Birria tacos took social media by storm in 2020 and I needed them in my life ASAP. No one was offering them locally at the time so I started research. I found a few white-washed recipes, but the best recipes I found were from Latin bloggers who shared their recipes in Spanish.
I gathered information, tested recipes and this is the Birria Taco recipe I came up with.
What exactly is birria?
Birria is a Mexican meat stew that is normally made with goat or lamb meat, but in the US beef birria has become very popular. The stew is cooked slow and low for several hours to ensure the meat is very tender. The flavors are complex combining allspice, cinnamon, onions, tomatoes, herbs and spicy peppers.
Birria can be prepared into tacos, quesadillas and even birria ramen. Birria tacos and quesadillas are typically served with, diced cilantro and onion, lime wedges and a side of the beef consommé so you can dip your tacos into.
Instant pot vs. stove top
Some of the recipes I read called for the birria meat to cook for 3-4 hours. A few other recipes called for the birria to cook about 2 hours in a pressure cooker. While that's fine, I don't have that kind of time. Setting my Instant Pot to the Meat/Stew" setting for 45 minutes at high pressure yielded melt-in-your-mouth beef that was perfect.
What cuts of meat to use for Birria?
For this recipe, I combined two pounds of chuck roast and 2 pounds of beef shank. Flank and short rib also work well for this recipe.
Instant Pot Birria Tacos
- 2 lbs Boneless Chuck Roast
- 2 lbs Beef Shank
- 2 Tbsp of Vegetable Oil
- 3 Tbsp Salt separated
- 1 Tbsp Pepper
- 1 ½ Tsp Ground Cumin separated
- 3 Dried Ancho Chiles
- 4 Dried Guajillo Chiles
- 3 Dried Arbol Chiles
- 1 Chipotle Pepper
- 5 Black Peppercorns
- 2 Whole Cloves
- ¼ tsp of Allspice
- 1 Tsp Dried Thyme
- 1 ½ Tsp Dried Oregano
- 2 Bay Leaves
- ½ Tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 8 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Large Onion
- 4 Large Red Tomatoes
- ¼ cup vinegar white or apple cider
- 2 cups Water
- 1 30 count package White Corn Taco Tortillas
- 2 cups shredded chihuahua or Oaxaca cheese
- minced cilantro and onion optional
- Start by trimming the fat from your meat and cutting your beef into large chunks. then season your beef with 1 ½ tablespoon of salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of cumin.
- Set your Instant Pot to sauté and add your vegetable oil to the pot. Once your pot is hot, add your beef and sear the meat on all sides, be sure not to burn it. You're not trying to cook the meat through, just get a nice sear.
- Turn off the Instant Pot and add to your seared meat the chiles, chipotle pepper, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, bay leaves, ginger, tomatoes, garlic, onion, water, vinegar, 1 ½ tablespoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of cumin.
- Place the lid on your Instant Pot and set it to meat/stew for 45 minutes with high pressure.
- Once the Instant-pot has stopped cooking, allow for the steam to release. Carefully open the lid and gently remove beef and place it on a dish. Using two forks shred the beef and remove any overly fatty pieces.
- Before adding the beef back into the broth. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cinnamon, bay leaves, chiles, pepper, tomatoes, onion, garlic and if possible the cloves and peppercorns. Place all of these ingredients into a blender with about ½ cup of the consommé from the instant pot and blend until everything is completely smooth.
- Add the pureed sauce back into the Instant Pot and gently combine until the consommé and sauce are well incorporated. Then, add your shredded beef back in and set the Instant Pot to the "Keep Warm" setting.
- Start preparing your tacos by warming your tortillas. Lightly dip your tortilla into the consommé and place the tortilla in a sauté pan at medium heat.
- Add about 2-3 tablespoons of cheese to your warmed tortilla. Then, using tongs grab about ¼ cup of beef and place it on top of the cheese, gently fold over the tortilla and allow for the cheese to melt. Repeat this process until you have the desired amount of tacos
- Top your tacos with minced onion and cilantro. Serve your tacos with about ½ cup of consommé