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Taco Tuesday: Birria Tacos

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

If you didn't know, I'm obsessed with tacos. I eat them every Tuesday, I'll order them if they're on the menu, and I've tried a bunch (ok most) of the local taquerias. I've had ok tacos, great tacos, and tacos so good I almost cried. Birria tacos brought tears to my eyes the first time I had them, partly because they were literal mouth fire and also bc they were SO good.

Birria tacos are typically made with beef or lamb (I used chicken here), and it's a brothy kind of soup/ stew that you can eat as is, or dunk tortillas in the broth & grill to make the best Gdamn tacos of your life. There's not much to do in the way of shortcuts here, so know up front that they are a labor of love.

I've made them as simple as possible and they're mostly hands-off, so don't be intimidated by this recipe. You can do this. I've posted a series of videos that outlines ALL the steps inside my Booty by Bri Facebook group! Pop in and say hi or ask questions!


serves 4


1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless skinless

4 dried chili pods, I used guajillo and ancho, split, seeds and stems removed

4 cups vegetable or low sodium chicken broth

1 cinnamon stick

1 bayleaf

1/4 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp dried oregano

few grinds fresh black pepper

1/2 large onion roughly chopped

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp minced garlic or 2 cloves finely chopped

1 tsp vinegar (white or apple cider)

salt to taste

cooking spray or oil

8-12 fresh corn tortillas (small taco size)

1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded cheddar or jack cheese


  1. Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, add onion and cook 2-3 minutes until soft. Add garlic & spices. Cook 1-2 minutes more.

  2. Add chicken, broth, chili pods, tomato paste, cinnamon stick, & bay leaves.

  3. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour stirring occasionally.

  4. Remove chili pods and add to a blender with 1 cup of liquid from the pot.

  5. Blend on low until smooth, liquid will be hot, please vent to avoid blender explosion.

  6. When smooth, pour chili puree back into the broth (you may strain if you dont want bits of chili skin in your broth)

  7. Stir in vinegar and cook 10-15 mins more.

  8. OPTIONAL but recommended, remove meat from the pot and place on a cutting board. Let cool 10-15 mins and shred or finely chop. Then Pour liquid mixture through a sieve into another pot to strain the aromatics.


  1. heat a medium cast iron or non stick skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray or add oil dip corn tortillas into the clear broth then place in pan to heat.

  2. Sprinkle tortilla with 1-2 tbsp cheese, let cook 1 minute or until cheese starts to melt. Add enough chicken to cover half the tortilla and fold over into a taco, gently press down to seal.

  3. Cook 3-4 minutes, then flip cooking another 2-4 minutes until lightly browned on both sides, adding a bit of extra broth to the pan if it starts to dry out or stick.

  4. Repeat until you've assembled all tacos. Serve tacos with a bowl of broth for dipping.

Are you going to try this?! Be sure to tag me on IG if you do @brianaottinger



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