Instant Pot Birria Tacos (Quesabirria)

Although they’ve been around forever, one of the top food trends of today are Birria tacos (also known as Quesabirria since it combines elements of a quesadilla with a taco). Traditionally made with goat and an all-day simmering event, we are going to use beef (one of three cuts) and do this in a fraction of the time with under 10 ingredients. The flavor will be just as spectacular. If you love my pozole rojo, you’ll love this!

Birria Tacos
Begin by getting some dried ancho (mild) or guajillo (mild-medium) chiles.
Begin by getting some dried ancho (mild) or guajillo (mild-medium) chiles.
Snip off the stems...
Snip off the stems…
...and empty the seeds into a bowl, discarding them. Set the chiles aside for now.
…and empty the seeds into a bowl, discarding them. Set the chiles aside for now.
Add chili powder, cumin and seasoned salt (or adobo seasoning) to a large plate and mix together.
Now to focus on the meat. Instead of the traditional goat, I’m giving you three more accessible options: chuck roast, brisket or short ribs. Here, I’m using chuck roast (see the recipe card below for the other meats). Normally, I’d cut the roast into 4 pieces for more tender cooking, but I skipped that step here because my dog, Banjo distracted me.

Add chili powder, cumin and seasoned salt (or adobo seasoning) to a large plate and mix together.
Coat the meat in the seasoning all over and set aside.
Coat the meat in the seasoning all over and set aside.
Add butter OR olive oil to the Instant Pot and heat it up until melted/hot.
Add butter OR olive oil to the Instant Pot and heat it up until melted/hot.
Add the meat and flash sear on all sides so the spices are branded into the meat.
Add the meat and flash sear on all sides so the spices are branded into the meat.
Remove to a plate and let it rest.
Remove to a plate and let it rest.
Back to the pot, add garlic...
Back to the pot, add garlic…
...and onion.
…and onion.
Sauté for a few minutes, stirring often to help deglaze the bottom of the pot as the browned bits come up (although it'll still be quite browned after sautéing).
Sauté for a few minutes, stirring often to help deglaze the bottom of the pot as the browned bits come up (although it’ll still be quite browned after sautéing).
Pour in some broth...
Pour in some broth…
...and now REALLY be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so ALL of the browned bits are up
…and now REALLY be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so ALL of the browned bits are up (a wooden spatula really helps here)! Make sure you do this – if it’s still too caked on, the pot will have issues coming to pressure.
Return the meat to the pot...
Return the meat to the pot…
...and top with the chiles and oregano. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
…and top with the chiles and oregano. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
...and top with the chiles and oregano. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
…and top with the chiles and oregano. Secure the lid and cook at high pressure.
Using a ladle, add some broth (which we'll now call consommé) to the chiles in the food processor...
Using a ladle, add some broth (which we’ll now call consommé) to the chiles in the food processor…
...and some to a large bowl.
…and some to a large bowl.
Purée until the you have a chili paste.
Purée until the you have a chili paste.
Shred the meat with two forks or a hand mixer. (If using short ribs, remove the bones first).
Shred the meat with two forks or a hand mixer. (If using short ribs, remove the bones first).
Now, take a fine-mesh strainer and place it over the bowl with the shredded meat...
Now, take a fine-mesh strainer and place it over the bowl with the shredded meat…
Pour the chili purée into the strainer (we do this so the skins stay behind). Use a mixing spoon or spatula to press and swirl around so the purée seeps through the strainer...
Pour the chili purée into the strainer (we do this so the skins stay behind). Use a mixing spoon or spatula to press and swirl around so the purée seeps through the strainer…
...and onto the meat! Mix the strained purée with the meat. Not only will it add rich flavor, but it will keep it moist.
…and onto the meat! Mix the strained purée with the meat. Not only will it add rich flavor, but it will keep it moist.
Now to make the tacos! Briefly soak corn tortillas in the large bowl of reserved consommé...
Now to make the tacos! Briefly soak corn tortillas in the large bowl of reserved consommé…
...and place them in a pre-heated large skillet over medium-high heat. Top with the meat and any other toppings you enjoy (such as diced red onion, cilantro and cheese).
…and place them in a pre-heated large skillet over medium-high heat. Top with the meat and any other toppings you enjoy (such as diced red onion, cilantro and cheese).
After a minute or two, use a spatula to check on the tortillas. Once they're getting crispy, flip into a taco-like position and cook on each side for about 30-60 seconds more.
After a minute or two, use a spatula to check on the tortillas. Once they’re getting crispy, flip into a taco-like position and cook on each side for about 30-60 seconds more.
Repeat the process until you make as many tacos as you wish because you're in for a real treat. The finishing touch is to provide a ramekin or small bowl of additional consommé for dipping!
Repeat the process until you make as many tacos as you wish because you’re in for a real treat. The finishing touch is to provide a ramekin or small bowl of additional consommé for dipping!
Man dipping taco
And here we go. You deserve this. Dip a taco in the Birria consommé…
Man eating taco
…catch any melty cheese on your tongue…
Man eating taco
And enjoy this moment of food nirvana! Easy, quick and remarkable!
Instant Pot Birria Tacos (Quesabirria)
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Birria Tacos

