Roy Choi, executive chef and cofounder of the Kogi taco trucks in L.A., loves the Guadalajara-style birria at El Parian restaurant (also in L.A.) This version, with its spicy broth and super-tender, chile-infused rib meat, is loosely based on El Parian's. Serve it with hot thick corn tortillas, sliced radishes, cilantro springs, chopped white onion, and wedges of lime.

Roy Choi
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Recipe Summary

5 hrs
Serves 6 to 8


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Put meat on a baking sheet, pat dry, then rub all over with 2 tsp. salt.

  • Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan; cover and remove from heat. Meanwhile, stem chiles. Heat a cast-iron skillet or heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Toast chiles in batches, pressing flat against pan's surface with tongs and turning to toast evenly, until lightly browned and fragrant about 2 minutes per batch. Add chiles to hot water as they're toasted and soak, covered, until soft, about 20 minutes.

  • Toast garlic cloves in same frying pan, turning until browned all over. When cool enough to handle, peel.

  • Transfer chiles to a blender (reserve liquid) and whirl with garlic, vinegar, and piloncillo. Grind cumin, oregano, and cloves in an electric spice blender or in a mortar, then add to blender with 1/4 cup chile-soaking liquid. Whirl to make a thick paste, adding a little more soaking water if needed.

  • Smear paste over meat, cover, and chill at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

  • Preheat oven to 325°. Put a metal cooling rack in a roasting pan (large enough to hold meat in a single layer) and pour in 3 cups water. If water comes above rack, elevate rack with cookie cutters. Arrange meat on rack. Cover pot with a big sheet of heavy foil and crinkle foil around edge to seal tightly. Bake until meat is very tender, 4 to 4 1/2 hours.

  • Transfer meat to a rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil. Measure broth, skim off fat, and add enough water to make 3 cups.

  • Whirl tomatoes in a blender until smooth, then whirl in broth. Strain into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until steaming.

  • Divide hunks of meat among 6 soup bowls and ladle about 1/2 cup broth over each. Season with more salt to taste.

  • *Find cabrito, guajillo and ancho chiles, and piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar) at Latino markets. You can often order cabrito through butcher shops too.

  • Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving (calculated with lamb; goat data unavailable).


Kogi taco trucks in L.A.

Nutrition Facts

691 calories; calories from fat 36%; protein 84g; fat 28g; saturated fat 9.7g; carbohydrates 19g; fiber 2.5g; sodium 687mg; cholesterol 261mg.