Birria tacos have ascended as one of the country’s hottest street eats. The images are all over social media: hands ceremoniously dunking them into accompanying cups of consommé. Traditionally prepared in Mexico with slow-braised beef or goat, the tender meat is stuffed into a taco, then given a quick sear on each side on the griddle or a quick fry in the pan.
In Baton Rouge, you can find birria tacos in a range of different spots, including restaurants, food trucks and traditional taquerias. Chow Yum Phat is one.
“We tried them first when we were doing food at Beauvoir Park, and it led to us doing them as a special,” Chow Yum Phat co-founder Jordan Ramirez says. “People loved them, and it just kind of turned into a thing.”
The pan-Asian restaurant runs its riff on birria tacos as a special every Tuesday for lunch and dinner. The kitchen braises beef short ribs in ginger and Szechuan spices for four to five hours. Fork tender, it’s shredded and folded it into flour tortillas with two different cheeses. Then, the tacos are briefly grilled on the flat top, giving them their characteristic toothsome exterior. The restaurant’s take on consommé sees rich beef stock infused with citrus, ginger and other ingredients. The tacos are topped with traditional onion and cilantro, and joined by pickled carrot and daikon slaw and a side of Ramirez’s signature hot sauce.
The idea is to spritz the taco with lime and a hit of hot sauce, then dunk it into the broth like a French dip. Here, the slaw chaser provides a fresh palate cleanser between bites.
“We’ve been selling upwards of 100 tacos every Tuesday,” Ramirez says. “For a ramen place, that’s pretty crazy.”
The birria taco special comes with four beef birria tacos served with a small Styrofoam cup of consommé.
At this taqueria, you can also find versions with goat or chicken.
Modesto founder and owner Ozzie Fernandez grew up eating birria tacos when he spent summers as a child visiting family in northern Mexico. He added them to the restaurant’s list of tacos when Modesto opened in September 2020.
“We make it with prime brisket, stewed for several hours,” Fernandez says. “And we serve it with a beef consommé that we make with guajillo chiles. It’s pretty traditional.”
The shredded brisket, along with Oaxaca cheese, is stuffed into a housemade tortilla and grilled briefly on each side in beef tallow rendered from the brisket, which Fernandez says gives the tacos an extra depth of flavor. They’re garnished with cilantro, onion and fresh radish and served with the consommé and tomatillo salsa.
Others spots around town to try birria
• Baton Rouge food entrepreneur Valencia Labostrie serves birria tacos with a Southern flair from her BR Guilty Pleasures food tent, which she sets up at 12065 Florida Blvd. on different days of the week. She also prepares them at the bar Culture Reggae Club on Tuesdays. Follow BR Guilty Pleasures on Facebook or Instagram.
• The authentic taqueria menu at Azteca’s food truck includes birria tacos, elote (Mexican street corn) and many other items to try. The truck sets up varying days of the week at9375 Florida Blvd. Follow it on Facebook or Instagram.