Get ready to pile high this Smoked Birria Burger with plenty of slowly braised chile beef and chopped herbs. Piles of napkins are recommended as you dip the burger in rich consomme before every single bite.
Post Contributed by Brad Prose
Pile it High
Braising beef for birria takes quite a while to simmer, so it’s worth making a big batch for the effort. One day I happened to be making burgers and realized I had some leftover birria in the fridge. Naturally, combining the two made sense, thus creating one of the most exciting burgers.
It starts with a very thick, smoked all-beef burger sitting on a toasted bun. Then comes the juicy, shredded beef. Topping the fatty meat is a small pile of chopped onions and cilantro, sandwiched with another crispy bun. The best part about eating birria tacos is dipping them in the beef consomme, the broth left behind from braising. Obviously you must do that with this burger, completing the experience.
Smoked Birria Burgers Start with Beef
The first step is to make the birria, which is made with chuck roast for this recipe. Braising it requires a rich chile-infused broth, made with a combination of guajillos, anchos, and chipotles for some heat. The chiles need to be toasted and hydrated, then added into a blender with water, beef broth, and aromatics. Making the sauce is the most difficult process, the rest is just patience.
Take a Dutch oven and place it directly over the coals on the grill. Add in a little oil, and sear off the seasoned chunks of beef to build a crust on all sides. Once the batch has been seared, add in the chile broth and close the lid. Check on it to make sure the heat is just right because we should be keeping the liquid at a slow simmer. The birria will braise for about 3 ½ – 4 hours before it easily shreds apart.
To make a smoked birria burger, we need to smoke the burgers next. After a few hours, the birria will be ready to shred. Make sure the coals are still going, and get the burgers ready. Season them generously with your preferred seasoning, I recommend the Smoked Chipotle Mezcal Blend because it pairs very well with the birria.
Move the coals to one side of the grill if you haven’t already, and spread out some wood chips over the top. Place the burgers on the cool side of the grill and close the lid, allowing them to smoke for about 20-30 minutes until they are bright red in color. Lift the lid and allow the coals to get some oxygen, it’s time to sear the burgers and finish this.
Looking for more burgers? Look no further. Check out these Steakhouse Smash Burgers, Surf and Turf Butter Burger, California Burrito Style Burger and McRib Burger recipes!
Build and Dip Smoked Birria Burgers
The best part of birria is dipping into the rich consomme, which is the dark chile broth from the braised meat. Strain out the meat from the broth and place it in a bowl. You’ll be using this in just a minute!
Build the burger by toasting the buns, adding the smoked burger, birria, chopped onions and cilantro, and the second bun. Smash that behemoth down and dip the side of it into the consomme. I hope you have a pile of napkins ready, because these smoked birria burgers don’t mess around.
Smoked Birria Burgers
Smoked Birria Burgers are double the beef, double the deliciousness!
- 5 dried guajillo chiles
- 2 dried ancho chiles
- 2 dried chipotle chiles
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups beef broth
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4- pound chuck roast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 pounds ground beef 85/15 preferred
- Smoked Chipotle Mezcal to taste
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup diced white onion
- 6 burger buns
Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat, around 375°F. Set the coals on one side of the grill, creating a 2-zone grilling space.
Toast the chiles briefly over the coals, for about 30 seconds. Place them in a non-reactive bowl and pour boiling water over them to allow them to hydrate for about 10 minutes.
Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles. Add them to the blender with the water, broth, garlic, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, and salt. Blend until smooth.
Slice up the chuck roast into smaller chunks, about 2”. Season each piece with the salt and pepper.
Place the Dutch oven over the coals and add the oil. Once hot, sear each piece of beef for a few minutes on each side. You may have to do this in batches. When all of the beef has been seared, add the beef into the pot and pour in the chile broth. Once the broth starts to boil, close the lid of the grill and adjust the vents to slightly lower the heat. Allow the beef to braise for about 2-3 hours, periodically checking to make sure the temperature is keeping it at a nice simmer.
After a few hours the beef should be tender and ready to shred. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and shred the beef. Strain the consomme and set aside while you prepare the burgers.
Using 2 pounds of ground beef should give you 6 medium burgers, or 4 very large ones. Prepare the patties to your preference and season with the Spiceology Chipotle Mezcal seasoning on both sides. Make sure the coals are still warm, and add some wood chips to the top of them. Set the burgers on the cool side of the grill, away from the coals. Allow the meat to smoke for about 20-30 minutes until they’ve picked up some red color.
Sear the burgers over the coals to finish them off, cooking them to your preference. Don’t forget to toast the buns, which I highly recommend as you’ll be dipping them in the consomme.
Assemble the burgers by placing the meat on the toasted bun, then the shredded birria, chopped onions and cilantro, and the bun. Smash it down and dip it into the consomme.
Brad Prose is a professional recipe developer, food writer, and culinary photographer – the force behind Chiles and Smoke. His kitchen spotlights unusual and incredible flavors through a blend of fine dining and BBQ. Brad strives to inspire home cooks to use higher-end techniques and new ideas, applying them to the everyday food we know and love.