This slow cooker birria de res recipe, also known as beef birria, is rich in savory flavor and requires minimal hands-on time. This traditional Mexican stew has warmed hearts and bellies for generations. Packed with flavor, this Beef Birria can be enjoyed as a stew topped with salsa macha, cilantro, and diced onions. Alternatively, you can get creative and use it in tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, sliders, and more. The possibilities are truly endless with this delicious, versatile, and easy-to-make Mexican beef stew.
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Why Love This Recipe
- It’s so flavorful: Every savory bite is a delightful mix of spices, tender beef and rich broth.
- Versatility: From quesabirria tacos to birria ramen, there are so many ways to enjoy this dish.
- Slow Cooker Magic: Because who doesn’t love the “set it and forget it” approach?
- Cultural Significance: Originating from Mexico, birria carries with it a rich cultural and culinary history, often evoking memories of family gatherings and traditional celebrations.
Brief History of Beef Birria and Its Origins
Originating from the Mexican state of Jalisco, birria traditionally used goat meat. The meat in birria is marinated in a rich blend of chilies and spices, then slow-cooked until tender. The resulting broth, or “consomé,” is flavorful and often sipped on its own or used as a dipping sauce. This dish is often reserved for special occasions, but with this recipe, any day can be a birria day!
Over time, as the dish migrated to the United States and other regions, beef became a popular choice, especially chuck roast and short ribs. In recent years, birria tacos have gained immense popularity. These tacos are filled with the tender meat from the birria stew and served with a side of the consomé for dipping.
With the global spread of birria, chefs and home cooks alike have started experimenting with the dish, introducing new flavors and techniques. This has led to a variety of modern adaptations that pay homage to the traditional recipe while adding a contemporary twist.
What’s the difference between birria and barbacoa?
Birria is typically made with goat meat or beef that’s submerged in a rich sauce prepared with a blend of spices, including chili peppers, cumin, and oregano. The meat is marinated, seasoned, and slow-cooked until tender, often served as a stew or in tacos.
On the other hand, Barbacoa is traditionally wrapped in leaves and slow-cooked over an open flame or in a pit. This method infuses the meat with a distinct smoky essence, making it a favorite for tacos or as a main dish accompanied by a savory broth.
Why the Slow Cooker Method is a Game-Changer for This Dish
Using a slow cooker (or crock pot for some) ensures that the beef is super tender and infused with all the flavors. Plus, the slow cooking time allows for the broth and spices to meld beautifully. You can also slow cook your beef in a dutch oven. See instructions for making birria in the oven towards the end of the post.
Chuck Roast: A beautifully marbled cut of beef that’s perfect for slow cooking. When cooked over time, it becomes incredibly tender, absorbing all the flavors of the spices and chilies, making it the star of the dish.
Avocado Oil: A heart-healthy oil with a high smoke point, making it ideal for searing.
Dried Guajillo Chiles: These chilies offer a mild heat with sweet undertones.
Dried Ancho Chiles: Another staple in Mexican cuisine, ancho chilies provide a mild, smoky sweetness. They’re dried poblano peppers.
Garlic Cloves: A universal flavor enhancer, garlic adds a pungent kick that complements the chilies and spices.
White Onion: You can also use red onion or sweet onion.
Strained Tomatoes: Adds a tangy richness, helping to thicken the broth and intensify its color.
Dried Oregano: If you can find it, use Mexican oregano.
Ground Cumin: Offers a warm, nutty flavor.
Ground Cinnamon: A touch of sweet warmth.
Ground Cloves: These pack a punch with their strong, pungent flavor. A little goes a long way.
Bay Leaves: Aromatic leaves that infuse the broth with a subtle, herbal fragrance. You won’t know they’re there, but you’ll know they’re missing.
Beef Broth or Water: The liquid base of the consommé.
Beef Bouillon Paste: A concentrated flavor bomb that adds additional umami.
Red Wine Vinegar: Its acidity balances out the richness.
Salt and Pepper: Essential seasonings that enhance and balance the dish.
Garnishes: Diced onion, fresh cilantro (or parsley), lime wedges and salsa macha.
How to Make Birria de Res
Prepare the Chiles: Remove stems and seeds from chiles. Soak them in hot water for 10-15 minutes until softened. Reserve one cup of the soaking water.
