A plate of piping-hot, oven-roasted goat meat is placed in front of me, a crusty top layer sealing in its juicy underbelly. Gorgeous handmade tortillas wrapped in a clean white towel soon arrive, along with a steaming bowl of consommé, a broth with enough tomato and oregano to please the most demanding Mexican grandmother.
I make my first taco, dip it messily in the broth, and bite down, savoring the fragrant clove and oregano and the tender meat, which is almost butter-like, except for the top crust that provides a delightful crunch.
I came to Birriería El Chololo in Tlaquepaque, a town just outside of Guadalajara, Mexico, for birria, the marinated meat dish that’s one of the state of Jalisco’s most iconic foods. The restaurant resides off a sleepy plaza where a few food vendors are serving carnitas and barbacoa to the weekend crowd.
Birria has long been popular in Mexico, but it has recently skyrocketed to fame in the U.S., too. In fact, these days you can find iterations of the dish north of the border that may not be found in Mexico: birria eggs Benedict, birria burritos, birria ramen—even premade frozen birria from Trader Joe’s. People everywhere, it seems, are suddenly in love with the dish.