YIELDS: 4 Servings PREP TIME: 25 mins COOK TIME: 4 hrs  TOTAL TIME: 4 hrs 25 mins

Birria is a popular Mexican meat stew made with a variety of dried chili peppers and slow braised goat (traditionally, although we used beef in this recipe since it's easier to find). I highly recommend doubling or tripling the recipe if you want any leftovers!


2 lbs beef, lamb, or goat meat (traditional)
3 ancho chiles (dried poblano)
6 guajillo chiles (dried mirasol)
5 morita chiles (similar to a chipotle but smaller and spicier)
4 cascabel chiles (also known as the rattle chili - small and round with seeds that rattle inside)
2 large tomatoes, roasted
4 cloves garlic
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp whole black pepper
½ tsp marjoram
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp thyme
4 cloves
½ onion, sliced
1 piece of cinnamon stick, about 1" long
1 cup pulque or 1/2 cup of white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped cilantro, for serving
1 cup chopped onion, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Tortillas, for serving

Cutting board 
Large pot 
Small skillet 


  1. Season the meat with salt and pepper and put in a large, oven-safe container.
  2. Clean the chiles and remove veins and seeds (wear gloves to make it easier and safer). Lightly toast them over mild heat but don't burn them. They will be bitter if you burn them.
  3. Soak the toasted chiles in a cup of hot water for 20 minutes.
  4. Roast the garlic and onion on a bbq, flat top or skillet with no oil until lightly charred.
  5. Lightly toast the rest of the spices in a dry skillet.
  6. In a blender, add the chiles, spices, tomatoes, herbs, cinnamon and vinegar or pulque. Blend until smooth - adding a bit of water one spoonful at a time to help blend. Season with salt.
  7. Pour the sauce over the meat and make sure it is completely covered with the sauce, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Bake in the oven or outside smoker for 4 hours (longer if more than 2 lbs) at 350 degrees. Pepe cooked his in a clay oven for 6-7 hours. You could also use a rice cooker or instant pot.
  9. IMPORTANT: Add more water (up to 6 additional cups of water) 1 hour before done to be able to have enough liquid for a soup or for dipping tortillas. Some people like to dip their tortillas in the broth and even add cheese and make quesadillas with them.
  10. Add your toppings - cilantro, onion, and a squeeze of lime. Add to your fresh tortilla - we had fresh flour tortillas which were perfect.