Move over ground beef, here comes birria

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Taco Bell tries to bring the new meat to Main Street

Taco fan? Notice anything different about the meat on your taco lately?

If you haven’t yet, you might soon. Ground beef and steak are being sent to the bench at many taco eateries in favor of… birria.

Birria is spiced and stewed meat, usually served with some of the broth that it was cooked in – like roast beef with au jus. For those of you who live in Southern California, birria is nothing new, but it’s starting to move its way east and hit Main Street.

Its origins rest in the Mexican state of Jalisco and traditionally, birria is composed of goat meat and a mix of garlic, cumin, and adobo spices. Foodies have seen it listed on the menus at their favorite Mexican food restaurants for years. 

Little by little, the word on birria has gotten out. Consumer research firm Datassential recently reported that birria’s presence on restaurant menus had increased by nearly 150% since 2019. 

However, there’s a slight change in how it’s presented. As restaurateurs try to take birria to a more mass market crowd, many are replacing goat meat with beef.

Enter Taco Bell

Now, Taco Bell is giving birria its due which could move it to the top of the beef-filling list for diners. The chain has announced that its new grilled cheese dipping taco features birria, alongside a blend of cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack cheeses and creamy jalapeno sauce.

If it sounds inviting, keep in mind that this is only a test. The company didn’t say how long it would be around, but it hinted that diners could see more in the way of grilled cheese’y items in the future.

“The rich and spicy flavors often found in birria were a major point of inspiration as we created the new grilled cheese dipping taco. By combining slow-braised shredded beef with the two dipping sauces, our fans can enjoy a new range of flavors they may have never had from Taco Bell before,” Liz Matthews, global chief food innovation officer, said in a press release. 

“This Mexican-inspired dish represents an evolution of what fans typically expect from Taco Bell. We’re excited to bring this menu item nationwide after an incredibly successful test in 2022.”

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