Umami Recipes
Umami Recipes

Avila Family Recipes

Birria Quesatacos

6 serving(s)


5 hours 15 minutes

total time


5 dried guajillo chiles

3 dried morita chiles

3 dried pasilla chiles

1 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil

2 lb. beef brisket or beef chuck roast

2 lb. oxtails, short ribs, or beef shank

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 garlic cloves

10 whole cloves

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

3 Roma tomatoes, halved

1/4 c. white wine vinegar

1 large onion, quartered

5 bay leaves

Corn tortillas

Shredded Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese

Freshly chopped cilantro for topping

1 large white onion, finely chopped for topping

Lime wedges for topping


Preheat oven to 350º F. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat add guajillo, morita and pasilla chiles. Toast the chiles for 1 to 2 minutes, moving frequently to ensure they don’t scorch. Remove to a medium bowl and cover with enough boiling water to cover the chiles, about 3 cups. Use a small plate or bowl to completely submerge the chiles. Let sit for 20 minutes or until rehydrated and pliable. Remove the chiles and reserve the liquid.

While the chiles soak, season beef with salt and pepper. Increase the heat in the dutch oven to medium high and add vegetable oil. Working in batches, sear the beef thoroughly (6 to 7 minutes per side for the brisket/roast, 4 to 5 minutes for the bone-in parts). Remove seared beef to a plate or cutting board.

In a blender add the dehydrated chiles, garlic, cloves, cinnamon stick, oregano, cumin seeds, tomatoes, vinegar and 1 ½ cups of the chile liquid. Blend for about a minute or until the mixture becomes a pourable paste.

Return the beef to the Dutch oven over medium heat and add the quartered onion and bay leaves. Add the chile paste and enough water to just cover the beef (for us this was 3 to 4 cups of water). Season with a heavy pinch of salt then bring the birria to a simmer.

Remove the Dutch oven from the heat, cover and move it to the preheated oven. Braise the birria for 4 to 4 ½ hours or until all of the beef is fork tender. Discard the bay leaves and onion and move the beef to a cutting board. Reserve all of the broth (or consomé). Shred the beef and set aside.

Taste the consomé and season with salt and pepper. Depending on your preference of the style of birria you want, you may want a thinner consomé. If you want to thin it out, add your desired amount of water, chicken or beef stock. Bring to a simmer and taste/season again.

Birria can be stored in the fridge, in airtight containers, meat and consomé separated, for up to 5 days.

6 serving(s)


5 hours 15 minutes

total time
Start Cooking