Birria Taco Seasoning
Opening with a burst of fragrant sweetness from tomato and cinnamon, our Birria Taco Seasoning is a cornucopia of complex flavor. The chocolate essence of ancho chiles comes in next, with the berry fruit and smoke from chipotles and heat from de arbol chiles. Built on a foundation of garlic and onions, this seasoning blend hits all the right notes. It gets gentle citrus from coriander, a hint of caramel from brown sugar, flaky bites of smoky salt, and the woodsy pepper of allspice. Oregano’s good-natured bitterness and the energetic zing of celery seed provide a high-note finish for this seasoning blend. We blend our Birria Taco Seasoning in small batches in our facility, to provide our customers with the freshest and most flavorful blend possible.
A traditional dish that originated in the Mexican state of Jalisco, birria is traditionally made with goat and served as a stew, in a bowl with tortillas on the side. But in Tijuana, taco truck chefs took matters into their own hands. They opted for beef, slow-cooked and finely shredded, and put it in tortillas dipped in the juices from the beef. They put in a scandalous amount of cheese and fried the stuffed taco on both sides, creating a savory taco-quesadilla browned into crispness. Rich beef broth from the stewed beef is served on the side. Dipping the tacos in the broth makes on heck of a mess, but that’s why napkins were invented, and it’s so, so worth it.
Tips From Our Kitchen
Our Birria Taco Seasoning would be excellent on any slow-cooked meat; try it on brisket, ribs, or chuck roast, or use to season a whole leg of lamb. Add to braising liquid for beef or pork and then shred the meat for luxuriously rich Quesabirria Tacos. Rub onto a butterflied flank steak and roll around a stuffing of roasted chiles and pepper jack cheese; bind with butcher’s twine and grill. Stir into homemade Mexican rice. Add to onions that have been sweated for a savory tortilla soup. Blend into black bean cakes, sprinkle over corn and zucchini to roast. Work this into your chili seasoning rotation. Whisk with lime juice and oil to make a dressing for Tex-Mex pasta salad. Mix into cream cheese and make stuffing for jalapeño poppers.
Our Birria Taco Seasoning is made from ancho, chipotle morita, Mexican oregano, de arbol, garlic, onion, mesquite salt, brown sugar, tomato, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, and celery seed.
The quesabirria taco is an ooey, gooey hybrid of a taco and a quesadilla. Originating in Jalisco, one of Mexico’s western states, this rich taco made with slow-cooked meat tossed in a fragrant seasoning blend was originally made with goat. When it moved up the west coast to California, chefs increasingly chose beef as the primary meat in quesabirria. We used pork butt in our version, a tough and muscle-y cut of meat with an abundance of marbling that is perfect for long, slow braising. This recipe makes a lot of meat, but it’s easy to portion and freeze. If you prefer beef to pork you can easily use that instead, and it would also be wonderful with leg of lamb.
If you want to go for full-on authenticity in your flavor, buy some soup bones—or get a bone-in cut of meat and de-bone it—to get your broth started. Roast the bones at 450° F for about a half an hour, and add them to the braising pot right before it goes in the oven. This will make the broth even richer, and add to the fat you’re going to use to dip the tortillas in. The end product will still be rich without the bones, so this step is entirely optional. The bones just take the flavor to 11.
When you cook meats in low heat for a long period of time, the fat marbling the meat melts through the muscle fibers, making them juicy and tender, and tough connective tissues gelatinize, allowing the meat to pull apart easily. This is the target texture for braised meat—juicy, tender, shreddable, and in this instance, perfect for stuffing into tacos. We gave the meat a bit of a tender boost by marinating it with acidic lime juice, but this marinade is ultimately all about adding flavor, and not tenderization.
You don’t need a lot of oil to brown the pork in. Since you’re cooking on medium-low heat some of the fat will start to cook into the pan and contribute to the overall amount of oil in use. Remember that food needs room to cook properly; crowded food will steam instead of brown. To make sure you have enough space in your pan, brown the pork in batches. If you want to move this process along more quickly, brown the meat in two pans. And keep the heat low, so you don’t scorch the seasonings.
Put meat and soup bones, if you’re using them, into the Dutch oven. Pour beef broth and marinade into the pot, and put the whole thing in the oven. Some of you may be thinking, “I thought we weren’t supposed to use marinade after it’s been used.” In many instances you would be right. If the marinade wasn’t going to be cooked long enough to kill any errant microbes living in the liquid, it should be thrown away. But this marinade is going to cook for three hours and reach food-safe temperatures, so it’s fine to recycle it into the braising liquid.
One of the techniques to work on when making this dish involves getting the oil from the braising liquid onto the tortillas. The shortcut version, which we make use of here, simply involves dragging the tortilla across the oil floating on the braising liquid. You don’t want the tortilla to sink so it starts dragging through the braising liquid, because that could waterlog the tortilla, you just want to skim across the layer of oil. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, skim the oil off and put it into a separate bowl, then dip it or use a brush to paint the oil onto the tortilla.
Once your tortillas have been crisped, and stuffed, and crisped again, add some fresher flavors. The taco itself, browned in seasoned fat and filled with a luxurious, meaty braise and melted cheese, is very rich. Add snappy flavors for contrast; we like cilantro and pickled onions, but a wide variety of toppings will work here. Try avocados paired with cabbage tossed in lime juice, or some fresh cucumbers with pickled jalapeño slices. Keep the toppings simple; the objective is contrasting brightness that cuts through the dense flavor of the meat. We suggest having something pickled as one of your toppings, because the acid is an immediate and playful contrast to the fat. Yes, you’ll have to pull apart the gooey cheese to stuff the taco, but watching the cheese stretch just adds to the fun. Drain the remaining oil off the braising liquid and serve the braise in small bowls with the tacos for dipping. Then get a pile of napkins, roll up your sleeves, and dig in.
-Birria Taco Seasoning 2.1oz
Ingredients: Ancho, chipotle, morita, Mexican oregano, de arbol, garlic, onion, mesquite salt, brown sugar, tomato, coriander, cinnamon, allspice, celery seed.