The #1 Mistake To Avoid While Making Birria Tacos

Birria tacos are the ultimate comfort food wrapped up in a tortilla. Birria is stewed meat that has been seasoned with adobo. Birria was born in Mexico to deal with an overabundance of goats. Goat meat tends to have a strong game flavor, so people slow-cooked it with spices to make it more palatable (per La Autentica). In America, it's common to see stewed beef for birria tacos. According to Food & Wine, adobo seasoning is made with dried chiles, onions, and various spices. Once the meat is slow-cooked, it is served in a crispy tortilla that is dipped in the adobo broth before being eaten. Birria tacos are served with a side of consomé, which is essentially the sauce thinned out with beef stock (per A Cozy Kitchen).

In the last few years, birria tacos have taken America by storm, with the website Eater calling birria "2020's biggest taco trend." Birria taco trucks are popping up across the U.S. and even some Mexican food chains are jumping on the birria bandwagon. 

Birria's roots start in the home, however, and the dish can easily be made at home. While the ingredients and technique are pretty straightforward, there is one mistake home cooks need to avoid to get the perfect, juicy meat.

Watch the chiles when making birria tacos

Chef Claudette Zepeda's birria tacos were's most popular recipe in 2020. Zepeda shared some tips and tricks, as well as mistakes to avoid when making the perfect birria taco. 

The central part of birria is adobo, which relies on chiles. Zepeda uses seeded and dried ancho, guajillo, and cascabel chiles, but any chiles will work, so choose flavors you love. The chiles need to be first toasted in a pan and then boiled to soften the chiles and make them easy to cook. Unfortunately, the most common mistake people make is overboiling the chiles. An overboiled chile tastes bitter, which is definitely not the flavor you want for the savory birria tacos. Zepeda recommends stirring the mixture and only boiling until the chiles are soft, which is about eight minutes (per Food & Wine).

Zepeda also recommends using the entire cilantro, including the stems for the garnish. While many people are accustomed to using the leaves, the stems are often discarded. According to Save the Food, cilantro stems are perfectly edible and boost the cilantro flavor. Simply chop up the stems with the leaves and sprinkle them on top of the taco with chopped white onion.