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Smoked Beef Birria Tacos

June 5, 2021

Have you heard of birria? This traditional Mexican dish is taking Texas by storm. Originally, this savory stew made with beef, chilies, herbs, and spices was slow-cooked on a stove until super tender. But in this recipe, we braise the meat in the smoker and shred it into smoked birria tacos. You’ll be surprised just how easy it is to put this meal together. 

Ingredients for Smoked Birria Tacos

The key to making the best smoked birria tacos is to start with the best beef. Here on the ranch, we always use Premium Quality Texas Beef. It’s grass-fed, grain-finished, and always hormone and steroid-free.

Everything else you need for this recipe should be easy to find in your local grocery store. The one wild card though might be the dried chilies. If this is a problem, they’re definitely available in Hispanic markets or can be ordered online. But whatever you do, don’t them out! Birria just isn’t birria without these peppers. And don’t worry, they won’t make things too spicy. Instead, they give just a little zing that’ll still be family-friendly.

Here’s everything you’ll need for the stew:

  • 2 lbs Premium Quality Texas Beef chuck roast
  • 2 lbs Premium Quality Texas Beef beef short ribs
  • 2 guajillo chilies de-stemmed and seeded
  • 2 ancho chilies de-stemmed and seeded
  • 1 6oz can of tomato paste
  • 6 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 8 cups beef stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you’ll need for the tacos:

  • 32 fresh corn tortillas
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges and your favorite salsa for serving

Steps to Make Smoked Birria Tacos

Once you’ve gathered all the ingredients, there are two stages for this recipe. First, you’ll braise the Premium Quality Texas Beef on your smoker. Then, when you’re ready to eat, you’ll make the tacos. 

The best part about this recipe is that you can cook the stew ahead of time and just heat small amounts up during the week.   

For the stew:

  1. Start by preheating your smoker to 250.
  1. Place the chilies into a small pot and barely cover them with water. Simmer for about ten minutes or until soft. Then, using a blender and some of the simmering liquid, blend the chilies into a smooth puree.
  1. Generously season the chuck roast and short ribs with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven on medium-high heat, brown them on all sides. 
  1. When the meat is almost browned, add in the chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Saute for five minutes or until the onions are almost transparent. 
  1. Pour in the broth, the chile puree, and the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, and bring to a simmer.
  1. Place the dutch oven UNCOVERED on your smoker. To be clear, you are closing the smoker but NOT covering the dutch oven with a lid. This allows all those smokey flavors to penetrate the stew. Cook for about four hours or until the rib bones can be easily removed from the meat. 
  1. When done, remove the chuck roast, short ribs, and veggies from the broth.
  1. Shred the meat with a fork and set it aside to keep warm. Discard the bones and veggies. 

At this point, you should have a nice thick smokey stew and a pile of melt in your mouth braised beef. If you’re meal prepping, portion everything out, and you’re done. If you’re ready to eat, gather all of the ingredients, and let’s make some tacos!

  1. Preheat a skillet, griddle, or comal to medium-high heat. 
  1. Quickly dip a tortilla into the hot stew to cover it with a thin sheen of liquid. Then place the damp tortilla on the hot skillet.
  1. Cover the tortilla with a layer of Monterrey Jack cheese and shredded beef.
  1. Cook for about one or two minutes or until the bottom of the tortilla is lightly browned and crispy.
  1. Using tongs or a spatula, fold the tortilla in half and press the taco down a little. Set aside to keep warm.
  1. Repeat, making as many tacos as you want to eat. 

Serve the tacos with chopped onions and cilantro, lime wedges, salsa, and bowls of the hot stew for dipping or sipping.

Tips for the Best Birria Tacos

  • Let’s take a closer look at the dried chilies smoked birria tacos. First on the list are guajillos. They have a nice, mild heat with a tangy, fruity flavor. Second, are anchos or dried poblano peppers. Finally, you’ve probably seen fresh, green poblanos in the store. Ancho chilies are made from red, ripened poblanos that have been dried. They have a sweet, chocolatey flavor.
  • Can’t find dried chilies in your grocery store and don’t have a Hispanic market nearby? That’s okay. Local spice store Pendery’s will ship everything you need.
  • You can make the stew ahead of time. When you’re ready to eat, warm it up in a small saucepan, and start making tacos!

Check us out! We offer grass-fed, grain-finished, sustainably raised bulk beef and Premium Quality custom beef boxes. Each one is chock-full of all your favorite cuts. We also have tons of Texas Beef Company merchandise. Show the world that you Eat Better Beef!

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