Birria Tacos

A plate of five birria tacos covered in red sauce and oozing white cheese.

Howdy folks, and thank you for stopping by the website! We had such great feedback from our authentic tacos al pastor and scratch-made cheese enchiladas that we knew we needed to deep dive into other rich sauces and recipes made with dried chilies, one of the ingredients every chuck wagon cook kept up their sleeve to add flavor to the hearty meals needed to fill up a bunch of hungry cowboys at the end of a long day.

Birria Tacos

Traditionally, birria tacos – what I’ve always called “red tacos,” are made with whatever type of meat you have. It may have been lamb, or goat, maybe even a fowl from time to time. I’m a beef guy, though, so I’m using two types of beef in these tacos: short rib and chuck roast. In each case, we’re going to dice them up and cook them on a Dutch oven.

Tip: Slice the short ribs and chuck roast into chunks of the same size. This will equalize cooking time.

How to Season the Meat in Birria Tacos

Start with coarse kosher salt, Kent Rollins’ Mesquite Seasoning, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Don’t be stingy, now. Rub all over the meat and let sit for about 45 minutes or so to help the seasoning bond and penetrate to the beef.

How to Make the Red Sauce in Birria Tacos

While the seasoning is sitting on the meat, get a big pot of water boiling. Add the Roma tomatoes, guajillo, cascabel, and ancho chilies, chile d’arbol, and a big quartered white onion. While the sauce boils, start to brown the meat in a hot Dutch oven or cast iron skillet.

Tip: Brown the beef in batches so not to overcrowd the Dutch oven.

Once the chilies, onions, and tomatoes are boiled, place them in a blender. Add the cinnamon, cloves, and coriander. Crumble whole oregano and blend again. If you need to thin the sauce out just a little bit, add some beef broth and apple cider vinegar.

Tip: Always turn off the blender before taking off the lid.

Pour the red sauce over the meat and simmer until tender.

Tip: Shake some beef broth into the blender to get all of the chilies off the sides of the blender and pour into the pot of beef. Cooking time will take about three hours. 

Cook the beef over hot coals for about three hours or bake in the oven at 375 for 2-3 hours. Stir frequently to make sure that there is enough liquid, adding beef broth as needed.

Once the beef is fork tender, remove the beef from the sauce. Dip your corn tortilla into the sauce on both sides and place in a hot skillet until the tortilla starts to puff up just a bit. Then add shredded beef, oaxaca and mozzarella cheeses, fold over, and crisp both sides.

A red taco filled with beef and oaxaca cheese, being dipped in birria red sauce.


We usually just add one or two pictures of the food but these birria tacos are so delicious and so good that we just have to include another picture.

Birria taco in a hot cast iron skillet with oaxaca and mozzarella cheeses

As always, Shannon and I thank you for watching our videos and sharing our food with your loved ones. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook. Thank you and we will see you every Wednesday at 2:30!


A red taco filled with beef and oaxaca cheese, being dipped in birria red sauce.

Birria Tacos - Cowboy Kent Rollins

Prep Time 55 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 20 tacos


  • 2 lbs. boneless chuck roast
  • 2 lbs. beef short ribs
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Kent’s Mesquite Seasoning
  • 8 dried ancho chilis seeded and stemmed
  • 8 guajillo chilis seeded and stemmed
  • 4 cascabel chilis seeded and stemmed
  • 3 chilis de arbol seeded and stemmed
  • 1 large white onion cut into halves
  • 8 garlic cloves peeled
  • 5 roma tomatoes
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons whole oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups beef broth divided
  • 3 - 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 20 corn tortillas
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Oaxaca cheese


  • Cut the short rib meat off the bone and cut into large chunks and place on a large sheet pan. Cut the chuck roast and add to the sheet pan. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine the salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika and Mesquite seasoning. Generously season the meat with the seasoning mixture. Set aside for about 30 minutes.
  • In a stock pot, add the chilis, onion, garlic cloves, tomatoes and bay leaves. Cover with water and bring to a hard simmer over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, or until the peppers are tender.
  • Meanwhile, in a large cast iron skillet, heat tablespoon of oil over medium- high heat. Sear the meat in small batches, adding 1 tablespoon of oil each time, about 5 minutes per batch. Remove the meat from the skillet and place in a Dutch oven.
  • Return to the boiling chilies and strain the contents from the water and add to a blender.
  • To the blender, add the oregano, cumin, coriander, cloves, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar and 1 cup beef broth. Blend until smooth. Note: you may have to blend in batches, if it won’t all fit in your blender at one time.
  • Stir the contents of the blender into the beef and stir in the remaining 2 cups of beef broth. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, at a low boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Cover the dish and place in a preheated oven to 350 degrees F. for about 2 ½ to 3 hours, or until the meat shreds easily.
  • Remove the meat from the sauce, shred and set in a warm place.
  • Take a tortilla and dip in the red broth, to coat. Place in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until it warms through. Flip and add about 2 heaping tablespoons of meat to one side of the tortilla, followed by 1 to 2 tablespoons each of the Oaxaca and mozzarella cheeses. Fold the tortilla over and mash slightly with the spatula. Continue cooking until the cheeses have melted and taco has warmed through. Place in a warm oven and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  • Let cool slightly and serve with the leftover red sauce for dipping
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!