Birria is a Mexican stew from Jalisco, inspired by Gonzalo Guzman. The birria adobo marinade is earthy and full-bodied, braised in banana leaf for balance.



Birria is a stew that originated in Jalisco. This recipe was inspired by Gonzalo Guzman and the multitude of pictures and videos I have seen of the street food equivalent. The birria adobo is the driving force in this recipe. The word adobo has multiple applications and may seem a bit confusing. It’s popular seasoning prominent in island cuisines, or even the Philippine namesake that uses chicken or pork. The word applies in all sense, but here is used in it’s Spanish origin coming from adobar meaning marinade. This birria adobo is earthy, aromatic, and full bodied but reaches a great balance after being braised in an herbaceous banana leaf for hours. A dish like birria requires attention to detail at each step. Toasting whole seeds for the spices, using beer to balance a bitter, searing your short rib, using a banana leaf to assume a level of sweetness and unique aroma, and patience.  


Birria Adobo (marinade):

Makes ~3 cups

  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  •  1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  •  11 ancho chilis (stemmed and deseeded)
  • ½ cup dark beer (Modelo Negro works here)
  • ¼ white vinegar


  1. Combine all the spices in a dry sauté pan and toast for 3-4 minutes on a medium heat. Continue to move them around so that they don’t burn.
  2. Once toasted, remove spices from the pan and set aside to cool. Toast the ancho chilis for 3-4 minutes on a medium heat until they begin to get color and become fragrant. After they’ve been toasted, remov them from the pan and place them in a medium size heat proof bowl. Cover the chilis with boiling water and let sit for 10-15 minutes, until they are softened.  After the ancho chilis have reconstituted in the water, pull them out and reserve the water for the next step.
  3. Add the ancho chilis and the remaining spices to a blender. Make sure to reserve some of the water that the ancho chilis were soaking in. Puree until a thick paste has formed.


  • 3lbs short ribs (beef shank can be used as well)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves,
  • 1 Large Banana Leaf


  1. Heat a large cast iron over a medium-high heat. Sear the short rib in a cast iron pan, working in batches as needed to avoid crowding the pan; cook, turning until the meat is golden on all sides them remove to a plate. Let cool.
  2. Once the ribs are seared, marinate the meat in the birria adobo we just made from above, Rest in the fridge for 4 hours or up to overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F/150°C. Toast the banana leaf until malleable and lay a Dutch oven with the banana leaf. Add the onion, garlic cloves, short rib, and add enough water or stock to cover the meat by 1 inch. Fold the ends of the banana leaf over the meat to cover, seal the pan with aluminum foil and a lid, then transfer to an oven and at 300°F/150°C for 3 hours.
  4. Cook until tender, drain the meat and reserve the braising liquid.

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