Barbacoa Vs Birria-Dissimilarities Between Barbacoa & Birria

Are you jumbled? And want to know the difference between Barbacoa and Birria? Choose your favorite then. Let’s dig in with us. Barbacoa and Birria both are mouthwatering dishes. They are known as the best Mexican cuisine. Let’s go down and seize up to know what makes them distinct from each other. 

Mexico is famous for its food culture, and similarly, meat is it is popular central in so many dishes. Across the country, meat and Mexican dishes are diverse in range and quantity. Well, how can we move from Barbacoa and Birria, they are the most favored dishes of meat. 

These two popular types of meat are the most confusing for people. They both are the most flavorful meats. Nobody can exactly get to know what they both do have common in them and what are the things that make them different. Barbacoa and Birria most delicious and a bit different kinds of dishes that will be known to you from now. 


What is Barbacoa & Birria? 

Just like you, so many other people are confused, about Barbacoa and Birria. Fundamentally, Birria is a product of Barbacoa. After merging Barbacoa, you can make Birria. Birria is a meat and its long range of variety depends on where you are in Mexico. Similarly, Barbacoa came from Central Mexico, its name originated from its cooking process.

By using lamb and goat milk you can make Barbacoa. Dipped and sliced in consomme sauce. It is different from Birria and can be eaten as per your desired mood. You can eat Barbacoa with tacos and tortas as meat. On the other hand, Birria is entirely submerged in the sauce. It’s a juicy blend of Barbacoa meat. Your meat sits above the sauce in it. 

Herbs, tomatoes, and onions are added to prepare the juicy blend of Birria. On a tortilla wrap, you can enjoy this Birria meat by adding cheese with Birria tacos. You can make anybody go crazy to enjoy Birria tacos. Both dishes are quite delicious but different. You should remember, you need to have both dishes in form of meat. In so many Mexican regions they are made with beef and that is fine to keep your taste up. Because in Mexico, you cannot have easy access to lamb or goat meat. So far beef is a better option after a shortage of lamb or goat meat. 

Dissimilarities between Barbacoa & Birria: 

There are a few key differences between Barbacoa and Birria. You need to know before making any of them your final choice. Let us distinguish between these two classical Mexican dishes. 


Both dishes, Barbacoa and Birria tend to look alike. But some prominent differences can be remembered. Let’s say we first talk about, Barbacoa. dried guajillo and chile peppers need to add to Barbacoa to make it more delicious and dried. Guajillo chiles seem to taste mild and sweet and the addition they give is mixed dried fruit with black tea. 

Barbacoa is made of beef, goat, and lamb milk. It tastes like a savory-flavored dish. And we give medium heat to it by adding cumin, onion, and garlic. It’s minor spicy and tangy in its origin. If you want to add vinegar and like it will give you the pleasure of a bit of tartness. 

On the contrary, Birra is a blend of Barbacoa. So you can idea how much their taste could be different. Birria is a slow-cooking process dish that is a classic meaty stew. It tastes, spicy, tangy smokey, and savory as well. Sometimes traditionally, you can cook it with goat meat. But mutton, lamb and beef, and chicken options are still there. 


We don’t exactly know from where in Mexico, Barbacoa comes, but in different states, this thing varies. From the islands of Barbados, people like to have Barbacoa in their cooking style. They are considered Taino, people from the Caribbean. You can easily get Barbacoa in different cities in Mexico. But this offer seems convenient only on Saturdays and Sundays. Other than this it’s hard to find Barbacoa the next day in the street stalls. 

Contrasted to Barbacoa, Birria is easily found and easy to know. It belongs to the state of Jalisco named Guadalajara. And after a lot of people’s suggestions, it’s found true that, if u want to have the best Birria you can get it from different parts of the state in Mexico. Best Birria belongs to the Mex city, in the state of Aguascalientes. Goats were introduced after the exchange of the 16 century by Spaniards. 

Cooking Method: 

Different methods are preferred to cook both dishes, Barbacoa and Birria. For cooking Barbacoa, the most popular and known way is to, wrap the meat in banana or agave leaves. And then underground it for steam cook. And on the other hand, so many people prefer to cook it by grilling it on open fire flame. The word itself says, Barbacoa “ to cook over fire”. 

