Birria tacos have taken Southern California by storm in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why. These delicious tacos are made with tender, slow-cooked meat and a flavorful blend of spices, all served up on a crispy corn tortilla. But where did this tasty dish originate, and what makes it so special? In this post, we’ll explore the history of birria, the different ways it can be prepared, and where to find the best birria tacos in SoCal.
What are Birria Tacos?
Birria is a traditional Mexican dish that originated in the state of Jalisco. It’s typically made with goat meat that has been slow-cooked with a blend of spices until it’s tender and juicy. The meat is then shredded and served on a crispy tortilla with toppings like cilantro, onion, and lime. In recent years, birria has gained popularity as a street food item, with vendors serving up birria tacos and quesadillas from food trucks and stands.
The History of Birria Tacos
The origins of birria can be traced back to the indigenous communities of Mexico, who would cook meat in pits dug in the ground. Over time, the dish evolved to include spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cumin, giving it the distinct flavor it’s known for today. In the early 20th century, birria became popular in Guadalajara, where it was served in local restaurants and at special events like weddings and religious festivals.
The key to a good birria taco is the meat, which can be made with a variety of options like beef, pork, or chicken. However, the traditional option is goat meat. The spices used in birria can also vary but typically include chili peppers, garlic, cumin, and oregano. Toppings can range from simple cilantro and onion to more complex combinations like avocado, pickled red onions, and queso fresco. At Mike’s Red Tacos, we use freshes ingredients.
There are two main methods of preparing birria: the traditional method and the contemporary method. The traditional method involves marinating the meat in a blend of spices and slow-cooking it in a clay pot for several hours. The contemporary method involves pressure-cooking the meat to achieve a similar result in less time. Both methods result in tender, flavorful meat that’s perfect for tacos.
Birria tacos have exploded in popularity in Southern California in recent years, thanks in part to social media. Instagram and TikTok are filled with videos of people enjoying birria tacos, and many restaurants and food trucks have capitalized on the trend by offering their own unique versions of the dish. Its popularity has even led to the creation of birria-inspired dishes like birria ramen
Where to Find Birria Tacos
If you’re looking to try birria tacos for yourself, there are plenty of options in Southern California. Some popular spots include:
- Mike’s Red Tacos (San Diego)
- BIRRIA DE RES LA TIA JUANA (Los Angeles)
- Birria LA (Los Angeles)
- Tacos y Birria La Unica (Riverside)
Many food trucks also offer birria tacos, so keep an eye out for them at local events and festivals.
The Future of Birria Tacos
It’s clear that birria tacos aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, the dish continues to evolve and inspire new creations. Some chefs are experimenting with different meats and spices to put their own spin on the dish, while others are incorporating birria into entirely new dishes. Whatever the future holds, it’s safe to say that birria tacos will continue to be a beloved part of the Southern California food scene for years to come.