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Cola Shredded Beef Tacos


Tacos filled with tender shredded beef slow cooked in Mexican Coke with a delicious sauce made from chiles, tomatoes, and spices.

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  • BEEF:
  • 3 medium dried ancho chiles*
  • 2 large dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups Mexican Coca-Cola (cane-sugar sweetened) or another cola (not diet)
  • TACOS :
  • 12 to 24 (6-inch) tortillas, warm
  • Avocado, diced
  • Red onion, diced small
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced
  • Crema Mexicana or regular sour cream


Servings 6
Cooking time 260mins


Step 1

Wipe chiles clean with a damp cloth, stem and seed, and tear into pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add chiles and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, the cumin, tomatoes, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chiles are softened, about 10 minutes. Purée sauce in a blender until very smooth.

Meanwhile, season beef with the remaining teaspoon salt. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a 5- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. Brown beef, turning occasionally, 10 to 14 minutes. Discard fat, if any.

Pour sauce into pot and add bay leaf, cola, and a little water if needed to barely cover meat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until beef is very tender, 3 hours.

With a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate. Let cool slightly, then tear into shreds, discarding any fat or gristle. Meanwhile, boil sauce over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced to about 3 cups, 10 to 30 minutes. Stir in beef and heat a few minutes until hot. Remove bay leaf.

With a slotted spoon, transfer beef with some sauce to a bowl. Spoon beef into tortillas (double tortillas if they're thin), tuck in accompaniments, and serve with remaining sauce if you like.

You can find guajillo chiles and dried Mexican oregano in the Latino foods aisle or spice aisle of a supermarket, or at a Latino market.

Make ahead: Through step 3; chill, covered, up to 2 days.

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