What is birria? It’s a good question, and I hadn’t even heard the word until this summer. Technically, it’s a soup or stew from Jalisco cooked at low heat for a long time. It usually features goat meat and adobo.
Adobo is complicated and it can mean slightly different things, but here we’re talking Mexican food so it is a red chile spice with citrus, garlic, cumin and oregano. You can buy it by the bag at King Soopers on the Mexican food aisle.
In the last several years, birria tacos have become extremely popular. Their what is called a “social media darling.” It’s a taco served with meat from the birria stew and served alongside a bowl of the stew (it’s more of a broth). As one eats the tacos, it is dipped into the broth before each bite like a French Dip sandwich. At least that’s my understanding, I am not a birria expert, I just eat the stuff.
When I learned of a birria restaurant in Greeley, Colorado, I had to go. This time, I took Ryan as we had some holiday-related errands. By the way, if you haven’t been to Greeley lately, it’s time to go.
Birrieria Doña Maria is all about, you guessed it, birria. They have a lot of dishes featuring this style of meat in goat or beef. Why Ryan went with a Doritos-covered burrito I will never understand.
The restaurant has that warm-Mexican joint feeling with booths down one side and a bar on the other. Chips and salsa came out quickly followed up by drink and food orders.
I had a Pacifico and the three birria tacos plate because birria is why I had come. It was served with sides of onion, cilantro, and green salsa, along with a small bowl of the birria stew, which is actually more like adobo broth.
Eating birria tacos isn’t pretty and you may not want to order it on a first date, but it’s delicious. A big difference between this and other tacos is that the tortilla is reddish. That’s due to the fact that it is dipped in the adobe broth, filled with meat, and then thrown on the grill.
There’s a wonderful juxtaposition between the crispy tortilla and melt-in-your-mouth meat. Plus, the fried tortilla stands up to the dipping better when it’s a bit crispy. Some have described the tastes of birria meat as “sweet and sour.” I would say that it’s rich and savory. The adobo is not particularly spicy, but full of flavor.
I like Birrieria Doña Maria and I think you should give it a try. After all, what a great excuse to do some shopping in Greeley.
Birrieria Doña Maria, 1825 9th Street, Greeley, Colorado 80631
Until next time, happy holidays and have a birria taco!