Easy Quesabirria Recipe

Braise beef until tender in a rich chile broth, then crisp in a corn tortilla with cheese and dip in a savory and bright consommé.
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Makes: about 24 tacos
Prep time: 30 minutes 
Total time: 4 hours


for the birria:
4 ½ ounces|125 grams guajillo chilies (about 16), stemmed
7 morita chilies, stemmed
2 ancho chilies, stemmed
1 plum tomato
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons Dominican oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 bay leaf
¼ white onion, peeled 
¼ cup|60 grams kosher salt
5 tablespoons|75 ml white vinegar
5 pounds|2.26 kilograms beef round knuckle, cap removed
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 ⅔ cups|395 ml vegetable oil


for the tacos and serving:
1 pound|454 grams shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 (27.5-ounce|780-gram) package corn tortillas
1 bunch cilantro, minced
1 large white onion, finely chopped
lime wedges, for serving
salsas of your choice, for serving


  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the chilies with 8 cups|1892 ml water until fully submerged. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let sit until the chilies are soft, about 10 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. 
  2. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the tomato and cook 2 minutes, then strain. Transfer the tomato and the chilies to a blender with 4 cups|1 liter of the reserved soaking liquid, the garlic, oregano, cumin, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaf, onion, salt, and vinegar and blend until smooth. 
  3. Meanwhile, rinse the beef and pat dry. Cut into 2-inch pieces and season all over with salt and pepper.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high. Add the chili paste and cook, stirring constantly, until bright red, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the beef and 4 cups|1 liter water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the beef is very tender, about 3 hours. 
  5. Skim the bright red oil from the top of the birria and set aside. 
  6. Take out all of the meat from the consommé and finely chop it (you should have around 7 cups|1275 grams of meat). Add about 1 ½ cups|250 grams of meat back to the consommé and keep the consommé warm. Add a bit of the broth to the remaining meat to keep it moist. 
  7. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium. Dip a tortilla into the oil, coating it in red. Place it in the skillet and cook until pliable, 1 to 2 minutes. Top half with a couple tablespoons cheese and about ¼ cup|60 grams of the chopped meat. Fold the tortilla over onto itself and cook, flipping once, until golden and crispy on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, meat, and cheese.
  8. To serve, ladle some of the birria consommé into a small cup or bowl and sprinkle with some of the cilantro and onion. Add some cilantro and onion inside the taco and squeeze in some lime juice. Heck, drizzle in some salsa, too, if you’re feeling frisky. Dip in the consommé and then shove it in your mouth.

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