This Birria Tacos (tacos de birria aka quesatacos) recipe is juicy, cheesy, delicious—a true showstopper. It begins with braising a birria de rez and then making a consomé and frying up tacos with Oaxacan (or mozzarella) cheese. Instructions for oven, Instant Pot and slow-cooker methods are all included!
I first saw these very famous Birria Tacos on Tiktok during qu*rantine when I was looking for mini adventures to go on. I was like, hmm, what are birria tacos?!? Obviously I knew what birria was.
So, after I saw someone eat them from a taco truck on Tiktok and quickly googled “Birria tacos near me” and luckily there were some results! I hopped in my car and headed to the valley. I consumed them, consome dripping down my chin and it was HEAVEN.
Birria Adobo Paste:
20 dried ancho chiles stemmed and seeded
8 garlic cloves
6 bay leaves
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cloves
4 tsp thyme
4 tsp Mexican oregano
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
6 lbs beef chuck or lamb (See Note 1)
salt (See Note 2)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 adobo paste (see above)
1 medium white onion remove skin, cut into quarters
6 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
12 cascabel chiles stemmed and seeded
1/2 remaining adobo paste (see above)
28 oz roasted tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
16 corn tortillas
1 cup cilantro chopped
1 medium white onion diced
pickled red onion optional
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-Transfer dried chiles to a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and set chiles aside.
-In a skillet over medium high heat toast the garlic, bay leaves, sesame seeds, peppercorns and cloves. Sesame seeds should be a light brown and spices aromatic.
-Transfer toasted garlic and spices, thyme, oregano, ginger and cumin, drained chiles, water and vinegar to a blender and puree. Add water as needed for a smooth, thick paste consistency (See
*Note: Strain through a sieve and discard any debris if needed (I use a Vitamix that does a great job, so no need to strain). This can be made 1 week in advance stored covered in refrigerator.
-Season lamb or beef all over liberally with salt. Searing meat first is optional (I prefer the browned meat myself, but to save time skip this step). Sear meat all over in a Dutch oven or large skillet with a little oil. Work in batches so the meat sears and doesn’t steam due to over crowding pot.
-Remove meat if seared and or place salted meat into the Instant Pot along with onion, garlic cloves, bay leaves and peppercorns. Pour in half of the adobo paste, and cover with water by 1 inch. Cook on Meat/Stew setting, High, for 45 minutes. Allow for Natural steam release.
-Remove the meat, reserving the cooking liquid, and shred. Transfer shredded meat back into the Instant Pot and cover to keep warm. Set reserved cooking liquid aside.
-To a skillet over medium high heat, add the cascabel chiles. Cook and turn often, chiles should turn a bright red color, for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, roasted tomatoes and remaining half of the adobo paste and simmer for 10 minutes.
-Transfer tomato chile mixture and half of the reserved cooking liquid to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a sieve and discard any debris if needed.
-To the Instant Pot add half the strained chile puree to the shredded meat. Set to Saute and cook meat and chile sauce, uncovered for 20 minutes.