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    Birria Tacos Recipe (Quesa Tacos)

    Published April 23, 2024. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This traditional Birria Tacos Recipe combines slow-braised lamb and beef with chilis and spices, then filled into crispy tacos for the ultimate Mexican dish. Once you try it, it will quickly become your favorite taco.

    We love to make and serve tacos in the most traditional way possible. If you love making the real deal, check out my Baja Fish Tacos or Chicken Tinga.  

    birria tacos with consome


     

    Birria Tacos

    Birria tacos come from birria consomé, a zesty shredded meat stew in Jalisco, Mexico. The meat is then cooked inside corn tortillas dipped in the stew liquid, seared in a hot pan with shredded Oaxaca cheese, and often garnished with diced yellow or white onions and chopped cilantro. 

    These flavorful tacos will have slight nuances in flavor depending on which Mexican restaurant or street cart you get them from, but rest assured—they are all delicious. This traditional breakfast or lunch taco is classically made with goat, but nowadays, it is most often made with beef or lamb meat. I used a combination of beef and lamb in my birra taco recipe.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    • Birria Consomé – You will need the cooked meat that is shredded or chopped from birria consomé, as well as the consomé for serving.
    • Tortillas — Corn tortillas are the traditional tortillas. However, you could use flour tortillas if available.
    • Cheese – I used shredded Oaxaca cheese. You could also use chihuahua, panel, queso fresco, or cotija cheese.
    • Onions – A yellow, white, sweet, or red onion can be used.
    • Cilantro – Fresh cilantro is traditionally used as a garnish.
    • Citrus – You can use lemon or limes.

    Is It the Same as Barbacoa?

    Barbacoa is a cooking method, and birria is the final product of that cooking method. Classically, barbacoa is the process where meat is marinated or not and cooked wrapped in banana leaves in a dug hole that has a fire in it. The meat would cook for several hours or until very tender.

    Birria is made by placing that meat cooked using that specific method, which is then served in a flavorful broth, which is where you get birria consomé from.  

    This can be a challenging cooking method, so nowadays, birria is often cooked in a pot on the stove.  However, if you do get a chance to make it the Barbacoa way, then I highly recommend it. 

    How to Make Birria Tacos

    Brown the seasoned meat in a large pot and set aside.

    sheet tray with pan roasted beef

    Next, caramelize onions in the pot for about 20 minutes and then stew with the garlic, tomatoes, chiles, and spices until the chiles are soft and tender.

    roasted tomatoes, peppers, and spices in a pot

    Blend the chile mixture until very smooth. Then, place it back in the pot along with water or beef stock, salt and pepper, and the meat, and cook for 2 hours over medium heat or until very tender.

    braising beef in a birria consome

    Remove the beef and roughly chop or shred using forks. 

    chopped birria beef

    Strain the remaining liquid and return it to the pot.

    straining birria consome through a chinois

    Lightly dip a corn tortilla in the liquid and place it in a hot cast-iron skillet. 

    corn tortilla dipped in birria consome and fried in a pan

    Immediately add on cheese, chopped meat, and optional onions and cilantro.

    beef, cheese, and cilantro in a corn tortilla

    Fold the taco cover in the pan and sear until it is shut.

    fried beef birria taco in a pan

    Serve the tacos with a bowl of meatless consomé liquid seasoned with freshly squeezed lemon juice, onions, and cilantro.

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: The tacos are meant to be eaten immediately, but you can make them up to 30 minutes ahead and keep them warm, covered in foil at the lowest temperature in the oven.

    How to Store: It is best to store the cooked meat separately from the tortilla shells. Store the meat covered for up to 6 days in liquid or consomé. This will freeze very well covered for up to 6 months in its liquid, or consomé. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating. 

    How to Reheat: Place the desired amount of meat in its liquid, or consomé, in a medium-size pot and heat over low heat until hot. 

    Chef Billy Parisi

    chef notes + tips

    • There should be enough fat on the top of the consomé when you dip the tortilla to brown it while cooking in the pan. If not, add a little oil or butter to the pan first.
    • You may need to use two corn tortilla shells so they don’t rip from the liquid.

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    Birria Tacos Recipe (Quesa Tacos)

    5 from 14 votes
    This Birria Tacos Recipe of slow-braised lamb and beef with chilis and spices is loaded up with crispy tacos for the ultimate Mexican dish.
    Servings: 10 tacos
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

    Ingredients 

    Instructions

    • Prepare the birria consomé but do not add the chopped meat back to the strained liquid in the pot.
    • Making 1 taco at a time, lightly dip two corn tortillas into the top part of the consomé liquid and place on top of each other in a cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
    • Immediately, evenly sprinkle some of the cheese on top of the corn tortilla, followed by evenly adding some of the chopped meat to the one-half side of the taco on top of the cheese.
    • At this point, you can also add diced onions and cilantro, but that part is optional.
    • Cook for a minute or two and then fold the taco over to help form it. Cook for about one more minute.
    • Repeat the process until all of the meat has been used.
    • Serve each taco with a small bowl of the consomé liquid that has been garnished with lemon juice, diced onions, and cilantro.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: The tacos are meant to be eaten right away, but you can make them up to 30 minutes ahead of time and keep them warm covered in foil at the lowest temperature in the oven.
    How to Store: It is best to store the beef separately from the corn tortilla shells. Store the beef covered for up to 6 days in its liquid or consomé. This will freeze very well covered for up to 6 months in its liquid, or consomé. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
    How to Reheat: Place the desired amount of beef in its liquid, or consomé, in a medium-size pot and heat over low heat until hot. You can also heat in the microwave until hot.
    There should be enough fat on the top of the consomé when you dip the tortilla in there to brown it while cooking in the pan. If not, add a little oil or butter to the pan first.
    You may need to use two corn tortilla shells so they don’t rip from the liquid.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 296kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 14gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 466mgPotassium: 153mgFiber: 4gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 160IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 73mgIron: 1mg
    Course: Main
    Cuisine: Mexican