Menudo Vs Birria: Are They The Same Or Different?

Mexican cuisines are famous for their hearty and spicy flavors, especially when it comes down to their stews. Among these, menudo and birria are arguably the most popular dishes.

But what are the differences between menudo vs birria? In our article today, let’s have a look at both of these delicacies and see what they have to offer! 

Quick Facts

Menudo:

  • Ingredients: tripe.
  • Variations: feet and tendon menudo, pig’s trotters menudo.

Birria:

  • Ingredients: goat meat, cow’s head, or beef.
  • Variations: birria with consommé, birria tacos.

Related: My favorite list of the top 30+ Mexican foods

7 Similarities Between Menudo & Birria

When examining menudo and birria, their resemblances are the first that come to mind. Below are the seven areas in which these two soups are more or less the same.

1. Time needed for cooking

Traditionally, menudo and birria require long hours of cooking, from roughly 4 to 6 hours. This is to ensure that the broth is condensed with nutrients and all the meat is tender.

2. Country of origin

Both of them come from Mexico and feature multiple distinct characteristics of the Mexican palate. 

3. Main spices

Since Mexico is famous for its wide variety of spices and herbs, it should come as no surprise that menudo and birria rely heavily on chili pepper, onions, and lime. Not only do they bring out the earthy tang of the food, but they also dial down the grease and make sure you can finish your portion without feeling too much fat on the tongue.

4. Appearance

One of the most noticeable things about menudo and birria is how they are presented – in a deep bowl. As they are meat-based stew, eaters expect a reddish-brown color, sometimes slightly brick or deep orange. Finally, on top of the broth, you can see a thin layer of oil.

5. When to serve

Since making menudo and birria can be rather complicated and time-consuming, most people save these two dishes for special occasions, including birthdays or weddings. 

However, if the family has a lot of time to spend together, such as on weekends or holidays, they both can make perfect breakfast. 

6. Texture

Technically, menudo is considered a soup, and birria is a stew. But as far as the texture is concerned, both of them belong to the latter category. It is because they share a rather dense and thick broth that creates a warm and fulfilling sensation upon the taste buds.

7. Cooking method

In the past, birria required an earth oven to be cooked properly, while all you had to do with menudo was to put it in the pot and boil it for hours. But now, people have started to simplify the procedure by letting either of them simmer on a stovetop.

Menudo Vs Birria: 2 Main Differences

1. Ingredients

The magic behind menudo lies in its protein – cow’s stomach, also known as tripe. While it might be off-putting for some people, the tripe gives out a heavenly feeling when cooked correctly.

On the other hand, birria is more flexible with its choice of protein. The two most common ones are goat and cow’s head, but you can also use beef for a more non-conventional approach. 

2. Variations

For people who cannot stomach the tripe on its own, menudo offers another version with beef’s feet and tendon, or sometimes pig’s trotters. Their flavors can be slightly different, but not too much.

Similarly, birria comes in plenty of forms. Besides the traditional goat version, you can also have a look at the birria served with consommé or birria tacos with cheese beef as fillings.

What Does Birria Taste Like?

As birria is made from various ingredients, they will create different layers of taste in your mouth. At first bite, you will notice the spicy seasonings and herbs, then slowly, the feeling of savory meat will take over. Once swallowing, there will be a smoky, sweet aftertaste lingering on your tongue.

What To Serve With Birria?

Birria usually comes with onions and cilantro on top, coupled with tortillas. Sometimes, people combine it with baked beans and rice for a full meal.

How Do You Eat Menudo?

Usually, you can serve menudo with bread to balance the taste and give a bit of starch for the meal as a whole. Anything from bolillo to tortillas will suffice.

Can You Eat Menudo Left Out Overnight?

If you do not put the menudo leftover in the fridge, it is not safe to eat it again the next day, as bacteria at room temperature can easily spring to life.

In case you cook too much of it, boil the whole thing for around 10 minutes before letting it cool down. Then, store it overnight below 10 Celcius degrees and reboil it. Now feel free to enjoy your meal.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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