Do you birria?
If you don’t, you’re missing out on a true comfort food delight, a perfect dish to tuck into when the cold winds blow and your belly is calling out for fried, meaty goodness.
Originating in Jalisco, Mexico, birria is a savory stew traditionally made with goat or lamb, but more recently has been prepared with ground beef. Meat is marinated in a sauce made with a variety of peppers and spices and cooked until it’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. If you’re using a taco as your birria delivery system, stuff the meat into corn tortillas that are often dipped in the birria broth before being thrown on a griddle.
Top each taco with onion and cilantro, and dip the whole thing into broth, known as consome, between bites.
Want to try birria tacos? Check out these five spots to get your fix.
Birria el Gordo. Expect to wait in line to try the birria at this unassuming spot, one of the only places to find vegan birria in metro Atlanta. In addition to jackfruit, options include shredded beef, goat or chicken. You can try your favorite birria in a quesataco with cheese or in the crunchy tacos dorados, and order a side of consome for dipping.
350 Pat Mell Road, Marietta. 678-503-0114, instagram.com/birria.el.gordo/?hl=en
Slapping Tacos. Popping up since last May at Cornerstore Grocery in Atlanta, Slapping Tacos does birria every which way, including birria shrimp, noodles and pizza. But Chicago native Chasity Roman Hill made her name with her birria tacos, which she calls “Wet Tacos.” She stuffs her tacos with beef cooked with spices including oregano, sazon and adobo, as well as a variety of peppers. She adds cheese, onions and cilantro, serving them with a side of consome. “It’s a Mexican dish, but I put a Puerto Rican touch on it,” she said of her take on birria. Roman Hill plans to turn Slapping Tacos into a food truck, but in the meantime, you can find her from noon-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays at Cornerstore.
1407 Metropolitan Parkway, Atlanta. facebook.com/DatWet365
Chef Smokey ATL. Mauro Cruz — aka Chef Smokey — started out in the restaurant business as a dishwasher, working his way up to being a cook before leaving the industry to work in construction. A lack of work due to COVID-19 made him look for other income opportunities — and prompted a return to his roots. Cruz, who was raised in Guerrero, Mexico, hasn’t looked back since selling 50 pounds of birria on his first day last April. He started out selling plates of his birria, made with beef, chuck roast and brisket marinated in “a little bit of everything,” then slow-cooked outside with a wood chimney. He’s since expanded to selling birria and quesabirria tacos, chimichangas, fries and pizzas, and plans to open a restaurant in Austell in March. In the meantime, check Chef Smokey’s Instagram account for pop-up locations.
DMT Tacos. When Daniela Guevara lost her restaurant job last spring due to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, she paired up with Marco Saldierna, whom she previously worked with at Bacchanalia. The pair launched DMT Tacos — pulling in the first letters of their first names — over the summer, and have since gained a following for both their traditional dishes (asada and carnitas tacos and tortas) and more unique offerings (horchata doughnuts, tofu chicharron tacos). The birria tacos fall into the latter category. “Our generation takes their own spin on it, but I didn’t want to do something trendy,” Guevara said. The pop-up’s version uses slow-braised beef bones, knuckles, brisket and a couple of other cuts of meat marinated in a sauce of tomatoes, chiles guajillos, bay leaves and cloves, along with a consome on the side for dipping. Ask for cheese to turn it into a quesabirria taco. DMT Tacos currently pops up from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at We Suki Suki in East Atlanta and from 5-9 p.m. Wednesdays at Boggs Social and Supply in West End.
We Suki Suki, 479B Flat Shoals Ave., Atlanta, and Boggs Social and Supply, 1310 White St. SW, Atlanta. dmtacos.com/
Big Mike Tacos. Micah Hines fell into starting a taco pop-up as what he calls a “COVID pivot.” Hines, who managed and produced special events, saw work dry up as the pandemic took hold. Leaning on previous experience cooking for other restaurants and pop-ups, Hines, along with his wife, Cherika, launched Big Mike Tacos. “It combines the best of both of my worlds — events with tacos,” he said of the food trailer, which pops up around metro Atlanta, including at Greenbriar Mall, Triton Yards food truck park and Atlantucky Brewery. Hines first started out offering traditional tacos, but got so many requests for birria tacos from his fans — whom he calls TACOliens —that he threw himself into researching how to make the perfect birria. The Johnson & Wales grad “learned the history” of birria and developed his own recipe using a blend of steak and chuck roast slow-cooked with a blend of peppers and the spices cinnamon, nutmeg and Mexican oregano. He adds a “signature swag” of cheese, sour cream, onion and cilantro, dips the tortilla in the consome and puts the tacos on the grill to “let it crisp up.” Coming three to an order, the birria tacos — known as the Bad and Boujee on the menu, an homage to Migos’ hit of the same name — are now a regular menu fixture. Hines’ next stop? Birria noodles. Check Hines’ Instagram to see where to find him each week.
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