Let’s Taco ‘Bout Birria

An overhead view of three beef birria tacos in an aluminum takeout container with a consomme soup on the side

It’s a TikTok world, and we’re all just living (and eating) in it. Exhibit one zillion: birria tacos, the suddenly wildly popular meat stew traditionally made with goat. Thanks to social media interest, a dish that has its roots in 16th-century Mexico is seemingly on everyone’s minds and in creations ranging from birria waffles to birria ramen.

Birria was created in the state of Jalisco in western Mexico during the Spanish conquest, when the Spaniards introduced goats to the region. The goats reproduced so quickly that they wreaked havoc on the area but became an abundant source of food during the famine. Goat meat is famously gamey”in taste and texture, so the solution was to slow cook it in kilns with a variety of spices and chiles. And birria stew was born. The story goes that birria tacos were created hundreds of years later in Tijuana. Now many chefs in Los Angeles and New York say the demand for birria tacos saved more than one career and several restaurants during these famously difficult last two years in the food industry.

Bien Mexicana’s new food truck.

At its base, a birria taco is exactly that—birria stew inserted into a taco. But presentations vary from there. Some are served very simply with a combination of onion, cabbage, salsa, and lime as garnish. Some are dipped in the broth from the stew and pan fried until crispy while other versions are served with the broth on the side for dipping. The takes are unique; the yum factor is steady as she goes. Looking to try birria tacos yourself? Here’s a list of local spots to check out.

Bien Mexicana, 1094 Conner St., Noblesville, 317-672-8797

Chile y Limon, 6985 W. 38th St., 317-430-7474

La 5th Tacos, 1707 E. Minnesota St., 317-509-7156

La Mexicana Authentic Food, 7862 Michigan Rd., 317-280-7226

La Parada, 1642 E. New York St., 317-917-0095

L.A. Tacos, 3367 E. 86th St., 317-974-9203

Pancho’s Taqueria, 9658 Allisonville Rd., 317-585-8427

Taqueria y Birrieria Aquies es Jalisco, 5250 W. 10th St., 317-734-3449