the pan. 
  5. Remove the chiles from the pan and place in a pot with the chicken broth, onion, and garlic. Bring to a boil and let cook for about 7 minutes, or until chiles are softened. 
  6. Toast your aromatics (peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves) for 1-2 minutes. Do not allow them to burn.
  7. Remove chiles, onion, and garlic from the pot and place in a blender. Add in tomatoes, aromatics, and some liquid from the pot you cooked your chiles in. Blend until smooth. You may need to adjust how much liquid you add to get your desired consistency. I added it in in 1 cup intervals. This is your “Adobo” seasoning.
  8. Add your Adobo to the pot with your beef cooking. Add in dried oregano, thyme, and sugar. Mix well and taste the sauce your beef will be cooking in. Adjust seasonings if necessary. 
  9. Lower temperature to medium-low and let beef cook for about 3 ½ hours, or until beef is able to be easily shredded. 
  10. When done, remove the beef from the pot to a large mixing bowl and shred. Add in some of the juices from the pot to your shredded beef. Be sure to remove any bay leaves or orange peels. 
  11. Serve your birria in your favorite fashion, whether over rice or in a taco. Garnish with onion and cilantro, if desired.

Recipe Tips

  • Birria was historically made with lamb. Substitute lamb, or use a mixture of both beef and lamb, as an alternative to this dish. 
  • The “adobo” you make can also be used as a marinade for the beef before cooking to deepen flavors.
  • I served my birria in enchiladas, using Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese. Consider adding this meat to your favorite Mexican dishes, such as quesadillas, burritos, and tacos.

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