The word birria means something that is a mess or deformed, but it is an affectionate name for this beloved meaty rustic brothy stew. It is usually made from lamb or goat but can also be made from beef or a combination of all three. It is marinated in a red chile paste and then cooked in a pit barbeque with steaming liquid below. The juices from the meat fall into this and are used to make a wonderful broth that is served with the meat in a bowl.
It is then garnished with a scattering of chopped radishes and onion, a rubbing of Mexican Oregano and served with tortillas or quesadillas on the side, for a rich, festive, family meal.
For our European kitchens we have placed the marinated meat on a steamer inside a lidded casserole dish, sealed with masa to keep in all the aromatic vapors (explained later). However, a pressure cooker would work very well if you have one.
Any leftover meat from the birria makes great tacos and quesadillas for the next day.