Whereas Birria is preferred to cook by soaking meat in a flavorful sauce. Then you need to seal the meat and sauce tightly with a dough. A high heat source is required, in the underground hole. Then several hours of continuous cooked until the meat is tendered completely and falling off the bones.

When both dishes are cooked properly, the end of the results seems like “Shredded meat” 

Where does Barbacoa come from? 

Before Mexico, From the islands of Barbados, and the people of Taino (Caribbean) Barbacoa seems to originate from them. Different States of Mexico used to cooked Barbacoa in different ways, like with raisins. Northern Mexico’s people used to cooked Barbacoa from the beef head and often it is prepared from goat meat. 

baby bell cheese your desired cheese balls here .

Where does Birria come from? 


Unlike Barbacoa, birria’s origin is far better known to so many people. It came from the state of Jalisco, and so many people say that the best Birria can be found in the state of Mexico. The best of the best Birria dishes, in excellent form in the Guadalajara state of Jalisco. Its history originated when goats were first brought from Spain to Mexico. 

What is alike to Birria? 

Barbacoa and Birria, are quite similar to each other. The only basic and major difference is in their flavors. For now, you better know Birria comes from Barbacoa meat. Birria sauce is the only thing, that makes it popular and distinct from Barbacoa. When Birria meat is soaked and drenched in a special sauce, it gives a special kind of flavor and taste to the dish. 

Do you know? Birria is the shredded meat from Barbacoa. All you need to do is submerge it in a sauce and enjoy the dish in so many different ways. Types of meat could be varying, but only particular cooking styles will be used. The addition of extra things and flavors is adjustable. You can enjoy your Birria meat with Tacos as well. Tacos’ taste can also be different in varying regions and traditions. 

Ways to Eat Barbacoa: 

You can enjoy your Barbacoa meat-prepared dish. Mexicans used to prepare this dish on special occasions. A Unique way of preparation, peasant appearance, reflects consideration of delicacy in Mexico. 

If you are wondered that, what to serve with Barbacoa beef, then you’ve arrived at the right place. Here’s the shortest answer of your rush! Some of your favorite side sites to best serve with Barbacoa are following.

  • Corn tortillas 
  • Cilantro lime rice 
  • Pickled red onions 
  • Pico De gallo 
  • Frijoles De olla 
  • Dill pickle coleslaw 

Spruce up your desired Barbacoa beef and enjoy mouthwatering dishes. 

Ways to Eat Birria: 

Birria is just like a large soup and is better served in a deep dish. When you submerged the meat in the sauce it seems entirely like a soup. You can add chopped onion and oregano leaves to add more charm to Birria soup. Beans are also an option to add to the mix. 

  • Consomme (lighter soup) 
  • Meat shredded
  • Tacos with the addition of some sauce, cheese and onion
  • To fill tamales 
  • Adding to noodles 

On the contrary, you can eat Birria alone in a stew. And if you’re interested to make a taco inside tortilla wrap then you can drain the sauce. 

Step by Step guidance of cooking Barbacoa: 

Here we are going to briefly explain the step-by-step process of cooking Barbacoa, so you better know what to expect. Each country and region prefers its way of cooking which can be confusing for you. But you must give attention to your suitable way. 

  • At first you need to dig a 2 into 2 meters trough in the ground. 
  • The trough then need to be filled with coal fire. 
  • Then, cover up the both sides of the trough with  maguey leaves and one side to another with coal fire. 
  • A grill grate is required then to cover the it. 
  • On the hot coals, large pieces of spicy meats are placed. You can use any meat, like lamb, goat chicken or more beef. 
  • Cover up the meat with leaves to the fullest. 
  • 11 hours of dirt to seal by covering holes with iron sheet. 

A constant temperature and heat to best prepare your tasty and tender Barbacoa. Now, be ready to enjoy the matchless smell of tender meat and it’s delicious taste. 

Step by Step guidance of cooking Birria: 

Now moving toward Birria, we know you are equally curious to become aware of Birria’s cooking method. The first and foremost way to enjoy Birria is to serve it with consomme sauce. Spicy stew and Mexican chillies can add on more scrumptious love to Birria. 

