Slow Cooker Beef Birria




When developing recipes, sometimes you hit a winner. Today’s recipe is an example of striking it rich in both flavor and simplicity!

While birria is traditional made with goat meat, I used beef as it is easier to find. You can also make this recipe with lamb shanks, as they do at Dos Hermanos in Sierraville, CA, 25 miles north of my house. They serve it with whole pinto beans, corn tortillas, limes and minced onion, but subbing zucchini for the beans and lettuce for the tortillas works well.

What I love most about this recipe is the rich color that comes from the freshly pureed dried chiles. If you haven’t done this before, I recommend adding the skill to your culinary quiver. It is simple and provides much more flavor and color than canned enchilada sauce.

Load up your slow cooker, follow this recipe and see once more that “it’s not gourmet, it just tastes that way!”

I had a great time yesterday at the Brian Collins Memorial WOD at CrossFit Blizzard. It was a beautiful example of the CrossFit community in action. “The Jo!” and “The Bro!” got in on the action by participating in the kid’s workout. While I don’t force fitness on my boys, they seem to be a turning a corner with an interest in exercise. Samson ran the mile at the end of the workout with me and I loved it! I told him he was my trainer and he told me the run was building lots of big leg muscles. 🙂

On a sad note, a dear friend of mine, Cheli Nye, lost two of her aunts to a brutal murder in Michigan on Saturday. Cheli has been on two of my Culinary Adventures, she’s helped at The CrossFit Games and she took my Culinary Ninja 101 classes in my garage kitchen back in 2014. Please think of her in your thoughts and prayers today. And, remember to tell those you love that you love them!!!

One way to prove to someone that you love them is by cooking them Beef Birria! Am I right?

Make it a great week, guys. And, when you’re tempted with the sugar and the processed food, make your best effort to…

“Keep It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

(Coaching the dudes through their workout yesterday…)

Slow Cooker Beef Birria

Ingredients List:

  • 3 1/2 pounds chuck roast (pot roast), season with salt
  • 6 dried ancho chiles
  • 6 dried guajillo chiles (Can substitute large can of red enchilada sauce for 12 chiles)
  • 1 large yellow onion, julienned
  • 4 squash, any variety, large dice
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 cups of water
  • Red onion, minced (to garnish)
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped (to garnish)
  • Lettuce leaves (Paleo tortillas)

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Remove stems and seeds of the chiles and discard. Place chiles into a pot of simmering water and cook until softened.
  2. While chiles are softening, season top side of your chuck roast with salt and place seasoned side down in the bottom of your slow cooker, season the other side with salt. Add the remaining ingredient into the slow cooker in this order: garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano, bay leaves, onions, 6 cups of water, placing the squash on top.
  3. Once chile pods are soft, use tongs to transfer into a blender. Add enough water from the pot that the chiles came from to create a puree. Blitz for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Pour chile puree over top of squash and place cover with lid. Place slow cooker on a foil lined sheet pan and cook on high for 12 hours.
  5. Break meat chunks apart with a spoon and serve immediately with red onion, cilantro and paleo tortillas, or portion into pint containers and freeze for up to 6 months.

“Keep It Paleo!”

Zone Breakdown:

Proteins: (31)

We have with 3.5 pounds of chuck roast.  After cooking it down and breaking it into the blocks, we end up with 31 protein blocks with 1.5oz equaling one block.


Carbohydrates: (30)

We have 12 dried chiles.  With can say that we get about one block from about 3 chiles so we have about 4 blocks.  We get two blocks from the onion and 1/2 block from the garlic.  Additionally we get a lot of blocks from the squash.  If we say 1 cup gives us 2 blocks.  Each squats could give us 3 cups so therefore we get 6 blocks per squash or 24 blocks added to the total block count of 30.5.

Fats: (0)

There are no added fats to this recipe.

Balancing Act:

There are an even number of carbs and proteins in this recipe.  If we break this down into 10 meals each with 3 protein and carb blocks, just add in 3 fat blocks for a fully balanced meal.


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