This Birria de res recipe is a delicious Mexican dish featuring slow-cooked beef in a savory and flavorful broth. It's seasoned with authentic dried chiles, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and more.
A slow-cooked, fall-apart dinner is a staple in our house, especially when the weather cools down. There's something about setting the heat on the stove or slow cooker and coming back to an entire meal. Even better when it's tender meat that falls apart with the touch of one fork.
That's in large part thanks to the beef chuck roast and its connective tissue that breaks down slowly. This cut of beef is what gives dishes like sweet potato beef stew and Instant Pot pot roast so much rich flavor.
Authentic Birria de Res Recipe
Today's Birria de res recipe uses my favorite cut of beef because it breaks down and becomes ultra tender.
This birria de res recipe is well-researched, spending time learning about the origins of Birria and how it fits into Mexican culture.
An authentic Birria includes dried chiles, including guajillo chiles and ancho chiles, as well as, Mexican cinnamon, cloves, garlic, onion, and vinegar.
What Is Birria de Res?
Birria de Res (Birria Beef) is a slow-cooked Mexican beef dish known for its tender shredded meat and rich and aromatic broth.
It originated in the Mexican state of Jalisco, particularly in the region around the city of Guadalajara. It's a traditional dish with deep roots in Mexican cuisine and is often associated with celebrations and special occasions.
While Birria de res is the beef version, there's also Birria de chivo, which is made with goat meat. Goat meat was the original protein for Birria recipes.
Many serve it as a beef stew with white onion, fresh cilantro, lime, and warm corn tortillas on the side. Or you can make the internet-famous quesabirria tacos with melted oaxaca cheese, and crispy tacos, and serve it with the rich and savory dipping sauce (consome).
Over time, birria has gained popularity and variations, with different regions and even individual families putting their own spin on the recipe. It became popular in the United States in 2020 when quesabirria tacos went viral on social media.
How to Make Birria de Res
Here are the step-by-step instructions, with images, for this Birria de res recipe. Skip down to the recipe card below for the full printable recipe.
Make the Sauce (Consome)
Prep and cut the peppers: Wash and dry the peppers. Use a pair of kitchen shears (scissors) to cut off the stems and slice down the sides to open them up. Scrape out the seeds with a knife.
Pro Tip: wash your hands well after working with peppers. The arbol chiles are very spicy and you don't want to accidentally touch your eyes.
Make the braising liquid: add the dried chiles to a large saucepan with the onion, roma tomatoes, bay leaves, garlic, cinnamon stick, and peppercorns. Cover them completely with hot water. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and boil for 10 minutes.
Sear the beef: Season each piece of the chuck roast generously on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sear each side of the beef for 2-3 minutes, until they form a crispy crust on the outside. Work in batches, placing the first batch on a plate or cutting board while you finish.
Blend the sauce: Transfer the peppers and the rest of the ingredients, including the cinnamon stick and bay leaf, to a large high-speed blender. Add ½ cup of the boiling liquid along with the cumin, ground cloves, and beef broth. Blend on high until completely smooth.
Cook the Beef
Braise the meat: Pour the sauce over the beef in the pot. Bring it to a boil over high heat then turn it down to low and braise (just below a simmer) for 3 ½ to 4 hours.
Note: see the recipe card below for braising in the oven orr making this in the slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Shred the beef: Carefully remove the beef from the braising liquid and transfer it to a rimmed baking sheet. Use two forks to shred the beef. Place the beef back into the broth and serve the stew with onion, a lime wedge, and warm tortillas. Alternately, leave the beef out of the broth and use it to make Birria ramen or Birria tacos.
If you love this Birria de res recipe, you'll love these crispy Instant Pot carnitas.
How to Make It in the Pressure Cooker
To make the Birria beef in the Instant Pot, follow the instructions to simmer the chiles and aromatics then blend the sauce until smooth.
Sear the beef in the Instant Pot in batches then pour the sauce over the beef. Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 55 minutes.
Natural release (do nothing) for 15 minutes then turn the valve to the venting position to release the remaining pressure. Follow the instructions to shred the beef and assemble the tacos.
- Use kitchen scissors to cut off the tops and cut them in half.
- Make sure to use Mexican cinnamon sticks because they're much softer and easy to blend.
- Sear the beef until you get a crispy crust for more flavor.
- Cook the beef on low heat, just below a boil, for best braising.
- Make the birria in advance or make a double batch and freeze.
Different Ways to Serve Birria Beef
- Birria Tacos: Fill corn tortillas with the tender beef, and you can dip the whole taco into the flavorful broth before taking a bite.
- Quesabirria: Dip tortillas in the braising liquid then fry them with the beef and cheese crispy and the cheese is melted. Don't forget extra consome (broth) for dipping.
- Tamales: You can use the birria beef as a filling for burritos or tamales, incorporating other ingredients like rice, beans, or vegetables.
- Nachos: Pile tortilla chips with birria beef, cheese, and your favorite nacho toppings. .
- Rice Bowls: Serve it over rice and top it with fresh cilantro, diced onions, avocado, Mexican pickled onions, and crumbled cheese.
- Enchiladas: Roll it in tortillas, cover them with enchilada sauce, and bake until bubbly. It's a great beef to use instead of Mexican shredded beef in these shredded beef enchiladas.
To store birria beef, refrigerate it in an airtight container with the broth for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, freeze portions in labeled airtight containers or bags for up to 3 months. Thaw frozen birria beef in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently to maintain its flavor and tenderness.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Mexican Recipes
Birria de Res Recipe
- 4 lb chuck roast cut into 3 to 4-inch chunks (Note 1)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 10 Guajillo chiles washed, stemmed, and seeded
- 5 ancho chiles washed, stemmed, and seeded (5 came in a pack)
- 1-2 arbol chiles washed, stemmed, and seeded (Note 2)
- 1 medium white onion roughly chopped
- 3 large Roma tomatoes whole
- 2 bay leaves
- 6-8 garlic cloves
- ½ Mexican cinnamon sticks Ceylon cinnamon (Note 3)
- 1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 3 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano (Note 4)
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 5-6 cups beef broth
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Large pot with a lid (Dutch Oven) (see notes for slow cooker and Instant Pot)
- Wash the peppers then dry them and use a pair of kitchen shears to cut off the stems and slice down the side. Open the peppers and scrape out the seeds.
- Add them to a medium saucepan with the onion, Roma tomatoes, bay leaves, garlic, cinnamon stick, and peppercorns. Cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Cover and continue to boil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
- While it’s boiling, sear the beef. Season each piece of the chuck roast generously on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear each side of the beef for 2-3 minutes, until they form a crispy crust on the outside. Work in batches, placing the first batch on a plate or cutting board while you finish. Working it batches helps sear the beef rather than steaming it if the pot is overcrowded.
- When all of the beef is seared, turn off the heat and place all the beef back in while you finish the sauce.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers and the rest of the ingredients, including the cinnamon stick and bay leaf, to a large high-speed blender. Add ½ cup of the boiling liquid along with the cumin, ground cloves, and 4 cups of beef broth. Save 1-2 cups of the remaining boiling liquid for braising as needed. Blend on high until completely smooth, 1-2 minutes.
- Strain the consume into the seared beef using a fine mesh sieve.
- Bring the Birria beef to a boil over high heat then turn the heat down to low, cover, and braise for 3 ½ - 4 hours. Check the beef once or twice toward the end of cooking. The beef should remain halfway covered with cooking liquid so add the reserved boiling liquid as needed.
- Remove the beef to a rimmed baking sheet or large plate and shred using two forks. Serve warm with cilantro, onion, and a squeeze of lime juice.