Quesabirria Beef Tacos are a coming together of a quesadilla and a taco that are filled with melted cheese and slow cooked shredded beef. They are then perfectly crisped up in a pan and always served dipped in a delicious consommé.
You only have to cook the beef once, but you’ll actually end up with 2 different dishes. The first dish is Birria de res. A Mexican meat stew/soup, that can be enjoyed with just the slow cooked meat in the delicious broth that it produces with added simple toppings of chopped onion and cilantro. The second dish the meat can also be turned into are these quesabirria beef tacos.
What is a quesabirria taco?
A quesadilla and a taco in one! Shredded cheese is melted on a corn tortilla, then slow cooked. Then shredded beef is added and folded into a taco. Once finished it is traditionally served with chopped onion and cilantro.
How do you pronounce ‘quesabirria?’
Originating from Jalisco Mexico, I first tried birria years ago In Los Angeles. A craze that took off and people would line up for hours just to get their fix. Since recently moving to Northern California, this ‘wet’ taco is also immensely popular here too.
What is a wet taco?
It is a taco where the tortilla is dipped in liquid before cooking and also served with a dipping sauce. A consommé, in this case.
Typically made with goat meat in Mexico, making it with beef is more widely used in America. The process of making the meat is easy, however it does need to cook a long time to make the meat soft so it can easily be shredded. After the meat is done, you can enjoy tacos for days.
My secret trick I like to use for maximum flavor is make the meat the day before. The cooked shredded beef sits in the juices all night and this is a flavor game changer and they really do taste more like authentic quesabirria.
My preferred method for slow cooking the beef is on the stove. I have also used the slow cooker with fantastic results and the oven. All methods are included in the recipe.
These tacos are served simply with onion and cilantro. A delicious sauce that would complement these perfectly is my New Mexico Hatch Green Chile Sauce that is really easy to make.
What is the best meat for quesabirria?
Chuck roast, beef shank, short ribs, lamb and goat are all traditional meats used in Mexico. I like to use a combination of chuck and beef shank with added flavor from the bone.
How to do you make birria sauce?
A blend of dried chiles (guajillo and ancho, sometimes chipotle for spice) that are softened in boiling water then blended with tomato, onion, garlic and spices.
How many servings of quesabirria per person?
This recipe makes enough meat for 12 tacos. This will serve 6 people eating 2 tacos each or 4 people eating 3 tacos each.
Slow cooked shredded beef served in tacos with melted cheese, onion and cilantro. Served with a consomme dipping sauce.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours15 minutes
For the sauce:
4 dried guajilo or new Mexico chiles, cut off stems and remove seeds
4 dried ancho chiles
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
2 Roma tomatoes, cut in half
6 garlic cloves
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 teaspoons onion powder
Small pinch ground cloves
2 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups beef stock
For the beef:
2 1/2 pounds (1.1 kg) beef chuck, cut into large pieces
1 pound (453 grams) beef shank (or short ribs with bone)
Salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 cinnamon stick
For the tacos:
Corn tortillas (12 tortillas for 6 people, 2 tacos each)
Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 yellow onion, chopped
Fresh cilantro, chopped
For the sauce: Add the dried peppers to a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Soak the peppers for 10 minutes until softened. Drain, discard the liquid and add the peppers to a blender. To a large Dutch oven or sauce pan, add the oil and add the onion and tomato, brown slightly. Add to the blender along with the garlic, cumin, thyme, oregano, onion powder, ground cloves, vinegar, salt, beef stock. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
For the beef:
Season the beef lightly with salt and pepper. Brown in the pan that you cooked the onions in on all sides slightly. Strain the sauce into the pan along with the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Bring to simmer, cover and cook on low for 1- 2 hours until the meat shreds easily.
Slow cooker method: Prepare the sauce and brown the beef. Add the beef, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and sauce to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or 3 hours on high.
Oven method: Preheat oven to 350°F/176°C. Prepare the sauce and brown the beef. Add the beef, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and sauce to a casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for 3-4 hours until the meat shreds easily. When the meat is tender, skim as much fat from the sauce as you can put into a large bowl (this is for cooking the tacos). If you can’t get much fat, you can add vegetable oil. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Add the beef to a large dish and shred using 2 forks. Strain the sauce and add some to the shredded beef. Reserve the rest of the sauce for serving.
The beef can be prepared a day ahead to make the tacos the next day. Allow to cool in the casserole dish, cover and refrigerate.
Heat a cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Dip a corn tortilla in the fat and drain excess fat. Lay the taco in the hot pan and sprinkle evenly with shredded cheese and some shredded beef. When the cheese is melted, use a spatula to fold into a taco. Serve topped with chopped onion, cilantro and lime wedges.
6 Comments on “Quesabirria Beef Tacos”
So good! This was my first time making them and they were a hit. I’m already getting requests to make them again 🙂
I love to hear this, thank you.
I had these in phoenix many years ago and miss them and now that I’ve found this recipe, I’m going to make my own.
Great, I’m glad you found my recipe. Enjoy.
very very tasty and worth the long cooking (I made them on the stove top). My family has requested them for superbowl, guess I’ll be in the kitchen 🙂
Aww. You can make the meat the day before then just cook and assemble. Less time in the kitchen for you, more eating and football 🙂