Eat This Now: Birria en Barro at Birrieria Zaragoza

We love a lot more than sandwiches alone at Serious Eats, so in the spirit of A Sandwich a Day, here's Eat This Now, a quick look at what we're eating and want to talk about. —The Mgmt.

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

To be honest, you can order anything on Birrieria Zaragoza's condensed menu and leave in a stunned stupor. But on a recent visit with Joe, I was introduced to an item not currently listed on the menu: Birria en Barro. What was Zaragoza holding back from me?

I should point out that Birrieria Zaragoza specializes in Birria Tatemada, which owner Juan Zaragoza told me is his spin on the dish. It's basically traditional birria served like carnitas, so that the goat meat is served on a plate with a little consommé poured on top. And he's proud of it too, since he claims it better highlights the roasted meat.

En Barro skips the subtlety and submerges the meat in liquid, which is actually how most places serve it around town. It's good in a hearty, dead-of-winter kind of way, and absolutely ideal for those who also wanted more of the consommé devour. Still, there's no doubt that the meat looses its crispness and some of its personality along the way.

So why am I bringing this up? Well, Zaragoza also noted that you can get this huge bowl of the consommé with the meat on the side, thus preserving the integrity of the meat while also allowing you to slurp away with abandon. In other words, the best of both worlds.

Birrieria Zaragoza

4852 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60632 (map)
773-523-3700
birrieriazaragoza.com

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