From NYC to Arizona: My Beef Birria Love Affair
Six years ago, I traded the dazzling lights of New York City for the serene desert landscapes of Arizona. It was a transition of epic proportions, offering a different pace of life and, most notably, a brand new menu of flavors to explore. Amidst the cacti and sunsets, I discovered a dish that would forever remain close to my heart – Beef Birria.
Before my move, my palate was as familiar with Mexican cuisine as it was with the back alleys of the Upper East Side – not very. But Arizona, with its vibrant blend of cultures, had me exploring an array of Mexican dishes, each more delectable than the last. Yet, it wasn’t until I tasted Beef Birria that I felt I had truly arrived in my new home.
Being a mom of a special needs child and juggling multiple jobs, every moment in my day is precious. The instant pot, therefore, is a godsend, a modern marvel in my daily hustle. Who knew that this handy appliance could deliver a dish so flavorful.
Beef Birria is not just food; it’s an experience. The meat, tender and infused with a mix of spices, that usually simmers and soaks, absorbing every ounce of flavor. Using the instant pot still allows you to smell the aroma while it’s quickly cooking.
Cooking Beef Birria in an instant pot has brought convenience to my kitchen without a compromise on taste. It’s almost magical how quickly and perfectly the spices meld, the beef tenderizes, and the flavors mature, all within this compact wonder. As a busy mom, this ease of preparation has allowed me to introduce my family to a world of flavors without spending hours in the kitchen.
Here are 2 ways we enjoyed our Instant Pot Beef Birria:
The blend of chilies, spices, and tender beef isn’t just a treat for the tastebuds but a reminder of the journey I’ve made from the skyscrapers of New York to the expansive Arizona skies.
Beef Birria Ramen
Beef Birria Tacos
Instant Pot Beef Birria
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 6 lbs boneless chuck roast cut in chunks, most fat removed
- 1 large yellow onion peeled and quartered
- 1 head of garlic peeled
- 4 dried guajillo chile peppers deseeded and stems removed
- 4 ancho chile peppers deseeded and stems removed
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 7 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo
- 1 28 oz can pureed tomatoes
- 4 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups beef broth
- Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and once it says 'HOT', add your oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the meat chunks, making sure not to crowd the pot, sear on all sides until browned. Repeat until every piece of meat is browned. Set meat aside on a plate for later.
- While the beef browns, remove stems and deseed the dried chilies. Shake the seeds out of the chile pods. Remember, the more seeds you leave in, the spicier it will be.
- In a skillet, dry toast the chiles, black peppercorns and cinnamon stick over medium heat. Gently shake the skillet to ensure the spices are evenly toasted. This is a couple of minutes and you will begin to smell and aroma coming from the spices.
- Set the Instant Pot on Sauté mode. When it’s hot, add the toasted the spices, onion, garlic cloves, and oregano.
- Pour enough cold water in to cover everything. Let it simmer on Sauté, covered and venting for about 15 minutes. Once done. Shut off the Instant Pot and wait until there is no more steam coming out.
- Pour the contents in the Instant Pot through a mesh strainer.
- Save 1 cup of the liquid and discard the cinnamon stick.
- Add all the solids you just strained, the chipotle peppers in adobo, pureed tomatoes, cumin, and the reserved cup of liquid to a blender. Blend until nice and smooth. Sometimes I forget and I add the 1 cup of liquid to the Instant Pot instead after this step. It's called mommy brain!
- Add the meat, the blended sauce, the bay leaves, apple cider vinegar, and the beef broth into the Instant Pot. Lock the lid and set to high pressure. Cook for 60 minutes. The instant pot will take some time to get to temperature and then the 60 minute countdown begins.
- When time is up, let the Instant Pot naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes, then carefully turn the venting knob for a quick release of the rest of the pressure.
- Remove the meat from the Birria liquid onto a baking pan and shred with two forks.
- Remove bay leaves from Birria sauce in the Instant Pot.
- Use a large spoon to skim some of the fat off the top of the Birria sauce and into a bowl to use for Birria taco preparation and dipping. I personally like to clean up the sauce and keep it all. I will use it for recipes like the Birria Ramen I linked in this post.
- Now you have delicious Beef Birria ready for you to enjoy in a taco or any other way you'd like to serve it. Technically, the world is your oyster!