Pressure Cooker Braised Beef Birria

Beef Birria is a popular dish that can be served as a soup or in a taco. Guajillo chilies are not hot and you can add your own level of heat to your serving with serrano chilies or hot pepper sauce. To make tacos, the tortilla is dipped into the broth, filled with meat, and fried on both sides to crisp it slightly. You can skim the fat from the birria and use it for frying. The taco is then dipped in the broth as you eat it.
Yield 8 Servings Prep. Time 20 min Cooking Time 75 min Total Time 95 min


Here are the following ingredients:

  • 6 dried guajillo chili peppers (or ancho or pasilla peppers)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) boiling water
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) whole black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
  • 2 cups (500 mL) finely diced onions
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 lb (1.5 kg) Beef Boneless Hind Shank (Bubble Meat)
  • 1½ cups (375 mL) coarsely chopped ripe tomatoes (or one 14-oz/398 mL can diced tomatoes)
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar (approx)
  • 2 cups (500 mL) beef broth, warmed
  • To serve (as desired) Chopped cilantro, sliced serrano chilies or hot pepper sauce, lime wedges, sliced red onions, radishes, avocados, shredded cabbage, tortillas

Shopping List

Here are the following shopping items to buy:


Follow these cooking methods/directions:

  1. Snip off the stem end of each chili pepper with scissors and split each chili open lengthwise. Open up and scrape out seeds and membranes. Heat a heavy medium-size skillet over medium heat. To toast the chilies, place one or two in the pan skin side down and press it with a metal spatula until it softens and blisters. Flip the chili over and toast the inside being careful not to burn it. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and continue with the remaining chilies. Pour boiling water over chilies; set aside.

  2. To the same skillet, add cloves, cumin seeds and peppercorns and toast over low heat, shaking pan constantly, for about 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Transfer to a plate to cool. Grind the toasted spices finely in a mortar using a pestle or in a spice grinder. Set aside.

  3. Heat olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic, stirring frequently, for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the onions become translucent and turn lightly brown. Transfer to electric pressure cooker.

  4. Slice the meat in half lengthwise and cut each piece crosswise into 2-inch (5 cm) lengths. Add to pressure cooker; stir in tomatoes, oregano, cinnamon, bay leaves, vinegar, reserved ground toasted spices and 1 tsp (5 mL) salt.

  5. Drain the chilies and place in a blender with the beef stock; purée until smooth. Pour through a sieve directly over beef mixture, pressing down on the solids; discard solids. Seal the electric pressure cooker lid and make sure the vent is closed. Set the pressure to HIGH and time for 1 hour. When the timer beeps, let the pressure reduce naturally. Remove the lid and taste; adjust the seasoning to your taste with salt and vinegar. (The consistency should be in between a soup and a stew.)

  6. Serve in bowls as a stew or shred the meat and serve as tacos. Garnish with cilantro, serrano chilies or hot pepper sauce, lime wedges, onions, radishes, avocados, cabbage and tortillas as desired.