Skip to page content

Quesabirria Tacos

Birria is a traditional Mexican stewed beef made with a rich adobo sauce. Quesabirria tacos, which have become popular in the United States, take this succulent beef stew and turn it into a taco with melted cheese and onions. Spicy and flavorful, we craft these tacos by making an authentic braised and spiced beef with chilis, and then using Red Butte Hatch Chile cheese to give the tacos and extra kick and creamy, cheesy essence. Topped off with bright Manouri, these tacos are the ultimate eat for any season.

  • prep time


  • assembly time


  • Serves


preparation & ingredients

2 lb. bone-in short rib

2 lb. bone-in beef shank

4 dried guajillo chiles

4 dried ancho chilis

1 can chipotle chiles in adobo

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil or lard

2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes

4 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped/smashed

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. marjoram

2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

2-3 quarts chicken stock

2 whole cloves

4 bay leaves

1 whole Mexican cinnamon stick

1 lb. Beehive Red Butte Hatch Chile Cheese

½ lb. Manouri

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup warm water

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. white sugar

1 large bunch fresh cilantro, cleaned

1 small white onion, diced

5-7 radishes, sliced thin

3-4 limes, cut into wedges

Clean the guajillo and ancho chilis to remove seeds and stems. In a large cast iron skillet, toast the chiles for 30 seconds or so until fragrant. Bring a pot of water to a gentle simmer and toss in the chiles. Turn off the heat and allow the chiles to rehydrate for 15-20 minutes.
Add the vegetable oil/lard to a medium skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté until they sweat and begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two more. Add the diced tomatoes and lower the heat to medium low.
Add the rehydrated chilis, along with their water to a blender. Add the onion, tomato garlic mixture and the canned chipotle chiles. Add the thyme, marjoram, oregano, cumin and ginger. Blend until smooth.
Place the beef shank and short ribs into a deep casserole dish or heavy duty freezer bag. Pour the chili mixture over top, ensuring it coats every nook and cranny of the beef, massaging it into the beef as you go. Allow the beef to marinate for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
Add the beef along with its marinade to a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Add the chicken stock until the beef is covered by at least an inch of liquid. Toss in the bay leaves and cinnamon stick and heat over medium high until the mixture begins to gently boil. Reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pot, allowing some steam to escape. Braise the stew for 3 hours or until the short ribs and shank are falling off the bone and shred with ease.
Remove the beef from the stew and set aside. Strain the stew and discard any solid debris, reserving the liquid in a plastic container. Cool the liquid as to allow the fat to separate and collect on top.
Make the pickled red onions by dissolving the sugar and salt in warm water, along with the apple cider vinegar. Toss in the slivered red onion and set aside. Shred the Red Butte Hatch Chile cheese and set aside in a small bowl.
Once the fat has solidified on the top of the strained stew, collect it and place in a small saucepan or skillet. Heat over low until the chili-stained fat melts completely, then turn off the heat. Shred the reserved beef, placing it in a small bowl next to the stovetop alongside the shredded Hatch Chile cheese.
Add the strained consomé to a large Dutch oven or saucepan and reheat over medium low.
Heat a cast iron or other high-heat nonstick pan over medium high. Dredge a tortilla through the melted fat and immediately lay it on the cast iron skillet, followed by a sprinkling of the shredded hatch chili cheese and about a tablespoon of shredded beef. Fold the tortilla over itself to form a taco.
Griddle until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the tortilla is browned in places. Flip the tortilla, griddling the facing side for a minute more before removing from the heat and placing on a foil-lined pan in a 200 F oven to warm while you compose the rest of the tacos. Continue building the tacos until all tortillas are used.
Set up your serving buffet by composing all of the toppings--crumble the Manouri in a small bowl, roughly chop the cilantro, including tender stems and place quartered limes, slivered radish, diced white onion, pickled red onions and sour cream in individual bowls.
Top each taco with a handful of cilantro, a sprinkling of crumbled Manouri, a few thin coins of radish and a scattering of pickled red onion. Ladle the warm consomé into small bowls and top with more cilantro and diced raw white onion. Allow guests to add more toppings as desired. Serve the quesabirria tacos alongside the consomé for dipping.

Which wine goes with which rind?

Learn More

More recipes