Hey all, Oklahoma City has a Birrieria!
A what, you ask?
Probably the reason for you having no idea what I’m talking about is the fact that these are usually native to other parts of the world, most notably, Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Jalisco. A birrieria typically focuses on one main dish – a a spicy meat stew that begins by using dried and roasted peppers as its base that are toasted, ground into a paste and added into cooking broth. Because of the plethora of peppers that can be used, the results are a vast variety of flavors in birria depending on who is making the dish and what pepper they chose. The spices can vary but usually include black pepper, Thyme, Garlic, Oregano, Ginger, Sesame Seeds, Marjoram, Tomatoes and Onions. The chilies commonly used are arból, ancho, and pasilla.
The meat, usually beef, goat or mutton (sheep) us slow-cooked in this spicy chili broth until it is fork tender and then served with a variety of condiments, traditionally lime, onions and cilantro that you dollop with them meat onto small corn tortillas. Another common way to eat these is to then dip the entire mess into another spicy broth that is served alongside.
Birrieria Diaz is a modest place on the corner of 39th and College in Bethany. The menu is also a bit diminutive and doesn’t hold many offerings.
Those are usually great places in my humble opinion. Do one thing and do it well. And Birrieria Diaz does. While I’ve heard good things about their other food offerings, I knew I had to start with the showcase item. Featured on the front of the menu, I ordered the beef Birria. You can also order the sheep version, which my waiter says is the best, and I should have tried, and will next time.
While I waited, Juan, my waiter (and the owner’s son), brought me out a half dozen small ramekins full of fresh stuff.
He brought freshly chopped lime wedges, red onions, radishes, white onions, cilantro, queso sauce, fresh tomato salsa and, upon request, he brought me the two other salsas you see at the bottom of the photo. A salsa verde and a warm roasted salsa. I enjoyed all the salsas and even ventured to nibble on one of these…
Arbol chilies that had been roasted in oil and salt. Now these little babies pack some heat, measuring somewhere between 15,000 and 30,000 on the Scoville scale so be careful with these. However, they are delicious. If you are very brave when it comes to Scoville units, then have at these on top of your Birria.
I chose to nibble.
Pretty soon Juan place my Birria in front of me, along with a large cup of consomme (or broth and extra for $2.00) and my main feature..the stewed meat.
This dish was a small and it cost a whopping $5.00 for everything you see above. You can also order a medium or large for $7.00 or $9.00 respectively. I was stuffed after the small.
He also brought me a quaint little basket with a dish towel that housed these…
Inside you’ll find freshly made corn tortillas. Some of these will be steamed and some will be lightly grilled and a little charred outside to a nice crispness.
To build your Birria, start with a tortilla, then pile on the meat, complete with some juice, top it with the onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice and any other of the condiments in front of you.
The soft shell ones you can dip into your consomme or broth.
Remember the consomme is extra and I found completely unnecessary as there was plenty of juice in the meat sauce itself. But I think probably it is also for slow sipping like a soup as well. It is a warm beef broth with a nice kick to it. I’m not sure it was my thing though.
There are a few other things on the menu I want to go back and try…like the Sopa’s, the Posole Verde, …or the Huaraches. Also, pay attention to the hand written board at the front of the restaurant where they list daily specials.
And I will go back..at the prices Birrieria Diaz offers, I can try anything.
6700NW 39th St Expwy
Bethany, OK 73008