Instant Pot Birria Tacos

Although they've been around forever, one of the top food trends of today are Birria tacos (also known as Quesabirria since it combines elements of a quesadilla with a taco). Traditionally made with goat and an all-day simmering event, we are going to use beef (one of three cuts) and do this in a fraction of the time with under 10 ingredients. The flavor will be just as spectacular. If you love my pozole rojo, you'll love this!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Choose One Meat

  • 6-8 pounds bone-in short ribs
  • 5-6 pounds beef brisket (point cut preferably), cut into 4 large chunks
  • 1 (3-5) pound chuck roast, cut into 4 large chunks

The Rest

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt OR adobo (any flavor), plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch strips
  • 12 cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 4 ounces dried ancho or guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • Corn tortillas (taco-sized)

Optional Touches (see Jeff’s Tips):

  • Shredded cheese
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole
  • Finely diced red, yellow or white onion

Instructions

  1. On a large plate, mix together the chili powder, cumin and seasoned salt/adobo. Coat the meat in the seasoning.
  2. Add the butter or olive oil to the Instant Pot, hit Sauté and Adjust so it’s on the More or High setting. After 3 minutes of heating, flash-sear the meat for about 45 seconds on each side. Remove to a plate when done.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes, until slightly softened and the garlic is lightly browned.
  4. Add the broth and oregano and deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pot, getting up any browned bits. Return the meat to the pot and top with the chiles. Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, hit Cancel and then hit Manual or Pressure Cook on High Pressure for the following times, depending on which meat you chose:
    Short Ribs: 45 minutes with a 15-minute natural release followed by a quick release
    •Brisket: 65 minutes with a 20-minute natural release followed by a quick release
    •Chuck Roast: 60 minutes with a 15-minute natural release followed by a quick release
  5. When done, use tongs to transfer the chiles into a food processor or blender and place the meat and onions in a large bowl (a slotted spoon will help with this). (NOTE: if you used short ribs, remove the meat from the bones – they’ll slide right out). Shred the meat with two forks or a hand mixer.
  6. Ladle 1 cup of the consommé to a large bowl and set aside.
  7. Ladle 1 more cup of the consommé to the food processor and blend until puréed. Rest a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the chile purée into it, pressing down with a mixing spoon so all the chile skin is caught as the purée strains into the bowl. Taste the purée and add some more seasoned salt or adobo to taste, if desired. Discard the skins and pour the strained chile purée over the shredded meat. Mix to coat.
  8. Place a nonstick pan on the stove and turn to medium-high heat. Dip the corn tortillas into the bowl with the cup of reserved consommé (NOTE: You can dip about 2-4 at a time depending on how large your pan is). The more saturated the tortillas are in those juices, the better they’ll taste. Place in the pan and top with some of the shredded meat and any optional toppings such as cheese, diced onion and cilantro. Cook for about 1-2 minutes until the tortilla begins to feel slightly crispy. Using a spatula, fold the tortillas into into a classic crescent shape and cook for 30-60 seconds on each side until the tortilla is crisped and golden-brown (watch it so it doesn’t burn). You now have a taco!
  9. Serve with any optional toppings of your choice and dip in additional broth while enjoying.

Jeffrey's Tips

This recipe is designed specifically for corn tortillas. Flour tortillas won’t cook or crisp the same way as the corn will when soaked in the Birria consommé and pan-fried.

Although the crispy, greasy taco shells are what make these tacos so special, you can save time and skip Steps 6, 8 and 9 if you want to just use soft corn/flour tortillas or crunchy taco shells instead!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. LAURA

    Just made these last night. So good! My husband was a little doubtful that they would crisp up but he was wrong. They were perfect. In fact Jeffrey everything I made from your recipes turned out good.

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