Beef Short Rib Birria Tacos with Dried Pepper Sauce

You’re probably used to Chef Ali saying a recipe is quick and easy. Well, this one isn’t. But it’s fun for the whole family to pitch in to chop onions, clean peppers, grate cheese, or check to make sure the sauce is delicious, and it certainly is! We use our favorite cooking tools, including the pressure cooker (or Instapot), and cast iron skillet (or Blackstone) and the result is one of the tastiest meals you can imagine, that you can even eat by hand!

Be sure to check out the videos at the bottom of the post.



  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 carrot, sliced in half
  • 4 dried guajillo peppers, stems removed, seeds discarded
  • 4 ancho chiles, stems removed, seeds discarded
  • 2 chiles de √°rbol (optional for extra spiciness), stems removed, seeds discarded
  • Olive oil or preferred cooking oil
  • 3 lbs beef short ribs
  • 2-3 lbs beef chuck
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or as a paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger or ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon chicken or beef bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (Mexican oregano if available)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Water
  • Corn tortillas
  • Grated cheese (such as cheddar or Monterey Jack)
  • Diced onions, for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish


  • In a pressure cooker, Instapot, slow cooker, or large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the beef short ribs and beef chuck until golden brown. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add minced garlic, ginger paste, onion halves, carrot, tomato paste, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, chicken or beef bouillon, dried oregano, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, salt, and pepper. Saut√© until fragrant.
  • Return the browned meat to the pan. Add enough water to cover everything. Pressure cook for 10 minutes or simmer for 30 minutes until the dried peppers are softened.
  • Remove the softened peppers, onion, and carrot. Discard the carrot and blend the peppers and onion with enough broth to create a smooth sauce. Return the sauce to the pot and pressure cook for another 30-40 minutes, or simmer for 2-4 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
  • Shred the meat and set it aside.
  • For the tacos, heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Dip each corn tortilla into the reserved broth for flavor. Place on the heated griddle and top with the shredded meat and grated cheese.
  • Fold the tortilla over and press down with a spatula. Cook until crisp and golden on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Optionally, you can spoon more reserved broth onto the tortilla while it cooks for extra flavor and coloring.
  • Remove from heat and allow the tacos to cool briefly before serving, as they will be very hot.
  • Serve the tacos with diced onions, chopped cilantro, and the reserved broth for dipping.