Make the Paste: In a blender, add soaked chiles, garlic, onion, strained tomatoes, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, clove, red wine vinegar, beef bouillon base, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and the reserved chile soaking water. Blend until smooth.
Strain the Paste, Optional: Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the chile paste into a bowl to remove any remaining seeds or skins. If you use a high powered blender, such as a Vitamix, straining may not be necessary.
Brown the Meat: Cut the beef into large chunks. In a large skillet, heat avocado oil and brown the chuck roast chunks for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Slow Cook the Birria: Transfer the seared beef to the slow cooker. Add the chile paste and beef broth (or water). Stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, until the meat is tender.
Shred the Meat: Remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks or a meat shredder. Return the shredded beef to the slow cooker and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
Adjust Seasoning: Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve: Serve the Birria consomé hot, garnished with diced onion, chopped cilantro (or parsley in my case), a drizzle of salsa macha and lime wedges on the side. Serve with tortillas or rice for a complete meal. Enjoy!
- Chuck Roast: You can use short ribs, brisket, beef shank or even beef stew meat.
- Dried Chile Peppers: You can replace with 1/4 cup of chili powder if you can’t find whole dried chiles.
- Beef Broth: Chicken or vegetable broth works too.
- Avocado Oil: Olive oil is a great alternative.
- Strained Tomatoes: Feel free to use fresh tomatoes or any other canned tomatoes.
- Red Wine Vinegar: You can also use white distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Dutch Oven Method
After searing the beef, add the remaining ingredients to the Dutch oven. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover and place in 275°F pre-heated oven. Let it cook for 3-4 hours or until the beef is tender. Every hour or so, give the birria a gentle stir to prevent the bottom from burning. Once the beef is tender, you can proceed with the shredding of the meat.
Tips and Tricks
- Searing: For a richer flavor, do not skip searing the beef before slow cooking.
- Strain the sauce: Strain the sauce so it’s smooth. I used a high-powered blender so there was no need to strain.
- Skim the Fat: After cooking, there might be a layer of fat on top of the broth. While this adds flavor, you can skim off excess fat if you prefer a lighter broth.
- Taste and Adjust: Before serving, taste the broth and adjust the seasoning if needed. A squeeze of lime or a pinch of salt can balance and enhance the flavors.
- Leftovers: Birria de res tastes even better the next day! The flavors meld and intensify, making leftovers a treat. You can also use the meat for tacos, quesadillas, or sliders.
- Consomé: Don’t discard the broth! It’s packed with flavor and can be sipped on its own or used as a dipping sauce for tacos.
Storage and Reheating Recommendations
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. For reheating, simmer on low heat on the stove top so the meat remains tender.
Serve alongside refried beans, rice or even a fresh salad. And for drink pairings? A cold beer or tangy margarita complements this dish beautifully.
A dish steeped in tradition, made modern and easy with this crockpot birria recipe Whether you’re making a big batch for a gathering or just spicing up your weekday meals, this beef birria recipe is sure to be a hit. Don’t forget to share your creations on social media. Until next time, happy cooking!
Slow Cooker Beef Birria – Mexican Birria de Res Stew
- 3 pounds chuck roast, cut into large chunks
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 4 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 8 garlic cloves
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3/4 cup strained tomatoes
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 cups beef broth or water
- 2 tbsp beef bouillon
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- onion, diced, for garnish
- fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped, for garnish
- salsa macha, for garnish
- lime wedges, for serving
- Prepare the Chiles: Remove stems and seeds from chiles. Soak them in hot water for 10-15 minutes until softened. Reserve one cup of the soaking water.
- Make the Paste: In a blender, add soaked chiles, garlic, onion, strained tomatoes, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, clove, red wine vinegar, beef bouillon base, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and the reserved chile soaking water. Blend until smooth.
- Strain the Paste, Optional: Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain the chile paste into a bowl to remove any remaining seeds or skins. If you use a high powered blender, such as a Vitamix, straining may not be necessary.
- Brown the Meat: In a large skillet, heat avocado oil and brown the chuck roast chunks for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Slow Cook the Birria: Transfer the browned meat to the slow cooker. Add the chile paste and beef broth (or water). Stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, until the meat is tender.
- Shred the Meat: Remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks or a meat shredder. Return to the slow cooker and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.
- Adjust Seasoning: Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Serve: Serve the Birria consomé hot, garnished with diced onion, chopped cilantro (or parsley in my case), a drizzle of salsa macha and lime wedges on the side.