Orders for Mexican food delivery among Americans have been reported as being more adventurous as choices now go beyond usual favorites like tacos and burritos. Based on a DoorDash Inc. consumer report covering data of orders received between January 2019 and October 2020, a dish that has been gaining wide popularity is birria, a traditional Mexican dish that originated from Jalisco.
However, those who have not tried a birria before should first have an idea about the dish because it’s mostly chile, spices and fat.
A Brief Background about Birria
Birria is a dish from Jalisco,Mexico but has gained popularity throughout the country as a special dish served during celebrations like baptisms, weddings and holidays like Easter and Christmas. The original birria is made from goat meat braised in chili and stewed until the meat has fallen off the bones.
Today the meat for a burria can be replaced with beef or mutton and called “birria de res.” Regardless of the kind of meat used as the main ingredient, one thing that makes birria a distinct dish is the guajillo chili.
Served in bowls like soup, a birria dish is topped with cilantro and white onions, and eaten with whichever Mexican staples preferred, such as fresh tortillas, tacos, quesadillas or rice.
Birria’s Cooking Process
Birria’s cooking process starts with braising the meat with various chiles but mostly guajillo, and then stewing the meat in a concoction of apple cider vinegar and a mix of spices like oregano, salt, cumin, peppercorns, thyme, and garlic. The seasoned meat is slow-cooked until the meat turns into feathery pieces after they have separated from the bones.
Other birria versions include tomatoes or tomatillos; banana leaves or avocados, while some add ginger, cinnamon, or any dried herbs for levelling up the dish’s taste.
The traditional method of cooking birria is a very long and laborious process. Some Mexican cooks soften the chiles in water first before adding them to the spices, as a way to reduce the cooking time. The spicy concoction is then diluted with water and boiled along with the chunks of spice-braised meat. The mixture is made to simmer for about three to four hours. If looking to further reduce the cooking time, modern Mexican cooks simply use a pressure cooker or a multi cooker.
Guajillo is the main chili ingredient for birria and if other chiles would be used as a main flavoring, the taste would be different. Unlike other Mexican dishes to which guajillo is an ingredient, the chili is added only to balance and add body to spicy marinades, moles, and salsas.