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Street tacos are already a Southern California staple but everyone is going crazy for this slow-cooked goat meat variation.
I can’t tell if everyone was just tired of eating street tacos (a crazy concept, I know), but it seems like Mexican restaurants have to carry this special delicacy to keep up with the foodie trends. Birria originates from Spaniards bringing over goats to Mexico, specifically the state of Jalisco (where most tequila is also made). During colonization, Spaniards brought over spices and categorized goat meat as tough, which Mexicans found a way to tenderize and make use of. Skipping ahead brings us the dish we know today.
Birria is usually goat, but can also be made using a variety of different meats from beef to pork to lamb. It is usually slow-cooked and served with consommé, which is the birria broth. In most cases, the goat meat has a similar texture to shredded beef barbacoa. In a similar cooking fashion, the meat is slow-cooked to tenderize and soften the meat. Goat tends to be a little bit gamier in flavor profile, no matter the way you slice it.
What sets the birria flavors apart are the different spices and chilies used in the process. The standard ingredients usually combine chipotle peppers, dried ancho chiles, and dried guajillo chiles as well as other standard spices that come with Mexican food such as tomatoes and onions.
The stewing process takes time, as the slowest methods can take hours. After the meat is done, you prepare it like any crispy taco. Fry the shell, add some cheese, and sprinkle a healthy serving of cilantro and diced onions on top.
Finish it with some lime juice and dip it into your consommé. Whatever the time, the end product is well worth it. It recently became pretty popular because of social media.
Chefs usually dip the tortillas into the consommé, which is a deep brownish-red color. It is also common to dip the prepared birria tacos into the consommé like one would with a French dip sandwich. With its unique appearance and eating procedure, it wasn’t long before everyone started putting it on the menu. Not without good reason, as their messy and aesthetically pleasing appearance only emphasizes the flavor.
People always crave new ways to eat familiar foods. Usually, this comes in the form of culinary fusion, ingredient replacement, or putting stuff in a tortilla and calling it a day. If you really think about it, birria, which is also served as a stew, checks off all the boxes.