Beef Birria

April 4, 2019


This is a wonderful, slow-cooked casserole which originates from the Mexican state of Jalisco, and particularly the state capital Guadalajara. In its homeland it is traditionally made with goat, but beef works just as well. It stars Guajillo and Ancho chilli, which gives a warm, fruity and slightly smoky flavour, backed up by the Mexican favourites Oregano and Cumin. The long marination process is essential, as is the slow cooking, but apart from the time taken it is a very easy recipe to prepare. It is perfect for a Saturday night family supper when served with warm corn tortillas and a selection of garnishes and salsas which should include chopped red onion and coriander, and some quartered limes to squeeze over the top. Any leftovers can be used for stuffing tacos or burritos during the following week.


1First rehydrate the chillies by placing in a bowl and soaking in very hot water for 15-20 minutes. Then in a blender combine the chillies (with the liquid left from the rehydration), the garlic and the spices and blend to a smooth paste.

2Coat the beef with the paste and marinate overnight. Next day, place the beef in a deep casserole along with the bay leaves, the beer and enough water to just cover the meat.

3Preheat the oven to 160 degrees before putting the covered casserole in, and leave to cook for 4/5 hours. The birria is ready when you can pull the meat apart with a fork.


750 g Beef Brisket

5 Guajillo chillies

3 Ancho chillies

6 cloves Garlic

2 tsp Cloves

3 tsp Mexican Oregano

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

4 Bay Leaves

1 bottle Mexican Beer (Sol or Corona are good, Modelo Negro is better)