Birria Grilled Cheese is slow-cooked, shredded beef smothered in red enchilada sauce topped with onions, queso fresco, mozzarella cheese, and cilantro grilled between two slices of Texas toast. It’s a sandwich that is as messy as it is delicious! In fact, it’s pretty much the sandwich version of my Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos that we could not get enough of!
What is Birria?
To put it simply, birria is a meat stew bathed in a blend of chiles and spices, giving it a deep, red hue. Traditionally, it is made with goat meat and is served on corn tortillas. Although this birria grilled cheese recipe is not authentic birria, the beef is still super juicy and tender after being cooked in a slow cooker for 10 hours.
Beef: Choose a cut of beef like a chuck roast for this recipe. While it slowly stews in the enchilada sauce, it will become nice and tender.
Enchilada Sauce: The beef will cook with the enchilada sauce, which makes the beef super tender and flavorful. Make your own, homemade enchilada sauce to use. It’s better than anything you can get in a can!
Bread: I love the thick slices of Texas Toast, but you can use your favorite kind of bread. But, it should be hearty enough to hold all of the goodness between the slices.
Queso Fresco: Queso Fresco is a white cheese that is soft and crumbly with a mild flavor. I recommend making your own!
Cilantro: We tested this recipe with and without cilantro. When the votes were in, it was clear that the sandwich with cilantro was the winner! However, if you really dislike cilantro, the sandwich is still amazing!
Do I Have to Sear the Beef?
This is a question that comes up quite a bit. Of course, you don’t have to sear the beef, but it does make a difference. Searing it before adding it to the slow cooker will give the meat more flavor.
Can I Make the Birria Grilled Cheese Spicier?
Yes! If you want more of a kick to the birria grilled cheese, simply add cayenne pepper or chipotle peppers to the slow cooker as you are cooking the chuck roast.
Can I Make Birria Grilled Cheese Ahead of Time?
You can certainly get the beef made in advance. The cooked beef will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Or, if you need to store it longer, freeze it. Be sure to let out as much air as possible after storing the beef in a freezer-safe container. Label and date the packaging; it will last up to 3 months in the freezer.
Can I Buy Birria?
Yes, this is commonly found in the refrigerator section of grocery stores. While homemade is often best, you can certainly get an excellent grilled cheese with pre-made Birria. That also takes your cook time down to just a few minutes!
Birria Grilled Cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 pounds chuck roast
- 1 tablespoon beef bouillon powder, or 1 bouillon cube
- 1 can (28 ounces) enchilada sauce, red
- ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter, divided
- 20 slices Texas toast
- 1 medium white onion, finely diced, divided
- 2½ cups (305 g) queso fresco, divided
- 2½ cups (282.5 g) mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
- 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro, divided
- To a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add the chuck roast to the skillet and sear on each side, just enough to brown (3-5 minutes per side).
- Add the seared beef to a crockpot. Top with bouillon powder and the enchilada sauce.
- Cover and slow cook on low for 10 hours, or until the meat is tender and easily pulls apart.
- When ready, remove the chuck roast from the slow cooker and use two forks to shred. Add the shredded roast back to the juices in the slow cooker.
- Preheat a skillet to medium-high heat.
- Butter one side of each slice of bread.
- Working one or two at a time, add bread, buttered side down into the skillet. While it is cooking, top with ½ cup shredded beef, about 1 tablespoon of white onions, ¼ cup queso fresco, ¼ cup mozzarella, cilantro, and another slice of bread, buttered side up.
- Cook over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes; then, flip over the sandwich and cook another 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown. (If it seems like the bread is taking a long time to brown, be patient, as the cheese inside needs time to melt.) Use a spatula to remove from the skillet.
- Serve with leftover juices from the slow cooker for dipping.
Did you make this recipe?
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