Birria served with condiments
Place of originMexico
Region or stateJalisco
Main ingredientsMeat (typically goat or beef), dried chili peppers

Birria (Spanish: [ˈbirja] ) is a meat stew or soup made from goat, beef, lamb, mutton, or chicken. The meat is marinated in an adobo made of vinegar, dried chiles, garlic, and herbs and spices (including cumin, bay leaves, and thyme) before being cooked in a broth (Spanish: consomé).

Birria is a Mexican dish from the state of Jalisco. It is often served at celebratory occasions such as weddings, baptisms and during holidays such as Christmas and Easter and even at funerals. Preparation techniques vary, but the dish is often served with corn tortillas, onion, cilantro, and lime.[1][2]

Restaurants or street carts that serve birria are known as birrierias[3] and exist throughout Mexico, especially in Michoacán and Jalisco. However, neighboring Mexican states have their own variations of the dish, including Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, and Colima.[1][4]


In 1519, Hernán Cortés and the Conquistadors first landed in Mexico,[5] bringing various old-world domestic animals, including goats. During the Conquest of the Aztec Empire, the Conquistadors were faced with an overpopulation of goats, so they decided to give the animals to the natives.

While goat meat was looked down upon by the Conquistadors, as it was tough and had a strong smell, the natives accepted the animals, as marinating the meat in indigenous styles made it palatable and appetizing.

The dishes they produced were called "birria", a derogatory term meaning "worthless", by the Spanish, in reference to their having given the natives meat with apparently noxious characteristics.[6] According to legend, the dish was invented accidentally during the eruption of a volcano, when a shepherd was forced to abandon his goats in a cave where they were cooked perfectly by the steam.[3]


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Traditionally birria was served on bread, tortillas or even directly in hand. Many variations of the dish have derived since.[7]

In 1950, a taquero named Guadalupe Zarata set up a taco stand in Tijuana,[7] after moving there from Coatzingo, Puebla. Zarata's stand initially sold asado and pastor tacos. Zárate soon decided to make beef birria because goat meat was more expensive and less fatty. One day, someone told Zárate to add more liquid to the meat. The resulting dish is now known as Tijuana-style beef birria, making a household name among birrierias for being the first person in Tijuana to make birria with consomé.

During the 2010s, the Quesabirria (a taco stuffed with birria and cheese, often served with consommé) became popular in North America after first being developed in Tijuana.[citation needed] Another variation using instant ramen originated in Mexico City and later gained popularity in the Los Angeles area.[8][9]

Other versions of the dish include birria tatemada (charred birria). After marinating and simmering the meat, it is placed in a hot oven until crispy.[3]


See also


  1. ^ a b Rafael Hernández, "Birria," in Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Cultural Traditions, Vol. 1 (2012, ed. María Herrera-Sobek).
  2. ^ Tamez, Abraham; Barreras, Roxana (2021-02-26). "Birria: its successful ancestral secret recipe". Archived from the original on 2021-08-02. Retrieved 2023-06-18.
  3. ^ a b c Herrera-Sobek, María (2012). Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Cultural Traditions. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-34339-1.
  4. ^ Rao, Tejal (2021-02-08). "The Birria Boom is Complicated but Simply Delicious". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2021-02-08. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  5. ^ "Hernan Cortes".
  6. ^ Cardenas, Juan Ramon (2021). La Senda del Cabrito. Ediciones Larousse. ISBN 978-6072123663.
  7. ^ a b Olaechea, Carlos C. (2022-04-12). "What Is Birria?". Food Network. Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  8. ^ Yu, Lynn Q. (31 July 2019). "Birria and ramen. It just makes sense". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 January 2024.
  9. ^ Levinson, Jonathan (1 January 2018). "Send Noodz: This Birria-Ramen Mashup Is Here for Your Hangover". Retrieved 22 January 2024.