The Best Smoked Birria Beef Tacos Ever


a platter of birria beef tacos

Find me someone who doesn’t love tacos. It’s hard to do. In Toronto, taco places have been cropping up over the years and people just flock to them. There is even a festival here in Toronto entirely dedicated to tacos, aptly called Taco Fest. When I had my restaurant and food truck, we participated in Taco Fest for many years, even winning best taco a couple of times. Tacos were also a staple of my food truck and when I had my catering kitchen and was doing the food program at a local brewery, we started making the best tacos ever and serving up my Birria Beef Tacos – they were an instant hit. You really can’t go wrong with smoked and braised beef shoulder, melty cheese, topped with diced onions, cilantro and a fresh and spicy green sauce.


What I love about making this recipe on the Alchemy grill, is that I can smoke my beef shoulder in the lower smoker compartment while simultaneously grilling up my onions and tomatoes that will be part of my braising liquid. I can also grill up my poblano peppers and tomatillos at the same time for my green sauce. This recipe is a labour of love though, and you have to be patient enough to wait a good 4-5 hours for your beef to braise. Once you pull your beef out of the smoker and get it into your beef broth with roasted onion and tomatoes, you just let it cook down for hours, leaving you with pull apart, juicy, smoky, delicious meat.


If you want to find out how to make the best tacos ever, keep reading or jump to the full recipe for the Best Smoked Birria Beef Tacos Ever.


beef shoulder being seasoned with Alchemy Green Rub

Set your smoker to 275F. Drizzle your beef shoulder with canola oil, salt and Alchemy Green Rub. Place in the smoker for about an hour and a half.


tomatoes and onions grilling on the plancha

Cut your tomatoes and onion in half and place on the plancha to grill.


grilled onions and tomatoes being added to a pot of beef broth on the plancha

Once nicely charred, place a large pot on your plancha and put your grilled onions and tomatoes in the pot and add in the beef broth. Put the lid on the pot and let cook while your beef smokes.


the smoked beef shoulder being added to the pot of broth to braise

Once the beef is done smoking, transfer directly to your pot of broth and allow to braise, about 3-4 hours.


poblano peppers and tomatillos grilling on the plancha

To make your sauce, cut your poblano peppers and tomatillos in half and place on the grill.


grilled poblano peppers, grilled onions, avocado, jalapeno, olive oil, lime juice and salt in a blender

Once grilled, add your peppers and tomatillos to the bowl of a blender (make sure your blender can blend hot food), add the cilantro, avocado, jalapeno, olive oil, lime juice and salt.


blended green sauce being poured into a bowl

Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Pour into a bowl or container and set aside.


shredded birria beef being added back to the pot of broth

Once your beef is done braising, it should pull apart easily. Shred the meat in the pot and keep it in the broth to stay juicy.


tortillas being dipped in birria broth and placed on the plancha to grill

To build, dip your tortillas into the broth and place on the plancha. Allow to crisp up a bit, about 1-2 minutes.


shredded cheese being put on tortillas on the plancha

Add your shredded cheese onto the tortillas and let the cheese melt.


shredded birria beef being added to the cheesy tortillas on the plancha

Add your shredded birria beef to the cheesy tortillas.


birria beef tacos with cilantro and chopped onions being removed from the plancha

Top with chopped onions, fresh cilantro and remove from the grill, transferring to a plate or platter.


birria beef tacos on a platter being topped with green sauce

Drizzle your birria beef tacos with your green sauce and enjoy!


And now for the full recipe...


The Best Smoked Birria Beef Tacos Ever

Makes 4 regular tacos, 6 mini tacos

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 15 minutes


Ingredients:

2 lbs Beef shoulder

Canola oil

Alchemy Green Rub

1 tsp salt

2 Tomatoes

1 yellow Onion

1L beef broth


For the sauce:

3 Poblano peppers

5-6 Tomatillos

½ cup Cilantro, chopped

1 avocado

1 jalapeno

½ cup olive oil

4 limes

Salt


To build:

Corn tortillas

Shredded cheese

Onions, finely chopped

Cilantro, finely chopped


How to Make It:


Set your smoker to 275F.


Drizzle your beef shoulder with canola oil, salt and Alchemy Green Rub. Place in the smoker for about an hour, hour and a half.


Cut your tomatoes and onion in half and place on the plancha to grill. Once nicely charred, place a large pot on your plancha and put your grilled onions and tomatoes in the pot and add in the beef broth. Put the lid on the pot and let cook while your beef smokes. Once the beef is done smoking, transfer directly to your pot of broth and allow to braise, about 3-4 hours.


To make your sauce, cut your poblano peppers and tomatillos in half and place on the grill. Once grilled, add your peppers and tomatillos to the bowl of a blender (make sure your blender can blend hot food), add the cilantro, avocado, jalapeno, olive oil, lime juice and salt. Blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl or container and set aside.


Once your beef is done braising, it should pull apart easily. Shred the meat in the pot and keep it in the broth to stay juicy.


To build, dip your tortillas into the broth and place on the plancha. Allow to crisp up a bit, about 1-2 minutes. Add your shredded cheese onto the tortillas and let the cheese melt. Add your shredded birria beef to the cheesy tortillas. Top with chopped onions, fresh cilantro and drizzle with your green sauce.


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Matt Basile

MEET THE CHEF

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Chef Matt Basile is the founder of the Toronto-based street food brand, Fidel Gastro's, which, within four years, went from an underground sandwich pop-up to an internationally recognized food brand. Now almost a decade later, Matt has a still growing business of food experiences, restaurant consulting and new and exciting foodie-filled projects on the way. Matt always strives to be different in an industry steeped in tradition. Matt is also the author of the best-selling cookbooks Street Food Diaries and Brunch Life, and was the host of the travel food show Rebel Without a Kitchen for two seasons. More here!