Making homemade enchiladas is a multi step process, especially if you are committed to making your own sauce. You could make the beef a day ahead and the sauce as well. The homemade sauce is so flavorful and well worth the effort. Using fresh chilis in the cooking process adds wonderful smoky undertones to this classic Tex mex dish. Using the tri-tip, a less expensive cut of meat works in this recipe because the slow cooking process tenderizes the meat as it’s flavored with the tequila and seasonings. You can either use the slow cooker to cook your meat or a Dutch oven. Both work well. I love to serve these enchiladas with beans and rice and of course and of course some guacamole and a margarita are welcome complements to the meal! this is a great make ahead meal that serves a crowd.

This is a family favorite…a little time consuming, but delicious !

Yield 16-18 enchiladas


for the beef:

  • 2-2/2 lbs tri-tip steak
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 jalapeños, diced
  • 1 can rotel diced tomato (mild or medium)
  • 1 dried chili, seeds and stem removed(chipotle or cascabel), broken in pieces
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 -3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2-3 teaspoons favorite taco seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

for homemade enchilada mojo sauce:

  • 20 plum tomatoes, cut in half length-wise
  • 1 dried chili of choice, seeded and stems removed ( chipotle or arbol)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • Olive oil for roasting
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Juice of one lime

for enchiladas:

  • 18 medium flour tortillas
  • 1 pound shredded Mexican cheese blend or cheddar jack
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 diced poblano pepper
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • fresh cilantro, diced red onion, and or diced jalapeños for garnish


for beef: Preheat oven to 250. Heat a large dutch oven with oil to medium high. Pat tri-tip down with paper towel. Season beef with salt and pepper on both sides. Season generously with salt and pepper. Ser meat on either side for about 4 minutes each side. Add the onions, garlic and chili and stir briefly to absorb flavor. Next add tequila and remaining ingredients. Cover beef with lid and transfer to oven and cook for about 7 hours, checking occasionally and turning beef a few times. Beef is ready when it shreds easily with a fork. Alternatively, you can place all ingredients in a slow cooker, cooking at lowest setting for 8 hours. (Beef can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated.

for Mojo sauce: Preheat oven to 400. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment and place cut tomatoes cut side up, onions, garlic, chili on pan and toss generously with salt and pepper and olive oil to coat. Place in oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes until tomatoes and onions are charred and tender. Once cool enough to handle, transfer all ingredients and seasonings to food processor and place roasted vegetables along with juices, lime and spices in the blender. Pulse until smooth and adjust seasonings to taste adding a bit of water to thin sauce if it appears too thick (salsa can be made ahead and refrigerated for about a week)

Assemble enchiladas: In a medium saucepan, sauté onions, garlic, poblanos and corn on medium heat until gently cooked (5-10 minutes). Season with cumin and a bit of taco seasoning and transfer to a bowl and add beef (shred with your hands and then add cheese to incorporate along with about a cup of your enchilada sauce. Heat oven to 350. In a 13×9 inch baking dish, ladle about 1/2 cup of mojo sauce on the bottom of baking dish and spread. Roll about 1/2 a cup of chicken mixture into each warmed tortillas. Place tortillas, seam-side down snugly beside one another in baking dish. Spoon remainder of sauce atop enchiladas and in between tortillas. Cover baking dish loosely with foil and bake in oven at 350 for about 30 -40 minutes. Remove from oven, and remove foil, allow to rest 10 minutes and garnish with fresh diced tomato, red onion and cilantro. Serve warm with beans, rice and fresh lime. Enjoy!