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A big bowl of this Slow Cooker Birria de Res, or Mexican Beef stew, is the ultimate comfort food. Deep robust Mexican food flavors that will make your tastebuds very happy. Enjoy!
Birria de Res reminds me of my maternal grandfather. He was born in a humble town in Zacatecas, Mexico – no neon signs, taxis or 7-11s. Like most Mexicans outside of the city, he didn’t have much of an education, but that didn’t stop him. He collected every book or magazine he could get his hands on. Learning was my grandfather’s passion.
My grandfather was a violinist, an engineer, a writer, a man beyond his time. Eventually, he made his way to Durango, Mexico – where my family is from. Each time we visited my abuelito, we would eat Birria de Chivo, or Mexican Stew made with goat. Since goat is hard to find in the US, I’m making this dish with beef. This is the way we make it in Durango. Other states have their versions.
Sear the meat on all sides to lock in the flavors. Mmm… imagine the smell! It’s Mexcellent! 😀
These chiles give good flavor to the Birria de Res. I’m using chile guajillo and ancho chile.
It’s easy to devein and remove the seeds from the chiles. Start by cutting off the tops, or the stems.
Then cut them lengthwise. Do you see the seeds? You don’t want these in your sauce. Remove them. You won’t be able to get all of them. Just remove as many as you can. If you can remove any veins, remove them too.
Place your stems removed, deveined, and seeds removed chiles in a stock pot. You will need to use a pot that can handle all the chiles.
Reconstituting chiles means they have to soak in hot water. This does not take long. 5-10 minutes at the most.
To make the sauce for the Birria de Res you will need all these spices. ¼ cinnamon stick, thyme, oregano, cloves, laurel leaves (or bay leaves), salt, and pepper. It sounds like a lot, but each spice brings a lot of flavor to the dish.
Add the spices, the reconstituted chiles, liquid, bouillon, and garlic to the blend. Blend until smooth. Since we are not straining, make sure it is fully blended. You might need to blend a second time.
Some people will strain the sauce for the Birria de Res. My mom is not much of a strainer. Authentic Mexican food is rustic. I love that about our food. If you like a smoother sauce, then go for it. Strain away. I like my mom’s version, and that’s what I’m going with. Set this aside until ready to use.
Back to our beef… salt and pepper the side that’s up. Then turn and sear the uncooked side. You really want color on your beef. Don’t skip this step. It helps lock in some amazingly delicious flavors.
The slow cooker is your friend in the kitchen. You can go shopping, go horseback riding, watch two movies, and your food will not burn. Gotta love that! Add the beef to the slow cooker.
Now time to add the sauce. You want the sauce to cover the entire piece of beef. If it doesn’t for some strange reason, add more water and a little more salt.
Set it on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours. The meat will be tender and ready to eat. Birria de Res is typically served with raw diced onion, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and a dozen tortillas.
Birria de Res screams celebration – birthday parties, Christmas, baby showers. It’s probably because you can make a HUGE pot of this delicious stew, and it feeds large Mexican families. Big families. Big food. Lots of love (and tortillas).
Watch Video and learn how to make Birria de Res
Slow Cooker: Birria de Res, or Mexican Beef Stew + VIDEO
Birria de Res is a traditional Mexican stew, the perfect comfort food with rich, bold flavors that your tastebuds will enjoy.
- 4 lbs roast beef
- 3-4 cups water
- 5 dried chile guajillo
- 2 dried chile ancho
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 clove
- ¼ whole cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon beef bouillon
- 2 laurel leaves (or bay leaves)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Salt and pepper
Heat the griddle, or pan.
Toast the chiles on the griddle for 2-3 minutes.
Make sure they do not burn.
If they burn, discard the chiles and start again.
Once toasted, transfer to a heatproof bowl.
Add 1 cup hot water and let the chiles soak for 5 minutes, or until pliable.
Seed and devein the chiles, saving the water.
Don’t worry if some seeds remain.
Add the saved water, the chiles, garlic, oregano, thyme, clove, cinnamon, bouillon, laurel leaves (or bay leaves), salt and pepper in a blender.
Blend until smooth.
In a large pot, heat two tablespoons oil.
Add salt and pepper to the beef.
Sear the beef on all sides.
Once the meat is brown, transfer to the slow cooker.
Add the chile mixture from the blender.
Add enough water to cover the meat.
Set slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.
Serve with diced onions, chopped cilantro, and tortillas.
Searing the meat before adding to the slow cooker locks in flavor. Don't skip this step!
Cut of beef used was chuck roast.
Instant Pot Instructions:
- Make the sauce as instructed above.
- Add oil. Press Saute.
- Season the beef with salt and pepper. Sear the meat on all sides.
- Remove the meat and add the chile sauce and water.
- Return the meat to the pot.
- Cover with lid. Press Pressure Cook. 55 minutes.
- Release pressure. Serve and enjoy.
Stove Top Instructions:
- Make the sauce as instructed above.
- Keep the meat in the pot.
- Pour sauce over the meat.
- Cover with lid and cook for 2 hours.
