Bear Birria Tacos

Bear Birria Tacos

If you’re wanting an outstanding new taco recipe, give Bear Birria Tacos a go!

by Tiffany Haugen

On a trip to Mexico, my husband and I spent one-night food-hopping backstreet taco stands. One taco stood out. It was called a birria taco. First, we had tacos with beef, followed by goat. I was so inspired that I couldn’t wait to get home and try it on our game in the freezer.

First, I made the tacos with elk and deer, and they were amazing. Then we enjoyed them with wild turkey. But when I made them with bear meat, we agreed it was the best taco we’d ever had.

While traditionally prepared with goat, most local taco stands use beef in their birria tacos. The beauty of this recipe is its adaptability to almost any cut of wild game. The key lies in the marinade and cooking method. Whether you choose to shred the meat from shanks, chunk up a large roast after cooking, or slice it ahead of time, the result will be a delicious filling for your taco. Pressure cooking, slow cooking, or a low and slow simmer on the stovetop will all yield a fantastic end result.

The Recipe

  • 1.5-pounds bear meat (or any wild game)
  • 1/3-cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • One 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • One 7-ounce can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1/4-cup cider vinegar
  • Six cloves garlic, crushed
  • One teaspoon of guajillo chili powder
  • One teaspoon oregano
  • One teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • One teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2-teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2-teaspoon salt
  • Two cups of beef or vegetable stock
  • Two cinnamon sticks
  • Three bay leaves

One cup of grated cheddar or jack cheese, optional

Additional butter or coconut oil for frying tortillas

20 Corn tortillas

Fresh lime, chopped onion, and cilantro for garnish



Trim meat and cut into chunks or strips as desired. Mix butter or coconut oil and chipotle peppers with sauce, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, oregano, paprika, cumin, and cloves in a sealable container or baggie until thoroughly combined. Add meat, seal, and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to cook, place meat with all the marinade in a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or Dutch oven. Add tomatoes, stock, salt, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves.

Pressure cook on high pressure for 55-60 minutes or slow-cook on high for 4-6 hours or until meat is tender. If cooking on the stovetop or in the oven, bring all ingredients to a boil and simmer on medium-low heat until the meat reaches desired tenderness. Pull meat to shreds or chop it into the desired size for a taco filling.

To Assemble Birria Tacos

  1. Heat a large griddle (or skillet) on medium-high heat.
  2. Coat the griddle with a layer of butter or coconut oil.
  3. Dip both sides of each tortilla in birria mixture and place on the hot griddle.
  4. Place a scoop of shredded or chopped meat on 1/2 of each tortilla and fold.
  5. Sprinkle a bit of cheese onto the outer side of each taco.
  6. Once the tortilla begins to brown, turn it over so the cheese can caramelize to the shell.
  7. Add additional cheese to the other side and flip once more before serving.
  8. Garnish with a wedge of lime, fresh cilantro, and chopped onion if desired.
  9. Serve with a side of broth from the birria mixture.

For the ultimate birria tacos, it’s crucial to ensure the game is properly cared for in the field, especially with bears. Swiftly remove the hide, then the meat from the carcass, and bone it out. Bear meat retains a significant amount of heat, so the faster it cools, the better its quality will be. Avoid the temptation to show off a whole bear to your friends. Bear meat is naturally fatty and does not require aging. Get it cut, wrapped, and into the freezer as soon as possible for the best results.

Note: To order signed copies of Tiffany Haugen’s famous book, Cooking Big Game, visit for this and other titles.

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