Picture this: tender, juicy meat slow cooked to perfection, wrapped in a warm tortilla, and topped with melted cheese. Your mouth waters as you take your first bite, and the explosion of flavors dances on your taste buds. This, my friends, is the magic of birria tacos.
What is Birria?
Birria is a traditional Mexican dish that originated in the state of Jalisco. It is typically made with goat meat, but variations using beef, lamb, or even chicken have become popular. The meat is marinated in a rich blend of spices, including dried chilies, garlic, cumin, and oregano. It is then slow-cooked until it becomes incredibly tender and flavorful.
How are Birria Tacos Made?
The magic of birria tacos lies in the process of making them. The marinated meat is slow-cooked for hours, allowing the flavors to meld together and the meat to become incredibly tender. Once cooked, the meat is shredded and placed in warm tortillas. The tacos are then dipped in the flavorful cooking broth and griddled until the tortillas are crispy and the cheese is melted.
Why are Birria Tacos So Irresistible?
There are several reasons why birria tacos have taken the culinary world by storm:
1. Flavor Explosion: The combination of spices and slow-cooked meat creates a flavor profile that is out of this world. Each bite is a burst of savory, smoky, and slightly spicy goodness.
2. Textural Delight: The tender meat, crispy tortilla, and gooey melted cheese create a delightful contrast of textures. It's a party in your mouth!
3. Dipping Goodness: The option to dip your birria taco in the flavorful cooking broth takes the experience to a whole new level. The broth adds an extra layer of richness and depth of flavor.
4. Versatility: Birria tacos can be customized to suit your taste. Add some onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime for a refreshing twist. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, try adding some avocado or pickled jalapenos.
- 1 lb. boneless chuck
- 1 lb. short rib
- 1 lb. oxtail
- Salt to taste
- 6 dried guajillo chilies
- 3 dried chilies de arbol (spicy, add to preference)
- 4 dried ancho chilies
- 6 cups beef stock
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 3 tsp. powdered cumin
- 2 tsp. Mexican oregano
- 2 tbsp. high heat oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 bay leaves
- Corn tortillas
- Oaxaca cheese
- Jalapenos, sliced
- Pickled red onion
- White onion, diced
- Lime wedges
- Chili oil
- Cut the beef into similar-sized blocks of meat, then season with salt. Remove the stems and seeds of the dried chilies. Chilies de Arbol are hot, add these to your preference, keeping in mind that a little will go a long way.
- Bring a saucepan with 3 cups of beef stock to a simmer. Add the dried chilies and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Preheat the infrared sear station side burner to medium-high. If you do not have a side burner, use the main burners of the barbecue, preheating two burners side by side to high. Preheat two side-by-side burners to low.
- Place a Dutch Oven onto the cooking grids over the burners that are set to low.
- While the barbecue is preheating, take the rehydrated chilies and place them into a blender with the garlic, brown sugar, cumin and oregano. Add up to 1 cup of the beef stock from the saucepan where you rehydrated the chilies. Blend until smooth. If you need to, add more of the stock until the pepper sauce is smooth.
- Sear the beef until deep grill marks appear on each side.
- In the Dutch Oven, add the oil and cook the onion until tender. Add the tomato paste and cook until it is a brick red color. Add the remaining beef stock, then add the paste you made from the rehydrated chilies and finally, add the beef, bay leaves and cinnamon. Set the main burners on the barbecue to a temperature that will allow the meal to braise, around 300°F. Cover and simmer for 1½ to 3 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender. This means if you put a fork into the meat it needs very little pressure to shred.
- Remove the Dutch Oven from the barbecue and then take out the beef, discarding any bones. Shred the beef into chunks that are small or medium, leaving as much or as little fat as you want.
- Strain the consommé, season to taste with salt and pepper if needed. Allow it to settle so that any fat comes to the top.
- Using heat-resistant gloves, as your cooking grids are likely to still be hot, remove a set of grids and replace them with a cast iron griddle. You can also place this griddle directly onto the cooking grids if you would prefer. Preheat the burners under the griddle to medium-high.
- Oil the griddle with a high temperature, neutral-flavored oil. Carefully dip a tortilla into the fatty consommé and place it onto the hot griddle. Top the tortilla with some shredded cheese and shredded beef. You can also drizzle the beef with a little extra consommé or even chili oil if you want. Fold the tortilla over and flip ensuring that the tortilla becomes crispy on the outside and melty on the inside.
- Serve these birria tacos with the remaining consommé for dipping, top the consommé with diced white onion and cilantro. You can also add chili oil, a squeeze of lime, and even pickled onion with it.