September 27, 2023


Arts Eternal

Cooking with culture: Filmmaking foodie tries to replicate Regina restauranteur’s special ‘Quesabirria’ recipe

Reaction videos are all the rage these days. Grandparents react to TikTok trends, British kids react to American kids’ TV shows and teens react to those epic fails that make your stomach drop. 

All these videos got filmmaker Curtis McGillivray thinking about a recipe-reacting video. He would ask a chef to provide an ingredients list for a culturally significant dish, but no instructions. Then McGillivray would have to try to make the recipe on his own.

What could possibly go wrong?

Find out for yourself by checking out the video below. 

Special thanks to Sergio Reyna, chef and partner of Agave Authentic Mexican Grill in Regina, for sharing his recipe for a soup and quesadilla recipe mashup, called a “Quesabirria,” which is from his home state of Jalisco, Mexico.

Chef Sergio Reyna reacts to Curtis McGillivray cooking his recipe. (Submitted by Curtis McGillivray)

The recipe is listed below.

WATCH| Making a Quesabirria with Curtis McGillivray and Sergio Reyna:

React video: Making a ‘Quesabirria’ with Curtis McGillivray and chef Sergio Reyna

Filmmaker and foodie Curtis McGillivray makes a ‘Quesabirria’ without instructions, as chef Sergio Reyna reacts and gives feedback. This video was made in collaboration with CBC’s Creator Network. 6:22

If you want to make this recipe at home, here are the ingredients and the instructions:

Beef Birria (Serves 6-8)

  • 2 cups of crushed tomatoes.
  • 1 lb short ribs.
  • 1/2 large onion (roasted).
  • 1 teaspoon of guajillo powder.
  • 1 teaspoon of ancho powder.
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper.
  • 1 red bell pepper (roasted).
  • 1 teaspoon paprika.
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove.
  • 1/2 small cinnamon stick.
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic.
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin.
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano.
  • 1 litre of water.
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt.


  1. Sear short ribs on a frying pan with hot oil.
  2. In an electric blender, combine the onion, red bell pepper, bay leaf and water.
  3. Add all the ingredients to a stockpot.
  4. Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 2 hours or until meat is falling apart.
  5. Remove the beef from the pan, pull it apart, and set it aside.
  6. Strain Birria broth into a bowl, check the salt levels, and adjust if necessary. This will be the dipping broth later.

Birria Salsa

  • 1 pasilla pepper.
  • 1 morita pepper.
  • 1 chile de arbol.
  • 2 oz fresh onion.
  • 1 clove of garlic.
  • 100 ml canola oil.
  • 2 oz water.
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar.
  • 1 teaspoon oregano.


  1. Gently roast all peppers on a large pan until browned. Do not over-roast or they will get bitter.
  2. Do not remove the seeds.
  3. Roast onion on the grill or in a frying pan.
  4. Put all ingredients into an electric blender and blend until smooth.

Quesabirria (final assembly)

  • 1 large 12″ flour tortilla.
  • 6 oz of pulled short rib.
  • 3 oz Birria salsa.
  • 4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • 2 oz chopped fresh cilantro.
  • 2 oz fresh diced onion.
  • 2 or 3 lime wedges.


  1. Brush flour tortilla with Birria salsa on one side.
  2. Place it “sauce side down” on a hot pan or griddle that’s at medium or 350C.
  3. Spread cheese and then meat on the tortilla.
  4. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Fold tortilla in half and let cheese melt all the way. The Quesabirria should have a crunchy exterior.
  6. Remove from heat, place on a plate and cut into 4 triangles.
  7. Serve with the hot beef dip in a soup bowl, garnish with cilantro and onion, and a slice of lime. Enjoy!

CBC’s Creator Network is looking for emerging content creators to make short videos (5 minutes and under) for an 18 to 30-year-old audience. Content creators can be writers, filmmakers, vloggers, photographers, journalists, artists, animators, foodies or anyone else with a compelling idea and visual plan for bright and bold content.

Learn how to pitch your idea here.