Let’s get to see how can we enjoy more Birria recipes in different cooking ways. 

  • 2 pounds of meat, with the beef boon beef neck, is here to boil on a medium flame. After boiling it you need to remove all the parts of fats and foam. 
  • 5 garlic cloves and one onion is to add on the pot. 
  • Now is the time to add seasoning in the pot. One tablespoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of chicken bouillon. 
  • For amazing Mexican flavor you m, you must add Mexican chilies. 
  • 3 chile ancho, 3 chile pasilla and 13 guajillos are need to aded to add and wash properly. 
  • Now is the time to water addition, with 3 tomatoes and 4/5 garlic cloves for making and preparing soup. 
  • Let your chilies toast on medium flame. 
  • Toasted chilies are need to add one by one into the pot of hot water with tomatoes. 
  • Dry leaves, cinnamon stick, and dry seasoning as per your need and desire are required to add them to water. 
  • Let all these things cook for 5 minutes. 
  • After cooling it down let them blend in the blender. 
  • Now the sauce is ready to add on the meat pot and cook for ¾ hours continously. 

Rich and juicy flavored filled Birria is ready to serve. The choice would be yours if you would like to serve as stew or with tacos.

What types of meat does Mexico prefer to use in Barbacoa or Birria? 

In Mexico, Birria and Barbacoa are preferred to cook in goat meat with traditional manner. Whereas other kinds of options are available to utilize like, lamb, beef, or chicken. 

Tejano’s people follow a specific behavior in their routine practice. They used to cook Barbacoa with Cabeza da la vaca. This is the meat from a cow’s head including the beef of cheeks and tongue. This kind of meat is extremely delicious and flavorful. People are so found to have gristle and cartilage chew parts of beef. 

Whereas in the making of Birria, there are endless options, like kmab, goat, beef and even seafood. Ribs meat of lamb and shin of beef are also useable. By using a variety of cuts will add depth and richness to meat juices. 

Concluding thoughts: 

Have you noticed the main difference between Barbacoa and Birria? Both dishes are originated in Mexico. There may be so many similarities among them.But the only key difference between Barbacoa and Birria is the meat used in and the method of cooking. Barbacoa is the most famous and known in Central Mexico. And Birria is popular in Jalisco, the state of Mexico.

Hopefully, we have cleared up all confusion regarding Barbacoa and Birria. Now you can choose your way of cooking and way of eating Barbacoa and Birria by finalizing your choice. Barbacoa is famous from it’s cooking style which is in big pot and deep hole in the ground. You can enjoy your Barbacoa with a soup called Consomme. 

While Birria can be taken as a stew or as meat with tacos. Many different ranges of meats are used in Birria. Lamb, ram, beef, pork, and goat meat. To enjoy a unique signature taste, choose your specific way of cooking Birria and Barbacoa. 


Does Birria and Barbacoa taste the same? 

The flavor and taste of both dishes of Birria and Barbacoa is entirely different. They may seem alike. Both dishes are highly preferred in Mexico with beef meat. But this especially happens where no access of lamb or goat meat. 

Where does Barbacoa come from? 

In the west Antilles of the Caribbean, Barbaco is originated from Barbados (centuries ago). That is an island country. 

Why is Barbacoa cooked underground? 

Ancient Mexicans believes that the steam cooking technique is something that can keep both the juices and the smoke and the heat from escaping and forces. Steam-cooking underground ovens are the specific ways if cooking Barbacoa dish. 

What part of their does Birria meat come from? 

Burris can be cooked with lamb or beef meat. Rib meat from the lamb and shank meat from the beef often use in cooking Birria. The choice is yours you can use cuts as well. 

When was Birria invented? 

On the 16th of January, Spaniards decided to bring goats in Mexico “Jalisco” that’s how Birria came into being. By using goat meat this delicious dish is started preparing. 

Is Birria always beef? 

Mexican people considered both Birria and Barbacoa as traditional and occasional dishes. Most commonly, Birria is a meat stew dish and the soup is usually prepared from goat meat. And occasionally cooked with beef, lamb, mutton or chicken. 

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