Quesabirria (Birria Tacos)


15 Min


3 Hrs



Quesabirria is a cross between a taco and a quesadilla. Comprised of a corn tortilla with Oaxaca cheese melted with stewed beef, topped with a typical Mexican style onion relish. Traditionally the tortillas are dunked in the stew before they are toasted and turned into quesadillas that hold the beef for the taco which is then dunked in the stew or consomé again before each bite.


About ⅓ cup Mexican Spice Rub, or enough to liberty coat all or the beef (Mexican rub - 2 tbsp kosher salt, 2 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp black pepper, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tbsp ground chipotle powder, ½ tbsp paprika, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp guajillo powder, 1 tbsp thyme, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 ½ tbsp tajin)

2 pounds boneless rib roast

Olive oil/ avocado oil

2 dried arbol chilies, seeds removed

1 dried ancho chilli, seeds removed

3 dried guajillo chilies, seeds removed

6 limes

1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

2 white onions, 1 chopped, one diced. 

8 garlic cloves

3, 500ml bottles of Mexican coke, or the equivalent of chicken/ beef stock

White corn tortillas, 2 per taco

Oaxaca cheese 

½ cup chopped cilantro



Step 1

Add the beef chunk to a large bowl and coat with olive oil and the juice of three limes. Liberally season with the rub, about ⅓ of a cup or more, making sure it is coated evenly.

Step 2

In a large dutch oven or equivalent pot, set heat to medium-high. Lay in the seasoned beef and sear it on all sides.

Step 3

White meat is searing. Add in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil the guajillo, arbol, and ancho chilis, jalapeño, and the chopped onion.

Step 4

Top pot with the Mexican Coke. (To gather up all the residual seasoning and juice from when the beef was seasoned from the bowl instead of wasting it.)

Step 5

Place the lid on the pot, adjust the head to medium low and braise for about 2 hours or until it is tender enough to shred.

Step 6

Remove the beef from the braising liquid and shred it in a separate bowl.

Step 7

Add the jalapeños and onions to the shredded beef also along with a cup of the liquid to keep the beef juicy and moist. Save the rest of the liquid! Put it in a blender or stick blend it so it is smooth.

Step 8

Make the relish by adding the diced onion to a bowl with the juice of three limes and about ½ a cup of chopped cilantro.

Step 9

To make the tacos use corn tortillas and dunk them in the brazing liquid before toasting them.

Step 10

You'll need 2 tortillas per taco. Toast the first side and flip them over, on the inside of one add shredded oaxaca cheese and lay the other tortilla on top.

Step 11

Add the shredded beef to one side and top with some of the relish, fold over the tortilla and once the tortilla is colored up and crisp and the cheese is done melting remove it and repeat for all the tacos.

Step 12

It is customary to serve the Quesabirria with a small soup bowl of the braising liquid or consomé, and to dip the taco in the consomé as you eat and to finish by drinking the stew up.


Typically the beef is braised with water or stock, chicken or beef, to form the stew; in this case I used Mexican coke for a little added sweetness that I adored in the end. It came out surprisingly rounded and flavorful. Mexican coca-cola is made with real sugar and does not have high fructose corn syrup in it, yielding a sweeter, more flavorful brazing liquid. You can usually find it at a local Latin or Mexican market. I would never recommend replacing it with regular American coke or another soda as I feel it would throw off the overall flavors. If you can't get the Mexican coke, or the idea of playing out the sweetness of it isn't your cup of tea, just use water for the braise or try a nice chicken/ beef broth.

The dried chilis are important, especially the gaujillo chilis which are part of the flavor foundation for this recipe. Make sure to remove the seeds and stems from them before toasting and cooking. Super easy, just crack the dried pepper in half and shake the seeds out.