Come for the savory stewed beef, stay for the amazing beef-and-queso tacos on day two.


This Beef Birria is based on two things; an amazing stewed beef recipe from the Mexican restaurant I worked in during college, as well as the equally incredible goat birrias I’ve been enjoying in San Francisco’s Mission District for many years. It’s one of my favorite stews of all time, and I don’t need any ulterior motives to make a batch. But having said that, this stew was really just the first step toward a follow-up video, in which I used the leftover meat to make some of the greatest tacos I’ve ever had.

There’s no way to prove that Beef Birria Queso Tacos are the best tacos, but at the moment, they’re certainly the trendiest. As in so trendy, I couldn’t wait the usual three years before filming them, which is my normal M.O. when it comes to these edible viral sensations.

a shallow white bowl filled with a reddish-brown stew of beef chuck and short ribs, garnished with diced onion and cilantro
Beef Birria Queso Tacos
Left: Chef John's Beef Birria | Credit: Chef John
Right: Beef Birria Queso Tacos | Credit: Chef John

Anyway, back to the stew, which could not be simpler. And that’s because we’re doing a sort of shortcut method, which doesn’t involve making a proper bone broth first, using marrow bones, oxtails, and/or shanks. If you have time, feel free, and then proceed with the recipe as shown, but this was plenty rich, and beefy, thanks to a combo of short ribs, and chuck.

As I mentioned, this is traditionally made with goat, and that is my favorite way to enjoy it. Or you can use lamb, which has a very similar flavor. But even made with the easier to find and milder beef, this really was fantastic. Since this is a stew, go ahead and toss in whatever stew-friendly vegetables you want, although the best birrias I’ve had were pretty much just meat and sauce.

I say “sauce” because I like to reduce the cooking liquids to get something a little thicker in viscosity, but the classic birria is much more brothy, and soup-like. That’s an easy adjustment for you to make. But either way, you’re going to want to whip up a batch soon. Just don’t forget to not eat it all! Save some for the tacos...

Get the recipe for Chef John's Beef Birria.

If you've managed the impossible — made a batch of beef birria without devouring it all —you're ready to make the world’s trendiest tacos. And, unlike a few other viral edibles I can think of (I’m looking at you, cake pops), this one deserves all the attention, and more. This recipe is the best answer to the rhetorical question, “how can beef and cheese tacos get any better?”

And that would be by pan-frying them in chili-infused beef fat, and then dunking them into a super-savory soup made from the sauce. If you’ve always thought French dip sandwiches were a good idea, then you’re going to think this is genius. By the way, if you make a traditional birria, which as I mentioned in the previous video is much more brothy than my stew-like version, then you don’t have to bother prepping the consomé part, since that’s what you already have.

Although, if you didn’t add veggies to your original stewing liquid, I suggest you do, as I think it makes the whole experience more special, which is saying something. One last piece of advice I’ll pass along is do not overstuff your taco. Just like when we make pizza, or sandwiches, if we’re too generous, there’s a point of diminishing returns.

Yes, we want lots of beef and cheese, and just the right amount of onion and cilantro, but we also want to be able to dip it into the consomé, and have it absorb a decent amount, rather than our bowl of broth absorbing beef and cheese as they tumble out of our tortilla. Either way, I recommend you give these amazing tacos a try soon, and hedge your bets with a spoon. Enjoy!

Get the recipe for Chef John's Beef Birria Queso Tacos with Consomé.

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