Mexican food needs no introduction; it’s one of the most popular cuisines in the United States. You can find delicious tacos all over the country, but especially in Texas, with its close history with Mexico, Mexican food is creative and expertly prepared. Most people already know all about pork and steak tacos – but there’s one variety that you might be less familiar with: birria tacos.

Birria is a traditional Mexican stewed meat dish that originated in Jalisco. Traditionally, birria is served at big events and special celebrations. However, tacos are always a good idea and birria tacos are an even better one, no matter the occasion. Plus, if you’ve had one tequila too many, birria, with its meaty mix of spices and flavors, makes for an excellent hangover cure.

What are birria tacos traditionally made of?

Birria is a flavorful meat stew, traditionally made from goat meat; however, you will find other varieties such as beef, lamb, and chicken. The stew is a mix of marinated meat, herbs, chiles, and spices that are cooked low and slow to achieve that melt-in-your-mouth flavor and bold red color. A thin layer of fat floats to the top of the stew and that is where the birria tacos get their magic. Tortillas are dipped in a layer of fat, filled with meat, and then fried, creating a delicious crispy, crunchy taco. It’s this crispy outer layer that makes it easy to dip the tacos in the consommé, or steaming stew broth.

Birria was born in the Mexican state of Jalisco, in the town of Cocula. Spanish conquistadors introduced various spices and animals that would forever change Mexican cuisine. Goats were among the new animals. Locals began using the meat of goats in stew and soup and birria was born. As with any dish, there are different styles of birria depending on the location. For instance, birria de res, or beef birria, hails from Tijuana. Quesabirria, made with oozing melted cheese, caught the U.S. by storm after being invented in California.

Where to eat birria tacos in Houston

Cultural influences and immigration have undoubtedly shaped Houston’s cuisine. With a large population of Tejanos, Mexicans, and Mexican-Americans, cultures clashed and melded, and eventually Tex-Mex cuisine became a Houston staple.

While Houston may not be the originator of birria tacos, or even quesabirria, the Americanized version of birria with cheese, there is one Houston chef who was one of the first to put birria on the map in the Bayou City.

Chef David Mata of Delicious Birria began receiving requests for the Mexican classic and started experimenting with his own birria recipe. According to the restaurateur, he “started with cooking one lamb a week, then five, fifteen, thirty.” Now, he says his restaurant cooks between 40 to 60 lambs per week. Houstonians can now find birria on the menu all over the city. However, all birria is not created equal. Here is where you can find some of the best birria tacos in Houston.

Birria y Taqueria

Pick a spot at one of the picnic tables for one fantastic feast of some of the best birria tacos in Houston. The quesabirria at Birria y Taqueria Houston comes out piping hot, but it’s so good it’ll be hard to wait for it to cool to take that first savory bite. Dip it in the accompanying salsa, dunk it in the consummé, and delight in its deliciousness. It’s going to get a little messy, but when it comes to eating tacos, the messier the better.

Where: 14029 Eastex Fwy, Houston, TX 77032

Delicious Birria

Delicious Birria started out serving fruit-filled drinks at Fruit Ideas Micheladas & Taqueria inside a gas station in 2010 and now has three locations across Houston meeting the huge demand for the ever-popular birria taco. The various locations may be a bit of a drive from the city center, but the complimentary chips and homemade salsa is an upfront indication that the drive is well worth it. While most places default to beef birria, you have the option for lamb at Delicious Birria. This version is the number one selling item and is the closest you’ll find to the original birria, which are typically made with goat meat.

Where: 12625 Market St Rd Houston, TX 77015, 17009 East Fwy Channelview, TX 77530, 3903 Aldine Mail Route Rd, Aldine, TX, United States, Texas

Taco Fuego

Taco Fuego lives up to its name — these halal birria tacos are  With three locations in the Houston area, you’ll be able to take your pick of where to get some of the best birria in town. The meat is spiced well and the tortilla is crispy. The birria tacos are the star of this food truck menu, however, you will also find an array of birria options; such as birria ramen, birria quesadillas, and birria burritos – so you can experience this delicious dish in many forms.

Where: 401 Franklin St., Houston, TX 77201, 1005 Katy Fort Bend Rd, Katy, TX 77493, 5550 Val Verde St., Houston, TX 77056

Birria Primos

Located inside the Underground Hall, this birria booth certainly doesn’t skimp on the meat. Served with a double tortilla to hold the heartiness, you won’t be disappointed. A side of the so-called traditional hangover soup is a must, even if you’re not battling the hangover blues. If you like to spice things up, the habanero salsa adds an additional layer of flavor, but only try if you appreciate heat.

Where: 1010 Prairie St, Houston, TX 77002

Blk Mkt Birria

Blk Mkt Birria and its fiery red birria tacos are a massive hit on the Houston food scene and it’s not hard to see why. If your palate fancies Tex-Mex, then this is your place. Opt for an order of ooey-gooey goodness with the quesabirria, their most popular dish, or feast on tacos de birria sans the Oaxacan queso. Sprinkle on some chopped onion and cilantro and you’re in for one tantalizing treat. You can usually find this food truck parked outside 8th Wonder Brewery or Spring Street Beer and Wine Garden. Be sure to check their Instagram for the location of the day.

Where: 8th Wonder Brewery, 2202 Dallas St, Houston, TX 77003, Spring Street Beer and Wine Garden, 1920 Houston Ave, Houston, TX 77007