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Iowa Hospitality Beef & Soy Birria Taco Recipe



Iowa Hospitality Beef & Soy Birria Taco Recipe

Chef Jonathan Cook

Iowa Events Center


Birria Beef

5 dried Guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed

1 (12-ounce) can Coca-Cola (not diet)

1 (12-ounce) can Budweiser beer

½ cup tequila

8 whole garlic cloves, peeled

1 Tablespoon dried oregano leaves (preferably Mexican)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

3 pounds boneless beef tri-tip, trimmed of excess fat and silverskin

1 medium-size white onion, thinly sliced

5 bay leaves


Pico de gallo or chopped tomatoes for serving (optional)

  1. Bring 2 cups of water and dried chiles to a boil in a medium saucepan. When the water boils, remove the pan from heat and let stand until chiles are very soft, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chiles to a blender (reserve the soaking water for later) with the Coca-Cola, Budweiser, tequila, garlic, oregano, salt, cumin, pepper, and cloves. Blend until smooth, then pour into a large resealable plastic bag.

  2. Place the tri-tip in the bag with the chile mixture, seal the bag, and turn to coat the beef. Marinate beef overnight in the refrigerator.

  3. The next day, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the roast from the marinade and arrange it on a rack set inside a roasting pan. Pour the marinade and the reserved chile soaking water into the roasting pan, then scatter the sliced onion and bay leaves around the beef. Cover the roasting pan with foil.

  4. Roast the beef for approximately 4 hours or until it shreds easily. Transfer the beef to a cutting board and pull into bite-size pieces using tongs or two forks. Toss the beef with some of the braising liquid to moisten. Keep beef warm until ready to serve.

  5. Garnish tacos with avocado crème, tofu cheese, pico de gallo and a fresh cilantro sprig.






Soy Corn Tortillas

1½ cups masa harina

1½ cups soy milk

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Soybean oil


  1. Blend the masa, soy milk, and salt in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon to create a soft dough. The mixture should be slightly tacky.

  2. Divide dough into one-ounce balls – you should get approximately 12 balls.

  3. Line a tortilla press with wax paper or plastic wrap and press each ball into a small tortilla (or pat or roll tortillas into rounds about 5 inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick). Keep tortillas between wax paper or plastic wrap until ready for cooking.

  4. Fry tortillas in a nonstick skillet over high heat in a small amount of oil. Cook until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer cooked tortillas to a plate and keep warm until ready to serve.


Tofu Cheese

1 (14-ounce) package extra firm tofu

1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast

½ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Drain tofu and press between several layers of paper towels, squeezing out as much liquid as possible.

  2. Transfer tofu to a mixing bowl and sprinkle with the nutritional yeast and salt. Gently crumble the tofu with your hands, mixing it with the yeast and salt, until you have pea-sized pieces.

  3. Place the crumbled tofu in a food dehydrator and dry on the lowest setting for 2 to 3 hours Or until the tofu is the same texture as cotija cheese. Store the tofu cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Tofu & Avocado Crème

7 tomatillos, papery skin removed

5 jalapeños, stems removed

1 (12-ounce) package soft silken tofu

1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled

2 cloves garlic, peeled

¼ cup water

1 tablespoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Place tomatillos and jalapeños in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer tomatillos and jalapeños to a blender with the tofu, avocado, garlic, ¼ cup water, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


Cabbage & Radish Salad with Tofu Croutons

For the salad:

4 cups green cabbage, thinly sliced

6 red radishes, thinly sliced into matchsticks

½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems

Prepared Tofu & Avocado Crème


For the croutons:

1 (14-ounce) package extra firm tofu

¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon minced garlic

¼ teaspoon sweet paprika

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup cornstarch

Soybean oil for frying


  1. For the salad, toss the cabbage, radishes, and cilantro in a large mixing bowl with some of the prepared Tofu & Avocado Crème until well-coated. Cover with plastic and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

  2. Drain the tofu and press between several layers of paper towels, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Dice tofu into small cubes and place in a bowl. Add the cilantro, lime juice, garlic, and seasonings; toss gently to coat. Cover and let stand for at least one hour to marinate.

  3. Gradually sprinkle the some of the cornstarch over the marinated tofu cubes, tossing gently to coat lightly; shake off any excess. Heat 1 inch of oil in a saute pan or skillet until it just begins to shimmer. Add the tofu cubes in batches and fry for 3 minutes or until golden and crispy, turning often. Transfer to a paper towel-lined platter to drain; repeat frying with remaining tofu cubes.


To assemble tacos, wrap the tortillas in a clean towel and warm in the oven 5 minutes until heated through. Warm the shredded beef in a skillet on the stove over medium heat (moisten with braising liquid if necessary). For each serving, arrange 3 tortillas on a serving plate, then top with some of the shredded beef and sprinkle with some tofu cheese. Garnish tacos with pico de gallo and sprigs of cilantro with some of the cabbage salad on the side.


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