- Until fork tender.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 208Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 1457mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 29g
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The only Birria recipe I need. I make this frequently and use it to make quesabirria tacos. My husband (and whole family) love this! I’ve been to a restaurant that’s main dish is Birria and it was underwhelming, this recipe has outdone that place by miles.
I love reading these types of comments. That’s awesome to hear! Provecho!
I love this recipe! I make it for my Guatemalan husband often! I follow directions exactly using a pressure cooker. It is done in less than an hour.
Your husband is a lucky man! Provechito.
Do you think it would be possible to prepare the sauce and brown the meat the night before, then put in the slow cooker in the morning?
Totally! I’m all about cooking ahead of time. You can even make the sauce days before. In the freezer, it lasts for months.
SYLVIA A LANSBERG
What cut of beef? Chuck, round, etc. I am anxious to try the recipe, it looks delicious!
Chuck roast works best because of the fat.
I’ve made this recipe 2 times now and each time it tastes better. Thank you Maggie for this wonderful recipe.
You’re welcome! So glad you liked it.
Love this birria recipe, very easy to follow instructions!
Great to hear! Glad you liked it. 🙂
Hola. Me gustaría saber porque haces la carne primero en la estufa??? Y después la pones en la slow cooker?
Hola. Esta receta es para el slow cooker. Si quiere hacerlo en la estufa, agregue la salsa y la tapa por 2 horas. Después de una hora, va necesitar ponerle 2 tazas de caldo.
Hey Maggie. Can I use Guajillo chille seasoning and substitute with beef broth?
I’ve never tried it with seasoning before. If you try it, let me know. I’m curious too.
Loved it !!! The stew was delicious idk if it was supposed to give me a menudo flavor but we all LOVED IT!
That’s great! Glad you enjoyed.
Wow!! My mom’s from Jalisco and LOVES birria. For my son’s birthday next Saturday I wanted to make something special so I decided to do a trial run for my family before the birthday celebration. My boys DEVOURED it. My husband who grew up on the border and is used to the yummiest Mexican food LOVED it. It’s not birria de chivo but it did not disappoint. I made it in the instant pot and I can’t wait to make this for my son’s bday next Saturday! Thank you for making birria so accessible. I’m going to try your caldo de Albondigas tomorrow:)
Yolanda, that is wonderful to hear! Impressing someone from Jalisco is a big accomplishment. 🙂 You’re going to love the albondigas. Provechito.
How long etc. did you cook it in your Instant Pot?
I wrote a separate blog post on how to do it in the instant pot. To be very honest with you, that’s how I make birria now. It’s a lot faster. I only make it in the slow cooker when I want to make a LARGER amount of birria. Here is the birria instant pot recipe https://inmamamaggieskitchen.com/instant-pot-birria-tacos/
This has been my go to recipe for the last 2 years! So easy to make, tasty, and definitely filling. I usually double the recipe so we can have leftovers for the next day. My husband and kids go crazy whenever I make this.
It makes my day, week, month, year each time I get messages like this. So glad you have loved this recipe for TWO years!!
Hello, a friend highly recommended your recipe and I can’t wait to make it. Would I change anything in the recipe to make this into birria tacos? Thanks.
No. I make birria tacos using this recipe all the time. Hope you enjoy!
Hi Maggie, I love you recipe, so much that I’m using it for my sons birthday. I was wondering how long would I cook it on the stove top if I’m making 15x the recipe?
If you go to the recipe card, there’s an arrow over the servings. Move that over to adjust to the servings you want. It will recalculate the ingredients for you too. Happy Birthday to your son!
This recipe is fantastic and easy. I have surprised quite a few Latin friends by being a gringo and showing up to parties with a pot of this deliciousness 😀
Thank you for sharing!
Glad you enjoyed this recipe.
Hello. Can I cook the barbacoa in a slow cooker? I saw the slow cooker birria recipe. I’m wondering if the cook time would be the same. Thank you 😊
Yes. Same as the slow cooker birria recipe.
4 hours on high.
6-8 hours on low.
Absolutely LOVE this recipe! I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve made it since discovering it last year, I have it memorised 😀
Also, I’d never had Birria before, I was looking for a Mexican beef recipe when I came across it. Tried Birria at a highly rated Mexican restaurant recently and it couldn’t hold a candle to this recipe. Thank you!
I love reading these types of comments. Glad you enjoy this recipe!
Think this would be okay with brisket? And what temp and how long in a Dutch oven. I have a 7lb brisket!
I’ve never tried it with brisket. If you do end up trying it out, can you come back and let us know what you did and how it turned out?
This recipe was a hit with our family. My husband is Hispanic and comes from a family of incredible cooks. I made this for tacos one day while everyone was over swimming and the all loved it! The last time I made it I added one small can of chipotle (chiles and the sauce). It was a bit too spicy for me (I have no tolerance) but my husband and kids say that I need to make it like that from now on! Thank you so much for this recipe!
Yay! Happy to hear you guys enjoyed this recipe!
Hola\, mi Espoo es de Texas y obsecionado con los platillos mexicanos, pero birria es us platillo favorito.
Voy a seguir las instrucciones paso por paso esperando quest esta receta Lego guste, he cocinado otras recetas y no le gustaron. Wish me luck por favor! 🤞🏼
Segurito le va encantar esta receta. Provecho!