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Birria de Res

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Enjoy delicious birria de res as a stew or wrap it into a taco

Birria de res is an amazing Mexican stew that takes me back to my childhood. Friday night was always taco night in my neighbourhood, when everyone would get together for, you guessed it… tacos. We’d all bring a different taco filling to one house and dig in. Birria de res was eaten both as a stew but more often as a taco.

Birria de res

Delicious as a stew. Even better as birria tacos!


What is birria de res?

Birria is a classic stew from the state of Jalisco in central Mexico. It was traditionally made with lamb or goat meat but nowadays is usually made with beef which is much easier to come by.

Beef stewing cuts such as chuck, short ribs or beef cheek are marinated in a delicious marinade of dried chillis, onions, garlic, spices and herbs and then slowly cooked until tender.

Traditionally, the meat would be wrapped in a banana leaf and then buried in a fire pit to cook. These days, modern stoves and ovens can do the same job and with a lot less fuss.

How is birria de res served?

This stew version, the original, is served as a stew but tortillas are always nearby. You can slurp up the amazing broth and then dip your tortilla into it and/or scoop out some meat and eat it as a taco. Modern day birria tacos are much more than that though as you will see here.

Step by step photos of making birria de res…

Birria de res

Get all of your ingredients together before starting. It’s a lot easier that way.


Removing seeds from dried chillies

Cut the stems off the dried chillies and remove the seeds and membranes.


Dry frying dried chillies

Toast the chillies for a few minutes over medium heat until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.


Soaking dried chillies

Now soak the roasted dried chillies in boiling hot water for about 15 to 20 minutes to soften.


Roasting tomatoes, onions and garlic

While the chillies are soaking, roast the garlic, tomatoes and onion until lightly charred on the exterior.


Ingredients for blended birria de res sauce

Now it’s time to get blending the sauce.


Blending birria de res sauce

Blend all those prepared ingredients until smooth.


Browning meat

Brown all of the meat. You will probably need to do this in batches so that you don’t overcrowd your pan.

Simmering the meat…

These are all, obviously photos of the birria de res being cooked on the hob/stove.

You can also cook the meat in an electric pressure cooker or slow cooker and I have provided instructions in the recipe card below.

Meat ready for cooking in a pot

Once all the meat has been seared, add it all to the pot.


Adding sauce and water to cover the meat in the pot

Add the blended sauce and then cover with just enough water so that all of the meat is submerged.


Birria de res

Simmer for about 5 hours or until the meat is so tender it falls apart.

Birria de res

You are going to love this.

How do you eat a stew as a taco?

Those were the days before birria tacos became the popular taco option they are today. We would simply take the meat from the stew and put it in a corn tortilla. Then we’d top it with cheese, lettuce and salsa and dig in.

Birria tacos are awesome and you definitely need to make them if you haven’t already.

Making the birria tacos…

Simply dip your tortillas in the beef stew and fry in a little oil.

Frying birria tacos

Fry on both sides and top up with a little of the sauce if you like.

Birria taco with meat and cheese

Top with some of the shredded meat and some cheese.

Birria tacos

Serve hot with your toppings of choice.

Birria tacos

Food really doesn’t get any better!

If you like this spicy stew, you might like to try making these curry house style curries too…

15 Curry House Style Curries from Scratch

Yield: 8

Birria de Res

birria de res

Below are instructions on how to cook up a delicious birria de res on the stove, in a pressure cooker and also in a slow cooker. If you have an electric pressure cooker, you can cook birria de res in about an hour.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 25 minutes


  • 2 kg (4 lbs) beef cheek or chuck cut into large 10cm (4 inch) pieces
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 6 dried guajillo peppers
  • 6 dried ancho chillies
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, cut into about 8 pieces
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) cinnamon stick
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 70ml (1/4 lb) cider vinegar
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil or light olive oil
  • Water, beef or chicken stock as needed
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Season the meat with the salt and set aside.
  2. Remove the stems from the dried chillies tear them down the centre. Remove the seeds. Then place the dried chillies in your saucepan over a medium heat and toast the, turning regularly for about 3 minutes or until fragrant.
  3. Be very careful not to burn them or it will make the stew bitter.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and cover with boiling water for about 15 minutes or longer if more convenient.
  5. Returning to the saucepan, toss in the chopped onion, garlic cloves and tomatoes and roast over a medium high heat to char slightly on the exterior and fragrant. This should take about 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a blender to cool some. Add the cinnamon stick, ground cumin, marjoram, oregano, vinegar, stock cube and the soaked chillies to the blender.
  7. Taste the water that the chillies were soaking in. If it is bitter, discard it and add 125ml fresh water to the blender. If it’s not bitter use that instead of fresh water.
  8. Blend until really smooth. You can add more of the soaking water or fresh water if needed to help blend. Set aside.
  9. Cooking on the hob: Pour the oil into the saucepan over medium high heat and fry the meat until lightly charred on the exterior. This will take about 10 minutes. You don’t want to overcrowd your pan so do this in batches if necessary.
  10. Cooking on the stove: Pour the blended sauce over the top and add enough water or stock to cover.
  11. Bring to a rolling simmer and then reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer lightly for about 4 to 5 hours or until the meat is really tender and shreds easily. You can always add more stock or water if necessary.
  12. Cooking in an electric pressure cooker: All of the frying above can be done in an electric pressure cooker set to sauté.
  13. Then cover the meat with the sauce and add enough water or stock to cover. Close the lid and pressure cook for about 50 minutes.
  14. When the pressure cooking is done, allow the pressure to naturally release for about 20 minutes and then turn the valve to release any remaining pressure.
  15. Cooking in a slow cooker: Follow the saucepan instructions above and then place it all in your slow cooker. Set is to low and slow cook for about 8 hours.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 598mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 10g

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