Inside: Learn how to make this delicious and popular Mexican Birria recipe that is commonly served at celebrations. Birria is authentic and addicting and will be leaving you asking for more.
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What is Birria?
Birria is a popular Mexican dish that originated in the Jalisco state. It is traditionally made with lamb meat, but it is common for people to use beef today since it is more affordable and easier to find throughout Mexico and the United States.
There are a few different ways to enjoy Birria. The first is as “consome” which is a type of soup, or stew using dried chiles and other spices. For that variety, the meat is shredded and served in the soup. That is why it is important for the meat to be cooked until it is very tender.
The consome is served with diced onion and cilantro, salsa, and lime juice. It is popular at baptisms, weddings, and holiday parties. Birria has gained international fame, not only because of its exquisite taste, but also because it is known for its ability to help people recover after a long night of partying.
Another way to eat birria is to shred the meat and make tacos with it! Both ways of using it are delicious, but my personal preference is as tacos. You shred the meat, heat up the tortilla and dip it in the broth before adding the meat and serving it with onion, cilantro, salsa and lime.
How Do You Make Birria?
Birria is made with lamb meat or beef. Most often, rib meat is what is used from the lamb, and the shank for beef, but you can use other cuts as well. You start by marinating the meat in a combination of guajillo, ancho, and chipotle peppers. You will also use spices, such as cumin, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and cloves. Marinating allows the flavors to really penetrate the meat, which results in a tender and delicious final product.
Although Birria is delicious, the traditional preparation takes some time. The traditional way to make birria is to let it cook in a large pot for 2-3 hours at least, checking it often to make sure it was cooked correctly. Fortunately, the tecnology that we have today helps us so that we can make it more quickly without sacrificing flavor!
One of my favorite memories growing up was watching my abuelita as she made birria and other recipes with patience and love. Even still, I think that she would have loved to have one of the electric multi-cookers that are so common now. In this recipe, I will show you how to make it using one of these great tools and also in the traditional method.
How Is Birria Served?
As I mentioned above, consome de birria is very popular and you make it by adding extra broth and then adding lime juice, salsa, cilantro and diced onions.
For tacos, you will start by heating up or frying the corn tortillas and then dipping it briefly in the cooking broth from the birria, which gives it flavor and some extra color. Then you fill it with the shredded birria meat and top it with onions, cilantro, salsa, salt and lime.
No matter how you serve it, it is delicious! Let me know in the comments below how it turned out for you and if you have any questions about the process!
Other Authentic Mexican Recipes
- Barbacoa Tacos
- Mexican Pozole Recipe
- Authentic Mexican Menudo Recipe
- Authentic Tacos de Canasta Recipe (Mexican Basket Tacos)
- Authentic Mexican Entomatadas Recipe with Chicken
- Authentic Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup
Authentic Mexican Birria Recipe
For the Meat
- 1 Lb Bone-In Lamb Ribs
- 1 Lb Beef shank
- 1 Lb Beef loin
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Pepper
- 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
For the Sauce/Broth
- 4 Dried Ancho Chiles
- 4 Dried Guajillo Chiles
- 1 Chipotle Pepper
- 8 Peppercorns
- 2 cloves
- 1 Tsp dried thyme
- 1 Tsp Marjoram
- 1 Tsp Dried Oregano
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin
- 1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger
- 1/2 Cinnamon Stick
- 8 Cloves Garlic
- 1/2 Large Onion
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Salt
- 4 Red Tomatoes
- 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups Water
Preparation (all methods)
- Season the meat with salt, pepper, and cumin
- Cut open the dried chiles with scissors and remove the seeds
- Fry the dried chiles with a small amount of oil in a frying pan for 2-3 minutes, moving constantly so they don't burn. Set aside
- Add the chiles from the previous step to a small pot with boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until softened.
- In the same frying pan where you fried the chiles, add 1 tablespoon of oil and cook the onions and tomatoes until they are browned. Add the garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and all of the remaining spices except for the ground cumin and ginger. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, moving it around often.
- Add the chiles (including the water), the ingredients from the previous step, and the ginger, cumin, apple cider vinegar and water to a blender and blend until smooth. It will still be pretty thick, but that is fine. Strain and set aside the resulting sauce for the next step.
- Pour the sauce over the meat in a large bowl and cover. If using the oven or stovetop methods, you will want to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. If using the electric pressure cooker option, you can marinate it, but it isn't necessary.
- Follow the cooking instructions according to your preferred method below.
Method 1 - Stovetop
- Add the meat with the marinade to a large stockpot and cook over medium heat, covered, for about three hours, or until the meat falls off the bones and is easy to shred.
Method 2 - Oven
- Add the meat with the marinade to a large oven-safe dish and cover with aluminum foil and cook at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 2 hours or until the meat is easy to shred.
Method 3 - Electric Pressure Cooker *Preferred Method
- Add the meat with the marinade (or just the meat and the marinade separately if you chose not to marinate it) to the pot of the electric pressure cooker.
- Follow instructions for your electric pressure cooker to bring it to high pressure and cook for 45 minutes. Release pressure naturally for 5 minutes and then use the quick pressure release option to release the rest of the pressure. Remove the lid per instructions and the meat will be tender and ready to shred.
How to Serve
- Remove the meat and shred it. You can then serve it over the soup made from the sauce that the meat cooked in or you can serve it with tortillas as tacos with cilantro, lime, onions, and salsa.