Carne Birria

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

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3-4 lb beef chuck roast or rump roast
4 guajillo chiles
3 ancho chiles
3 chiles de arbol
3 cascabel chiles
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground thyme or 2-3 sprigs
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1 onion, minced
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped cilantro
Corn tortillas


Toast chilies on comal or griddle. Remove stems and seeds. Place them in a bowl of warm water (not to hot!) and let them soak about 15-20 minutes. After done soaking place the chilies into blender with vinegar and make a paste, you may need to add a little of the chilies water to this.

Mix the salt, pepper, cloves, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and thyme. Rub this mixture over meat very well. Take half of the chili paste and spread over meat. Place meat into fridge to marinate overnight.

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

Remove the meat and place into serving bowls. Let the liquid cool slightly and remove the bay leaves. Blend the liquid and 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.

The other way to serve this is to first remove bay leaves from liquid. If liquid is too watery, reduce by boiling in a small pan. Coat the meat chunks with the reduced chile sauce. Use meat to fill tortillas and top with onions and cilantro.

Serves 8.