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Pork Birria Tacos

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With origins in Jalisco, Mexico, Birria tacos offer rich, savory flavors inside of crispy grilled shells. Chef Charlie shows us how to prepare them with HORMEL® pork shoulder.

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Birria Sauce and Marinade
4 cups Guajillo chilis, soaked in hot water
1 7 oz can EMBASA® Chiptole Peppers in Adobo
½ cup crushed tomato
¼ cup white vinegar
6 garlic cloves, peeled, rough chopped
1½ teaspoons Mexican oregano or oregano, dried
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1½ teaspoons chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Birria Stew
1½ pounds HORMEL® Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt roast, sliced into ½ inch steaks
1 yellow onion, medium
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 bay leaves, whole
1 cinnamon stick, whole
5 cloves, whole
2 cups pork stock or chicken stock
24 mini corn or flour tortillas, 4 ½ inch
2 cups cheddar cheese
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 medium white onion, diced
¼ cup jalapeños, sliced


For the Birria Sauce and Marinade

  1. Remove stems and seeds from Guajillo chiles. Place Guajillo chiles in hot water in a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap to soften. Let soak approximately 15 minutes.

  2. In a blender, add soaked Guajillo chiles and water, and blend until smooth. Add remaining marinade ingredients. Blend until smooth.

  3. Place pork steaks into a stainless-steel bowl. Coat the pork with marinate. Marinate the pork for 8 hours or overnight.

For the Birria Stew

  1. Prepare the smoker or grill to 275 – 300°F.

  2. Place cast iron pot onto the grill over heat. Add oil and sauté the onions.

  3. Once onions are translucent, add the marinated pork and marinade sauce. Add remaining Birria stew ingredients.

  4. Cover the pot and move pot to indirect head on grill. Cook for 1 hour until the pork is fork tender, and reaches a minimum of 145°F.

  5. Remove pork from the pot and use a fork to shred it into fine shreds. Preserve the sauce and set aside.

  6. Add the pork to a large bowl along with 3 ladles of reserved sauce.

For the Tacos

  1. Dip each tortilla into the reserved sauce. Make sure to quickly dip and remove the tortilla – this will prevent it from becoming soggy.

  2. Place a cast-iron pan or skillet over direct heat. Place the coated tortilla into the pan and add cheese over half of the tortilla. Add desired amount of meat over the cheese.

  3. Fold over the tortilla to cover the meat and press it down.

  4. Flip the tacos when golden and allow them to sear on both sides for a total of 5 minutes.

  5. Remove tacos from pan or skillet and sprinkle with cilantro and jalapeños.

  6. For the dipping sauce: take 2 cups of the reserved Birria stew sauce and add the remaining onions and cilantro.

  7. Serve the Pork Birria Tacos with the warm dipping sauce.

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Chef Charlie Torgerson is a man who knows his way around a grill.
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