We can’t get enough of tacos — they’re full of flavor and crunch and are just so fun to eat. And there’s a new taco trend that’s becoming one of our favorite ways to enjoy them: birria tacos. They’re filled with shredded meat and cheese, then crisped up in a pan and served with a flavorful broth called consome for dipping. The combination of spicy, savory and tangy flavors with the crunchy yet soft texture make them incredibly delicious. Plus, you can take a hands-off approach to cooking as the meat braises for hours — and then assemble the tacos just in time for dinner. Here’s how to make birria tacos with consome and the simple step that goes a long way for your tastiest tacos yet!
What are birria tacos?
Birria tacos begin with chunks of meat, such as beef or lamb, that are slow-simmered in a flavorful broth until tender. The cooked meat is removed from the pot and shredded, while the broth (or consome) is saved. Then, meat and cheese are piled onto a tortilla and pan-fried similar to a quesadilla. Once crispy, the half moon-shaped tacos are garnished with chopped onions and cilantro and served with the consome for dipping.
Consome vs. consommé
Consome is the standout element of this dish thanks to its deeply spiced and pungent flavors from dried chiles, garlic, cumin and other seasonings. The long braising time also gives the broth a rich reddish hue, and it slightly softens the crunchy tacos during dipping. It’s worth noting that “consome” is the Spanish spelling of “consommé” —they’re both types of meat broth that have the liquid layer of fat removed. Skimming off the fat prevents the consome from becoming greasy. But don’t discard it! Chef Jenny Martinez says repurposing that fatty layer is the trick to creating super-delicious birria tacos. Keep reading to see how.
Chef’s #1 secret for making birria tacos
Martinez uses the skimmed consome fat to give the tacos a tasty and crunchy exterior. “Use this fat (‘oil’) to fry your tortillas,” she says. “This will give it that iconic red birria color and will add extra flavor to your tacos!”
To do, place the fat in a wide bowl and dip both sides of the tortilla in the liquid. It’s best to do this just before you’re ready to place the tortilla in the pan and fill with the ingredients. Otherwise, the tortillas will become soggy and won’t be able to hold in the fillings.
How to make birria tacos with consome
To make these mouthwatering tacos with the warm savory broth, try either of these two delicious methods — whether you’re looking for a simple recipe or more authentic batch of birria!
Easy Birria Tacos
This recipe comes from Amna Muqeem, co-founder and editor-in-chief at Specially Fried, who uses a combination of dried guajillo and ancho chiles to infuse the dish with a smoky and fruity flavor as it’s braising. If you don’t have these dried chiles on hand, swap in about 3 tsp. of chili powder for ancho chiles and 1 Tbs. chili flakes for guajillo chilies. (Feel free to adjust these amounts based on your desired level of spice and smokiness.)
Birria and consome:
- 3 lbs. bone-in beef chuck roast, cut into smaller chunks
- 1 Tbs. dried oregano + 1 tsp.
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 5 dried guajillo chilies, seeds removed (Buy from Amazon, $6.92) or 1 Tbs. chili flakes
- 3 dried ancho chilies, seeds removed (Buy from Amazon, $6.95) or 3 tsp. chili powder
- 1 medium sized onion, roughly chopped
- 6 whole cloves garlic
- 4 cups low-sodium or regular beef broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Corn tortillas
- Shredded cheese like Oaxaca or low-moisture mozzarella
- ½ bunch cilantro, minced
- 1 small white onion, finely diced
- Lime wedges for garnishing
- Total time: appoximately hr., 5 mins + braising time
- Yield: 6 to 8 servings
- Combine beef chunks, dried chilies, onion, garlic, 1 Tbs. oregano, 1 tsp. cumin, cloves, salt, pepper and beef broth in large pot.
- Bring mixture to boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer around 2 to 3 hours. Check meat periodically to ensure it becomes fork tender. When tender, remove beef chunks from pot and shred them in large bowl. (Note: For slow-cooker birria, cook meat and ingredients on high 4 to 5 hours or low 8 to 9 hours.)
- Skim fat from remaining braising liquid in pot. Keep fat in separate bowl for dipping tortillas. Strain or blend braising liquid until smooth and pour back into pot. For consome, season braising liquid left in pot with remaining 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. oregano, salt and pepper. Let mixture simmer about 30 minutes.
- To cook each taco, dip tortilla in saved fat and place in nonskillet heated over medium heat. Pile small handful of shredded meat and cheese on one half of tortilla and fold in half so it resembles a quesadilla. Press down and fry bottom until golden brown, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook 1 additional minute before transferring crispy taco to plate. Repeat with more tortillas until meat and cheese are all used.
- Garnish tacos with chopped cilantro, diced onions and lime wedges. Serve with consome.
Authentic Birria Tacos
In the video below, Martinez demonstrates the process of making traditional-style birria tacos and consome — well worth the effort if you have the time. You cook the meat and broth in a slow cooker for several hours or in a large pot like Martinez’s Mesa Mia Pot from her signature cookware line (Buy at JCPenney, from $5.24).
How to reheat birria tacos and consome
To savor those rich and spiced tacos the next day, arrange the tacos on a wire rack placed over a foil-lined baking sheet. (This allows heat to fully circulate around the tacos so they crips up nicely on both sides.) Bake at 350°F for around 12 to 15 minutes, or until tacos are heated all the way through. As tacos are baking, gently simmer consome in a small saucepan over medium heat and remove from heat once warmed. Enjoy reheated tacos and consome with more diced onions and cilantro.
For more tasty additions to your weeknight dinner roster, click through to the recipes below:
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