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Raven Higheagle


This traditional Mexican dish is often sold by street vendors in Mexico. Birria can be made with beef, veal, pork, goat or lamb making it quite versatile. Many people will use more than one type of meat, combining one, two or three kinds in one dish. Poultry is not traditionally used in this dish. You will need a Dutch oven or large casserole dish with a tight fitting lid and a rack that sits inside.


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Serves 6 to 8
24 Hr
4 Hr



  • 4
    guajillo chiles
  • 3
    ancho chiles
  • 3
    cascabel chiles
  • 2 Tbsp
  • 1 c
    hot water

  • 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground cloves
  • 1 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp
    ground thyme or 2-3 sprigs
  • 1/4 tsp

  • 6 clove
    garlic, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 large
    onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • ·
  • 2
    bay leaves

  • ·
    cooked meat
  • 1 c
  • 1 c
    chopped onion
  • 1 c
    chopped cilantro
  • 1 large
    package corn tortillas

How to Make Birria


  1. Start Chili Paste:

    Toast the chiles on a hot pan until browned, but not burned. Remove the seeds and veins and cover with hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. When done soaking, process in blender with the vinegar to make a paste.
  2. Meat Rub:

    Mix the salt, pepper, cloves, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and thyme. Rub the meat well with this mixture. Then coat the meat with half of the chili paste. Let marinate overnight.
  3. Cook the Meat:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Fill a Dutch oven with water. Add the chopped onion, bay leaf, garlic and the remaining chili sauce to the water.
  4. Place meat on a rack that sits just above the water. Place lid on and bake for 4 hours
  5. Prepare the Dish:

    Remove the meat and place into serving bowls.
  6. There are two ways to finish. The first way has no broth.

    Remove bay leaves from liquid. If liquid is too watery, reduce by boiling in a small pan.

    Coat the meat chunks with the reduced chili sauce. Use meat to fill tortillas and top with onions and cilantro.
  7. The second way is to let the liquid cool slightly and remove the bay leaves.

    At this point some people blend the liquid. Add enough hot water to make at least 2 cups.

    Ladle the liquid over the meat and top with chopped onion and cilantro. Serve with warm corn tortillas.

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