Make Quesabirria Tacos At Home
This recipe is a follow up to my basics post for How To Make Beef Birria, which I have been eating in different ways for the past four days. I find that one of the best things about stew meats…they last a while and are so versatile in a variety of dishes. Of course, if you’ve heard of quesabirria tacos then you may just want to learn how to make quesabirria tacos at home!
While the taco version is a bit of a recent trend, especially thanks to the food trucks in Los Angeles, birria has been around for ages. This popular Mexican stew originates in Jalisco and is traditionally made with goat. However as beef is more common, I’ll stick to what is convenient for most home cooks.
Another Authentic Taco Recipe: Tacos de Lengua!
To make the beef birria you can go in details in my Beef Birria recipe, however I’ll try to simplify it here. In a blender add toasted chilies (traditionally it is guajillo, but if you can’t find them use whatever you prefer). Also add in a white onion, a tsp of cumin, a tsp of ground cinnamon, a bunch of cilantro, a tablespoon each of black peppercorns and dried oregano, 60 ml each of white vinegar and olive oil. Finally, just blend everything up.
Pour the freshly blended adobo sauce over 2kg of beef cut into large chunks. Then cover and set in the fridge overnight. Pretty simple right? Next day just place in the oven to bake at 160 Celsius for 5-6 hours. Voila, there’s your homemade beef birria!
Turning Beef Birria Into Quesabirria Tacos At Home
Separate the beef from the remaining liquid. Shred the beef with a couple forks and set aside. Allow the liquid a half hour so the fat rises to the top of the pot. While this is happening set a pan on medium-high heat. You don’t need to add any oil or other fat to the pan, the soaked tortilla will fry up in the dipped liquid.
Slap that tortilla right on the pan and flip it immediately. On half of it lay down a healthy amount of the beef birria and top with cheese. The traditional cheese here is Oaxaca white cheese which I couldn’t find, so I ended up using Queso Panela. (It’s strange I was able to get this cheese, but not guajillo chilies).
You can shred this cheese, or just chop it up into small pieces, I prefer chopping it as shredding it causes it to kind of disintegrate.
Right after you add the meat and cheese, fold over the tortilla and press it down with a spatula. The tortilla will get nice and crispy and keep most of the insides from falling out when you take a bite.
Traditionally these quesabirria street tacos are served with the beef consommé to dip, however as I am making quesabirria tacos at home I opted to make a simple aguacate fresca. Simply put, I blended some avocados with a bit of water and salt for a refreshing dip. You can add some jalapeno to it if you want to kick the spice up a notch. Of course, you can still dip these in the beef consommé at home if that’s what you prefer!
Storing Your Beef Birria Leftovers
An awesome thing about making quesabirria tacos at home is that you will have a big batch of birria stew leftover. While I recommend making and eating the tacos right away, you can store the stew in the pot for up to a week. For breakfast one day I did a play on a traditional Machaca and Eggs using Birria instead and I have to say it was quite delicious.
- 2 kg Beef I used shoulder but any stew cut will work. Aim for something quite fatty as lean beef won't render as much fat for frying later.
- 1 White Onion
- 5 Chili Peppers traditionally dried guajillo is used. However if you can't find them just use what you can…the flavor will be a bit different but still delicious.
- 1 tbsp Black Peppercorns
- 1 tsp Cinnamon ground
- 1 tsp Cumin ground
- 1 bunch Cilantro
- 3 Tomatoes cut in half
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 60 ml Olive Oil
- 60 ml Vinegar white vinegar is okay
- 1 tbsp Oregano
- 2 tbsp Salt I know this might seem like a lot but we are working with 2kg of beef so it quite needs it.
- Black Pepper freshly cracked, to taste
- 40 small Tortillas traditionally these are made with corn tortillas, but you can use flour if you cannot find corn
- 250 grams Cheese traditionally you should use Oaxaca white cheese, but I used Queso Panela and it was still delicious.
- Chop up the meat into large chunks and place in a big pot or dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper and mix.
- In a pan toast/fry your chilies for a minute or two. If using dried chilies then place them in some water for 10 minutes after toasting to soften them up. Add to blender.
- Grill the tomato halves for a minute or two, until the flesh is charred. Add to blender.
- Fry the peppercorns, cumin, and cinnamon for just a minute on high heat. Add some water to the pan to dislodge anything stuck to the pan and then tip everything into the blender.
- Add to the blender the garlic, cilantro, olive oil, vinegar, oregano, and the white onion. Blend everything up. If it is too thick add some water or beef broth to thin it down, but we don’t want it TOO watery.
- Pour the adobo (blended chili sauce) over the meat. Shake the pot to help the liquid seem through all the beef. Pour over just enough to cover the meat. Place the lid on and put into the fridge for at least 12 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 160 Celsius and place the pot into the oven. Let braise for 5-6 hours, or until the meat is fork tender and easily shreds.
- Strain the meat from the liquid (save the liquid!) and shred all the meat with a couple forks. Place in a serving bowl and ladle over some of the liquid you previously strained out. Mix everything together and enjoy.
- Dip a tortilla into the leftover fatty liquid and slap it on a hot pan. Flip immediately.
- Add a scoop of birria meat to half the tortilla and then top with some cheese.
- Fold over the tortilla and press it down with a spatula. Rinse and repeat for all the tortillas.
Make Quesabirria Tacos At Home
Delicious Mexican Recipes
While I’m sure some people will take issue with this recipe, I tried to keep it as authentic as possible with what was available. I’m a firm believer that cuisines should develop and adapt based on resources so if you need to substitute something, feel free. Even in Mexico all families have different ways of cooking Birria.