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Birria Tacos

Traditionally these birria tacos are done with a fatty beef or pork cut.   Well, what’s the point of redoing something that has already been done?   Here comes Oxtail, the lobster of any red meat hands down.  Forewarning, this comes at a cost.  It ain’t cheep.  So save this for an important occasion.  Now, if you use 100% oxtail, though tasty, might be a little gelatinous and I highly recommend mixing other cuts of beef but having oxtail as the primary source 60-40.  Otherwise why bother right, just use beef?  Other beef mix would be short rib, neck bones or chuck.

Chefs Tip:

First rinse the Oxtail meat well under running water. Then in a bowl place the oxtail covering it with cold water and a good gush of vinegar. Cover and place in fridge before use. 4 hours is probably enough but I let mine sit for 12 hours. When finished give the meat a really good rinse under cold water. Doing this rids blood or other impurities.

 You may not have all the chilies available to you, this is okay get creative.  Use a jar of Chipotle in the sauce and mix chili flakes to your liking.  You can never go wrong with Sriracha as well.


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Oxtail Birria Tacos

Best taco method
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beef, oxtail
Servings: 20 Tacos
Author: Brad Budge
Cost: $40



  • 20 6" Corn Tortillas


  • 2 lbs Oxtail
  • 1 lbs Short Rib, Neck, Chuck and Beef Bones. You need lots of fat.

Birria Marinade

  • 2 lbs Tomatoes
  • 1 White or Sweet Onion Roughly Chopped Large Chunks
  • 1/4 Cups Garlic Cloves Minced or Finely Chopped
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Paste
  • 5 Cloves Yes you heard me right.
  • 5 Dry Ancho Chili
  • 5 Dry Guajillo Chilli
  • 5 Dry Arbol Chili
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1/2 Inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 tbsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 Cups Balsamic or White Vinegar
  • 2 Liters Water or Chicken Stock


  • 1.5 Cups White Onion Finely Chopped
  • Cilantro Chopped
  • 2 Cups Shredded Oaxacan or Mozzarella Cheese
  • Creole Dipping Sauce Optional
  • Lime Wedge


Clean and Toast Chilies

  • There is a chance the chilies have dirt. So give them a good wash and chop the stem off. Depending on your tolerance for spice this is your chance to remove the seeds if you like. Pat Dry before next step.
  • In a medium-high heat pan add 1 tsp of oil, before adding the chilies. Toast for a min or two then remove from the heat. You are toasting not cooking. Do not burn. Set aside when done. When I did this I used bacon fat instead of oil. mmmmmmm

Birria Marinade

  • In a large cold pan add a tablespoons of oil, then as it starts to warm up add in your onions and toss often. Don't add onions to a hot pan, you're not frying them just cooking them long enough to add to color.
  • Add your chopped tomatoes and cook on medium-high for about 5 min until softened.
  • Add Chilies, Garlic and Ginger.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and give a good stir. And cook for a good 5-7 minutes under a medium-high heat.
  • Once everything is soft enough to blitz toss everything into a blender to make a smooth sauce.

Sous Vide - Optional

  • If you want instead of using a pot for braising. You can put it in a Sous Vide water bath @185F for 24 hours.


  • You could first brown the meat to add flavor if you wish, not to fully cook just brown. Or you can skip this step, but browning is best.
  • Add meat to a large pot. Mix all the marinade in then add your water. I personally add just enough water to cover all the meat. As you cook you add more water so it doesn't reduce too much keep the meet covered.
  • On a medium simmer cook for about three hours till it's fully fork tender. Don't boil the bejesus out of till the meat is pulverized.

After the cook

  • Chop up all the meat finely, like you would expect to see on a small taco. Put in a bowl and cover and put in the fridge, preferably over night.
  • Strain all the sauce into a bowl and put in the fridge.

Getting it ready

  • Scrape-off the fat from the Consommé and set aside. DO NOT THROUGH THIS OUT!
  • If the Consommé is too gelatinous then warm up till it's fully melted then remove from the heat.
  • On a medium heat bring preferably a cast iron to temp before cooking. I have an induction and have it set to 4.5 just a tad below half. Anything higher it burns too fast. You just want enough heat to crisp the tortilla. Flip often. Like every 10=15 seconds.
  • Take tortilla and lightly brush both sides then put into the pan. Slight cook then flip over before adding your filling.
  • Add some meat, cheese, onion and cilantro to your liking then fold in half. Brush lightly some consommé on each side. This helps from burning plus it gives it a crazy awesome color.
  • You're going to flip this a couple of times till you get a crispiness you desire. It's okay to flatten it out a little more with a spatula. This take about 60-90 seconds to compete. It doesn't take long.
  • Don't drown it with sauce and make it soggy, you want a crust. Practice till you master it.
  • Once cooked you can lightly drizzle more Consommé inside or on top. A little more cilantro. And my favorite a little drizzle of Creole dipping sauce on top. Great color and tastes great.

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