In a realm where comfort food, cheese-pull snapshots and glammed up street dishes coincide, birria tacos are king.
Although the most traditional Mexican birria tacos, those popularized in Jalisco state, are filled with stewed goat that’s cooked low and slow, most local renditions here are stuffed with long-simmered, chile-scented beef birria.
Birria, we should note, refers to the stewed and shredded meat, not the taco. The word itself translates loosely to “worthless mess.” But while these tacos can be messy, they’re far from worthless.
Here are five favorite restaurants for birria tacos
El Rucon birria truck
Welcome to Palm Beach County’s premier birria taco truck. It made its debut in October 2020 as a backup mobile kitchen for taco chef Mauricio Lorenzana’s main El Rucon food truck in the Palm Springs area. Lorenzana opened the original truck eight months earlier, just before the coronavirus outbreak.
His over-the-top creations, which pay tribute to his native Mexico as well as to the hybrid-cuisine taco trucks of California, were a hit among younger taco lovers here. So much so that he needed the backup truck, just to handle El Rucon’s birria orders. And Lorenzana’s food proved so popular, he opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant – El Rucon Restaurante – in Haverhill in October 2021.
El Rucon’s stewed and shredded beef birria is stuffed into sauce-dipped corn tortillas with onions, cilantro and melting cheese, griddled till crispy and sold at the truck (and the restaurant) for $3.50 per taco. For $4, you get a cup of the rich birria consommé for dipping.
There are birria options beyond tacos at the El Rucon locations. The menu includes birria quesadillas (made with flour tortillas), torta de birria (stuffed into a bun with guacamole and served with fries) and even birria ramen, a dish inspired by Lorenzana’s time working for Ramen Lab at the Grandview Public Market. In fact, he buys the noodles for his birria ramen from his friends at Ramen Lab. And, for the pairing, El Rucon offers aguas frescas dotted with boba pearls.
“It’s street food. I get inspiration from everywhere, and I always try to do something a little different,” the Puebla-born Lorenzana, 27, said in Spanish. “People who are super Mexican come here and say, ‘That’s not Mexican food.’ Yes, it may have other inspirations but the flavors are Mexican.”
You can order El Rucon’s locally famous birria at the brick-and-mortar restaurant or the two-truck site, which sits by an auto mechanic shop. But if it’s the full El Rucon vibe you seek, try the big, lime-green truck first. On weeknights, the birria action starts before dusk and goes to 11 p.m. You park in the grassy lot next to the auto shop and walk over to place your order. You’ll be in the company of birria devotees.
El Rucon: The trucks are parked at 3593 S. Military Tr. in Palm Springs; open Monday through Friday from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m. The brick-and-mortar restaurant is at 1099 N. Military Tr. in Haverhill; open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. For more information, visit ElRucon.com or call 561-855-6149.
Beyond Taco Tuesday:11 taquerías ready to fix your cravings
Tucked into the corner of an Indiantown Road plaza in Jupiter, this traditional Mexican spot is popular for its dramatic signature dishes served in enormous molcajetes (volcanic-rock mortars) brimming with meats, veggies, nopales and cheese and presented sizzling.
But on weekends, the thing to order at El Fogoncito is the birria tacos. As a special on Saturdays and Sundays, the restaurant serves birria de res (beef birria, $14.99), chuck meat cooked in a guajillo and ancho chile sauce, served with a cup of the cooking consommé for dipping, plus onions, cilantro, spicy house-made salsa and four corn tortillas.
Also on weekends, they offer quesa-tacos de birria ($12.99) stuffed with beef birria and Monterey Jack cheese and grilled. The melty tacos are sprinkled with onion and cilantro and presented with spicy salsa and a cup of consommé for dipping.
El Fogoncito: 711 West Indiantown Road, Jupiter; 561-250-6295, ElFogoncitoRestaurant.com
This family-owned restaurant, a taco truck spin-off, takes its name and inspiration from the owners’ native city in Mexico. And as Guadalajara, the city, is located in Jalisco state, it’s only natural that Guadalajara, the Lake Park restaurant, would feature one of Jalisco’s signature dishes, tacos de birria.
You won’t find them on the regular menu, but they’re offered daily as a chalkboard special for $3 per taco. These are served on doubled-up, toasted corn tortillas and generously stuffed and served with garnishes. If you order three tacos, you get a cup of the birria braising consommé for dipping.
Pro tip: Order a side of melted queso for drizzling on top.
Enjoy your tacos in a dining room that’s done up in Jalisco-made decorative touches, including vibrantly painted wood tables and chairs.
Guadalajara Restaurant: 905 U.S. Hwy 1, Lake Park, 561-814-5740, GuadalajaraRest.com
La Cabana Latin Grill
Open since 2018, La Cabana serves Cuban and Mexican dishes, including griddled birria tacos, on a busy stretch of South Dixie Highway. The birria offerings are a bit different here because the restaurant offers them with a choice of shredded meat – beef, chicken or lamb.
The “birria quesa-tacos” are stuffed with melting cheese, griddled till crispy and served with a small cup of dipping broth. You get three to an order ($11.99 for beef or chicken, $12.99 for lamb).
La Cabana Latin Grill: 7116 S Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, 561-766-2940, LaCabanaLatinGrill.com
Bodega Taquería y Tequila
With South Beach roots and a lively vibe, this new downtown West Palm Beach spot offers a fairly extensive taco menu with countless toppings combos. That menu at Bodega Taquería includes a flavorful taco de birria option ($5 per taco) that’s made with beef short rib that’s braised in a guajillo-accented sauce. The taco also boasts Oaxaca cheese, cilantro, red onions and avocado salsa.
There’s also a birria quesadilla option here ($12), stuffed with the same ingredients but served in a flour tortilla.
True to its name, Bodega offers plenty of tequila and mezcal cocktails for the pairing.
Bodega Taquería y Tequila: 118 S. Clematis St., West Palm Beach, 561-559-3119, BodegaTaqueria.com