Three Taco Suggestions for Cinco de Mayo

For the history and relevance of this honourable holiday, celebrated on May fifth (cinco de mayo, in Spanish) not only in Mexico, but in parts of the US and other countries, visit my page Beyond Margaritas, or to follow a historical and gastronomic journey to the Battle of Puebla occurred on May 5th 1862, start with my post A Themed Menu for Cinco de Mayo – First Stop: Veracruz.

The following three dishes are emblematic examples of Mexican cuisine from different regions in the country, and are ideal for sharing with family and friends at a taco party to celebrate this Cinco de Mayo.

Birria (Jalisco Style) 

Birria is a brothy stew prepared with any kind of meat (goat, pork, beef, lamb, even chicken, fish, or a mix); originally prepared with goat, it is said that it is seasoned heavily with many peppers and spices to mask the strong flavour of this meat, but from that hapless start, the resulting dish has a much more docile and delicious taste, with a comforting quality. The traditional technique is to cook Birria underground; it is still widely used, but many cooks – especially in urban areas – have switched to conventional ovens, steamers, pressure cookers, or as in my case, a slow cooker.  For some history of the dish and my recipe for a beef version, go to Birria – An Exceptional Dish.  

A popular way to serve Birria, especially at taco stands and restaurants, is to make tacos with the meat, and doctor the sauce to serve as a broth on the side.  For method, and a recipe for a spicy chile de árbol sauce, check out my post Tacos de Birria and Spicy Salsa.

002 birria tacos home style 20181017

Birria is nowadays enjoyed nationwide, and in recent years, fried Birria tacos became known internationally, thanks to social media and Netflix.  For detailed directions and recipe, go to my post Restaurant Style Birria Tacos.  In short, corn tortillas are dipped in the Birria sauce, then crisped in a griddle or skillet along with some meat; the meat is shredded and transferred on top of the crisped tortillas (photo below, left).   Once folded, the tacos are served with a bowl of sauce from the pot, for dipping (photo below, right):

Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken (Sinaloa Style)  

This delicious grilled chicken, often marinated in secret family recipe concoctions, is well known in one or more of the many versions of Sinaloa style grilled chicken, the original famously being “Pollo Loco” (Crazy Chicken). Chains in Northern Mexico and the US, such as “Pollo Feliz” (Happy Chicken), and “Porti Pollos” (in Culiacan, Sinaloa) feature whole or half chickens, charbroiled to perfection; house marinades, to season and tenderize, and the spatchcock (or butterfly) technique to flatten the chicken, render a crispy outside and juicy and fully cooked meat.  I have two posts with the same recipe for this delicious chicken, cooked using two different methods; for history of the dish, and recipe for chicken broiled in the oven, go to Sinaloa Style Chicken – Not Too Crazy (photo below, left), and for the version grilled over charcoal, check out Sinaloa Style Chicken II – On a Charcoal Grill (photo below, right):

The grilled juicy chicken is perfect for a family style meal, paired with cold beer and served with chopped fresh vegetables, salsa, and tortillas to make delicious tacos:

Cochinita Pibil (Yucatan Style)

The third suggestion is the flavourful Cochinita Pibil, from the Yucatan peninsula, in Mexico’s South East.  Cochinita means “small pig”, and Pibil refers to the method of cooking in a piib, which is a pit where food is slow-cooked buried in a bed of hot coals and rocks, and sealed with dirt, generally wrapped in banana leaves, used in the Yucatan peninsula and some parts of Central America to this day and since pre-Hispanic times. Because the annatto-based rub called recado rojo, or sometimes pasta de achiote, is often used to condiment food cooked in the piib, the name “pibil” is given to dishes with that seasoning, even though nowadays many are prepared in a regular oven, over the stove, or in this case, as I have praised as the best substitute for the piib, a slow cooker:

After slowly cooking for hours, the meat falls off the bone and it is as tender and flavourful as can be:

By simply shredding some of the melt-in-your-mouth meat onto warm tortillas and topping with a spicy Habanero and red onion condiment, the dish becomes the classic delight that is tacos de cochinita pibil (photo below). For some history, full methods, and recipes, visit my post Tacos de Cochinita Pibil – One of the Most Popular Delights from Yucatan.

I was thrilled when I received the following comment from Jay Francis, a food expert and blogger, who has a special interest in Mexican food: “I have come to trust your recipes totally.  On a recent trip, April 2023, I had the pleasure of participating in the entire procedure of cochinita pibil at a little home. It left me favorably impressed and I was pleased to see that you had posted a recipe.  I normally create a spreadsheet and compare multiple recipe ingredients to get a baseline but I can tell from reading this that this is all that I will need. Although ours was cooked in the ground in the sealed metal container, I realized that a slow cooker, a roasting pan covered with aluminium foil, or a Le Creuset Dutch oven would all work …”  He then kindly shared a link to a short video of his experience in Mexico: 

For your convenience, click on the highlighted text below for products available on Amazon™.  DISCLAIMER: Any reviews included in this post are my own, for items I have purchased, not provided by any company; as an Amazon Associates Program affiliate, I might receive a commission for any purchases originated from the links below, at no extra cost to you.  Thank you to readers who have bought any other products starting with a click from my links!

I am bringing my recipe to Full Plate Thursday #639 with Miz Helen @ Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

I am sharing my post at Thursday Favourite Things #607, with Bev @ Eclectic Red BarnPam @ An Artful MomKatherine @ Katherine’s CornerAmber @ Follow the Yellow Brick HomeTheresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.

I am joining Fiesta Friday #483  with Angie @ Fiesta Friday, this week co-hosting with Pauline @ Beautiful Voyager.

7 thoughts on “Three Taco Suggestions for Cinco de Mayo

    1. Oh, I can see sous vide rendering a very tender meat, yummy! Looking forward to reading your post, and thank you so much for letting me know, Stefan, makes my day to hear that my recipes are useful!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I noticed that a few other comments I left on your blog are not visible, for instance the Sabanita. Has my comment perhaps ended up in your spam filter?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s