Skip navigation
NRN Showdown

Birria, the Mexican stewed meat, is the hottest trend in tacos

Popularized in Los Angeles, its rich and flavorful qualities are being adapted across the country

Birria, spiced and stewed meat, often served with some of the broth that it was cooked in, has been popular in Los Angeles for years, but it has now hit the mainstream, with taquerias, fast-casual burrito concepts, casual dining chains, and independent restaurants all offering their versions of the delicacy.

Although originally from Jalisco, a state on Mexico’s southwestern coast, where it was originally made with goat meat, Mexican American food journalist Bill Esparza wrote on that the version of birria tacos that has become popular in the United States actually originated in Tijuana, where beef was substituted for goat because it had a higher yield.

Dipping the tacos in the broth is a custom developed in Los Angeles, he said.

Consumer research firm Datassential reported last November that birria’s appearance on menus had grown by 144% in the past four years.

Its popularity shows no sign of slowing down, nor has the popularity of its cousin, quesabirria, which is the stewed meat with cheese in a tortilla.

Now the spiced stewed meat is being served on burgers and fries, sandwiches, and in burritos, with more innovations no-doubt on the horizon.

Take a look at some recent interpretations of birria.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Correction: April 19, 2023
This gallery has been updated to reflect the fact that El Pollo Loco's birria items are back on the menu.
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.