Grilled Lamb Taco with Salsa Borracha and Salsa Verde

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    large tacos.

Appears in

Birria de chivo is a beloved traditional street food, usually eaten early in the day or for lunch, along with a bowl of beans and some radishes and onions. Big chunks of lamb or goat meat are rubbed with a spice blend (the recipe for which is always guarded by the family), then slowly simmered until tender with chiles and tomatoes. The meat is removed from the broth, then roasted, shredded, and served with a tequila-laced sauce and plenty of tortillas for dipping. It’s delicious, but the lengthy cooking process (not to mention finding a goat) can be daunting.

This quick variation on the idea echoes the flavors of birria but speeds up the process considerably by using spice-rubbed boneless lamb, given a quick turn on the grill. Serve slivers of the juicy pink meat with tequila-laced salsa borracha, rich with dried chile flavor, and pale-green salsa verde, a sprightly tomatillo-avocado mix. The lamb tacos taste great with black beans on the side.

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  • 1 pound lamb loin or lamb sirloin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground ancho chile
  • 1 teaspoon ground California or guajillo chile
  • 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile
  • ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 12 warm corn tortillas
  • Diced white onions mixed with chopped cilantro


  1. With a sharp knife, remove all the fat and silverskin from the lamb. Cut the meat into several smaller pieces to expose more surface to the marinade.
  2. Combine the oil, salt, garlic, and ginger to make a paste. Stir in the ground chiles and cocoa, and rub the mixture into the lamb. Refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
  3. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and grill the lamb to medium-rare, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Let the meat rest briefly on a warm plate, uncovered.
  4. Slice or dice the lamb, pile it onto the tortillas, and top each taco with a sprinkle of the onion-and-cilantro mix. Serve the salsas on the side, along with the beans, if desired.

To Serve

Salsa verde, salsa borracha, black beans (optional)