the spot: Birrieria Gonzalez multiple locations in Los Angeles, tested and approved in Compton CA
the eats: everything, tacos de birria de res, dorado tacos, mulitas, basically whatever you feel with birria de res
the bucks: $2 a taco and the tacos are fat(for LA street tacos), plan on spending $7-$10 to be stuffed
the full nelson: my first run at birria de res and it lived up to the hype
When it comes to digging deep into the wonderful world of Mexican food, some eats hit you like a Mack Truck. Carnitas tacos in a vibrant and creamy avocado salsa with pickled habanero and onion come to mind. Or for the more pedestrian eater, chips and salsa. Some Mexican foods are a bit more complex and require repeated experiences to fully comprehend and appreciate the flavor. Chicken Molé comes to mind and to a lesser extent, birría de res.
Birría typically arrives in a bowl to your table, but the meat lurking in the intense red broth has a toothsome quality that indicates the cooking does not involve simply braising as much as a moist roast(to borrow a phrase from Rick Bayless). Like Barbacoa, birría means meats cooked till very tender and can be served in tortillas or on their own with a bowl of consommé on the side or sometimes in a bowl with the consommé. The deep crimson broth is half the draw thanks to a generous use of dried chilis like guajillo. Yeah, birría is pretty f****ing hardcore.
The first time I had birría was with goat. The deep earthy flavors of the chiles used in the adobo marinade pair perfect with the gamey flavor profile of goat. Sometimes lamb is used. Now being a the child of Bengali immigrants I got no problems stepping up to a plate of goat. But I was chasing something new: birría de res, a Tijuana version of birría where beef is used, hence the res(if you didn’t take Spanish in school).
Birría de Res was straight trending on my Instagram feed thanks to sites like LA TACO and I knew the next time I was in LA, I had to try it. I would have thought Teddy’s Red Tacos would have been my first stop, but thanks to my boy Hadley Tomicki, LA based food writer(for the LA Times no less), I made a trip to Birrieria Gonzalez.
With multiple locations in LA plus like 60k followers on Instagram, Birrieria Gonzalez must be doing something right. I dipped over to this truck after a bowl of menudo from a guy literally named Mr Menudo that was on the same block in Compton. Yeah, I did a hardcore Mexican food crawl in Compton. God, I miss LA.
And I definitely miss these. At $2 a pop, Birrieria Gonzalez delivers some damn good Bang for your Taco Buck. These tacos were stuffed with beef, well coined by Hadley as “meat doobies”. The beef was tender and flavorful like only slow cooked meats can deliver. I still love goat and lamb versions of birría but I have to admit I can see how people with an aversion to game meat can find themselves more than content with birría de res.
DAMN. SOLID. TACOS. Getting these birría de res tacos with the tortillas soaked in the consommé was like eating the taco version of an Italian Beef.
Oh birría de res . . . I’m a fan for life.