Tacos have been a staple of Mexican cuisine for centuries, and birria tacos have recently taken the world by storm. Originating from the state of Jalisco, Mexico, birria is traditionally made with goat meat, although beef and lamb are also common substitutions. It’s often served as a stew or consommé and accompanied by handmade tortillas and a side of lime and chopped onions. However, modern chefs have taken this dish to the next level by smoking the meat and serving it as a taco.
If you’ve never tried smoked birria tacos before, you’re in for a treat. The tender, smoky meat is the perfect filling for a warm tortilla, and the consommé is the perfect dipping sauce. Whether you’re a fan of traditional Mexican food or just looking for a new take on tacos, smoked birria tacos are a must-try.
The Beauty of Smoked Birria Tacos
Smoked birria tacos are a combination of traditional birria and the art of smoking meat. Here are some of the key elements that make this dish so unique:
Birria is known for its succulent, tender meat that falls apart in your mouth. To achieve this, the meat is slow-cooked for hours in a flavorful broth until it’s fork-tender. With smoked birria, the meat is first marinated in a spice blend and then smoked for several hours over wood chips. This adds a depth of flavor to the meat that can’t be replicated in a traditional birria recipe.
The tortilla is just as important as the filling in a taco, and smoked birria tacos are no exception. Traditional birria tacos are served with handmade tortillas, and smoked birria tacos are no different. The tortillas are made from masa harina and pressed by hand before being cooked on a comal (a flat iron griddle). This gives them a slightly crispy texture that complements the tender meat.
Finally, the consommé is what truly sets birria tacos apart from any other kind of taco. Consommé is a clear broth made by simmering the meat and seasonings in water. To make it even more flavorful, the broth is often strained several times to remove any impurities. The consommé is served on the side of the taco and used for dipping, adding another dimension of flavor to the dish.
How to Make Smoked Birria Tacos at Home
While you can certainly go to a restaurant and order smoked birria tacos, making them at home is a fun and satisfying experience. Here’s a basic recipe that you can use:
– 4 lbs beef chuck roast
– 8 ancho chiles
– 1 onion, chopped
– 6 garlic cloves, minced
– 2 tbsp cumin
– 2 tbsp oregano
– 1 tbsp smoked paprika
– Salt and pepper, to taste
– 24 corn tortillas
– Limes, chopped onions, and cilantro, for serving
1. Soak the ancho chiles in hot water for 30 minutes. Remove the seeds and stems and blend them with a cup of the soaking liquid until smooth.
2. Combine the beef, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and blended chiles in a large bowl. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours (or overnight).
3. Preheat your smoker to 250°F. Remove the beef from the marinade and smoke for 3-4 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 203°F.
4. Remove the beef from the smoker and let it rest for 30 minutes. Shred the meat with two forks.
5. Heat the tortillas on a comal or skillet until slightly crispy.
6. To assemble the tacos, place a small amount of the shredded meat on each tortilla. Top with chopped onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve with the consommé for dipping.
FAQs about Smoked Birria Tacos
Q: What kind of meat can I use for birria tacos?
A: Traditionally, goat is used for birria, but beef and lamb are also common substitutions.
Q: Can I make birria tacos without a smoker?
A: Yes! While smoking the meat does add a delicious smoky flavor, you can also make birria by slow-cooking the meat in a Dutch oven or slow cooker over low heat.
Q: Do I have to make my own tortillas?
A: Not necessarily. While handmade tortillas are the most authentic, you can use store-bought tortillas if you don’t have the time or resources to make your own.
Smoked birria tacos are a delicious twist on a classic Mexican dish that is worth trying. The combination of tender, smoky meat, handmade tortillas, and flavorful consommé is simply irresistible. Whether you’re making this dish at home or trying it at a restaurant, be sure to savor every bite.