Birria is enjoying a massive wave of popularity right now, with stands, restaurants, and carts selling birria tacos becoming some of the hottest spots in cities around the country. Originating from Mexico, where it has been a popular dish for generations, birria is a dish of stewed meat, usually goat, in reddish broth that's flavored with dried chiles and spices. Served as a stew, or scooped into corn tortillas, its incredibly deep flavor and tender texture only make you wonder why it hadn't blown up outside of its home country sooner. Of course, all that deliciousness always begs the question, how can I make this at home? Well, Tasting Table reached out to chef and cookbook author Rick Martínez to answer that question, and he had some great tips on how to translate birria to your kitchen.
Martinez's top note for homemade birria is a comforting one: Use any meat you like. Birria is probably most well-known as a dish that uses goat meat, but goat just isn't that easy to get a hold of in many parts of the U.S. However, Martinez says that birria is made with beef in many parts of Mexico, explaining that, "The meat is not as important as the adobo and the cooking method — low and slow." While using goat will be plenty delicious if you can get it, opting for affordable cuts of beef will still give you a great savory birria flavor while being far more accessible to most people.
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Any Meat Made For Slow Cooking Can Make Great Birria
It's not just different types of meat that work for birria, as you have plenty of different cuts to choose from too. Martinez says that the only concern should be that your meat can handle a long cooking time. For beef, slow-cooking favorites include flavorful cuts like chuck roast, brisket, and eye of round. Our own slow cooker beef birria recipe calls for a mix of chuck roast and short ribs for an extra-rich result. Bone-in beef shanks are also a great choice, as they are usually very cheap, have tons of beefy flavor, and the marrow from the bone will further flavor and thicken the birria broth. If you don't mind shelling out a little extra cash, you can try lamb shanks, which have a more gamey flavor similar to goat, and will tenderize into delicious shreddable chunks.
That flexibility extends to how you serve birria as well. While stew and simple tacos are popular ways to serve the dish, one of the tastiest, and most visually enticing ways to finish preparing it is to dip your tacos into the fatty birria broth and then fry them until crispy. You can also add some cheese like Oaxacan or Monterey Jack for melty quesabirria. Just don't forget to save some of the broth for dipping the crispy fried tacos.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.