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All Secrets behind the Best Birria Tacos Recipe

birria tacos

Birria tacos are the winning option for everyone who wants a special Mexican food night. But sure is more than just a trendy dish, it’s rooted in traditional Mexican cuisine and offers a delicious exploration of slow-cooked meats and fragrant spices.

From its first cooking techniques back in the 16th century to its current consecrated recipe and its latest twists such as quesabirria or pizza birria, here you have it all. 

This unique dish emerged as a result of the cultural exchange between the native and Spanish civilization in the 16th century. Although over the years its recipe has been modified depending on the region in which it is consumed, it has its origins in the state of Jalisco, specifically in the town of Cocula. 

According to oral tradition, goats arrived in Mexico when thousands of indigenous people were dying from the diseases that the Spaniards brought to the country, so hundreds of goats began to reproduce excessively and destroy crops and seedbeds. They arrived in the state of Jalisco through the lands of Zacatecas and Michoacan.

Faced with the need to stop the goats from destroying their crops, the local inhabitants began to use their meat as food, giving rise to the first dish made with this type of meat or the famous carne deshebrada (a.k.a shredded meat).

However, when they began to stew goat meat, they realized that it had a very strong smell and a hard consistency, so they decided to modify their method of preparation and it became common to cook it in ovens under the ground and then season it with aromatic herbs.

Birria itself is one of the most popular dishes in Mexico. Today it is one of the best cures to relieve a hangover after a heavy night of drinking, to enjoy a traditional dish at an event or simply as the main course of a family meal. The cross-cutting feature is the delicious taste and hearty nature of this epitome of Mexican cuisine. 

The main ingredient of birria stew is meat. In different municipalities of Jalisco it is usually prepared with beef, pork or lamb, however, the original recipe suggests that the ideal meat for the perfect combination of ingredients in a birria dish is goat meat.

The combination of European and Mexican ingredients as well as the cooking technique in a stone oven gave rise over time to birria, which is currently served in a chili and tomato stew, accompanied by garnishes such as finely chopped onion, cilantro, corn tortillas, a good sauce and a touch of lemon to enhance all the seasonings with which the goat meat is previously seasoned.

Although its original recipe includes goat meat, as it has become popular throughout Mexico, its preparation and presentation has changed: now it is common to find only birria tacos, without broth, or the famous quesabirrias, which is the fusion of a quesadilla with the same seasoned meat. Now everyone is in search of the best birria tacos near me.

Just as the birria evolved until it reached its perfect recipe in each region, in each family home, it also gave way to several variations that today are already consecrated dishes in their own right.

  • Quesabirria:

First up on our flavor-packed journey is the quesabirria, a mouthwatering fusion of birria and melted cheese. Tender, seasoned birria meat wrapped in a crispy corn tortilla with melted cheese that oozes with every bite. One of our favorites, hands down. Dip your quesabirria in a side of consommé for an extra kick of flavor and you’ll understand why this variation has taken the culinary world by storm.

  • Birria Barbacoa (Birria vs Barbacoa?):

While birria usually has beef or goat meat, birria barbacoa usually has lamb or veal meat slow-cooked in a subway oven, resulting in tender meat that melts in your mouth. The meat is seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices and chiles, infusing it with complex flavors that pair perfectly with warm corn tortillas. 

  • Birria Pizza:

Last but not least, we have the indulgent birria pizza. This innovative fusion takes two beloved classics-pizza and birria-and combines them into one mouthwatering creation. This innovative dish features a crispy pizza crust topped with tender shredded birria meat, melted cheese and a mix of vibrant toppings such as onions, cilantro, jalapeños and consommé.

And now, let’s see everything we need to enjoy a delicious homemade birria or, why not, the best birria tacos for the most daring and delicious Mexican dinner party. Here, your ultimate birria tacos recipe.


  • 3 pounds beef (such as chuck roast or brisket), cut into chunks
  • 5 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Corn tortillas, for serving
  • Chopped cilantro, diced onions, lime wedges, for garnish


  1. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast the dried guajillo and ancho chilies for about 30 seconds on each side until fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover with hot water and let soak for 20 minutes until softened.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and minced garlic, sauté until softened and fragrant.
  3. Drain the soaked chilies and transfer them to a blender. Add the sautéed onions and garlic, dried oregano, ground cumin, ground cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, beef broth, tomato sauce, and apple cider vinegar. Blend until smooth.
  4. Season the beef chunks with salt and pepper. Add the seasoned beef to the pot.
  5. Pour the blended chili mixture over the beef, ensuring it’s fully submerged. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender and the flavors have melded.
  6. Once the beef is fork-tender, use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a plate. Use two forks to shred the beef.
  7. Skim off any excess fat from the surface of the stew. Return the shredded beef to the pot and stir to combine.
  8. To assemble the birria tacos, heat a separate skillet over medium heat and warm the corn tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side until they are soft and pliable. Spoon some of the shredded birria meat onto each tortilla, then fold or roll them into tacos.
  9. Serve the birria tacos immediately, accompanied by bowls of the reserved birria consommé for dipping or drizzling over the tacos. Garnish with chopped cilantro, diced onions, and lime wedges on the side for squeezing over the tacos.
Birria Barbacoa​ (birria tacos)

Once you have the star dish, it’s time for the side dishes. Let’s never forget about them, they are the ones that not only make your tacos truly stand out but also turn your dinner into an authentic Mexican fiesta with a traditional Mexican menu

Start with the classic Mexican appetizers: freshly-made guacamole,  salsa, and crisp, golden chips. Also, consider pairing your birria tacos with Mexican elote, grilled Mexican street corn smothered in crema, cheese, and spices. For a refreshing beverage, opt for a traditional margarita to round off your meal with a flourish. 

To summarize, the birria tacos bring us not only a special meat and therefore a special flavor, but a whole history behind it that shapes the Mexican culture as we know it today. 

So go ahead and try new flavors and cultures. and a little relief: if you are too lazy to cook, give in to that feeling but don’t deprive yourself of a good Mexican treat. Just book a table at your go-to Mexican restaurant or simply order online. Just be happy.

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