Shredded Lamb Birria Tacos

Globally inspired lamb recipes


Serves 4 to 6
4 lbs (2 kg) bone-in lamb shoulder
¼ cup (60 ml) apple cider vinegar
2 to 3 large guajillo chilis, stems removed
1 large yellow onion, peeled and halved
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp (15 ml) ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano
1 x 6.5 oz (186 ml) can chipotles in adobo sauce
1 tsp (5 ml) chicken bouillon paste
1 tsp (5 ml) kosher salt
2 tsp (10 ml) ground pepper
12 to 16 corn tortillas
6 oz (170 g) queso fresco (Mexican cheese)*, crumbled
1 medium white onion, diced into medium cubes
1 small bunch cilantro, leaves only
3 limes, quartered


  1. Place lamb in large saucepan. Add apple cider vinegar, guajillo chilis, yellow onion, garlic, cumin, bay leaves, oregano, chipotles, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer until meat is tender and pulls apart easily, about 2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, you can cook lamb in oven at 300 F (150 C) for about 3 hours or in a slow cooker for about 4 to 6 hours, or until it is tender and pulls apart easily.
  2. Remove lamb from broth. Strain broth and set aside. Pick out chilis and purée until smooth, adding broth if necessary. Add puréed chilis back to broth over medium heat and reduce liquid to 4 cups (1 L). Taste and adjust seasoning. Keep broth warm over low heat. Skim off ½ cup (125 ml) of fat and set aside.
  3. Remove and discard bones and roughly chop meat. Transfer meat to a medium-sized mixing bowl and add ½ cup (125 ml) of broth to moisten.
  4. To assemble tacos, dip 1 corn tortilla in warm broth to soften, top half of it with lamb meat and fold over. In a medium-sized frying pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp (15 ml) of lamb fat. Repeat to fill up pan. Fry tacos for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp, adding more lamb fat if necessary. Repeat with remaining tortillas and meat.
  5. Place tacos on a platter and garnish with queso fresco, chopped white onion and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and a bowl of warm lamb broth for dipping tacos.
  6. * May substitute feta, but recipe will be saltier
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