It seemed like 2022 was the year of the birria taco—your TikTok and Instagram feeds were full of delicious golden tacos accompanied by Styrofoam cups of red-hued consomé. Although there are regional variations throughout Mexico, you’ll most likely see the Tijuana-style birria de res in America—which traditionally encompasses goat, sheep, or beef simmered in a broth that gains a crimson color from a combination of chiles, tomatoes, and spices. The resulting meat is shredded, stuffed into tortillas with cheese, and fried in its own rendered fat to create the delicious dish that you know as quesabirria. Here are our suggestions for where to find the hearty dish in and around Denver.

Kiké’s Red Tacos

Bright red birria tacos from Kike's in Denver.
Kiké’s Red Tacos earns its colorful name with its birria. Photo by Helen Xu

Order ahead or get to Denver darling Kiké’s early, because the spot often sells out of popular items well before closing at 6 p.m. Case in point: Arrive at 2:30 p.m. (like me), and you might snag one of the last orders of their quesabirria which, on the plus side, you can enjoy at sunny picnic benches the truck has set up. Kiké’s famous quesabirria tacos are topped with white onions and cilantro and come with a side of radishes, cucumbers, three salsas, lime, and a charred jalapeno—more than you get at the average birria stand. Depending on your customization, the tacos can be slightly sweet or entirely savory—and even though they sport less cheese than others, the deep red, spicy consomé elevates each bite. With plenty of parking and seating, Kiké’s is also ideal for large groups and families. 3640 W. 38th Ave (look for a brick-and-mortar in the Highlands later this year); three quesatacos and consomé for $14

El Consome de Morelos II

Four quesabirrias with a clear, thin tomato consome.
El Consome De Morelos’ consomé is clearer than others’. Photo by Helen Xu

El Consome started as a food truck in the parking lot of the Viking bar on Colfax Avenue, and this second operation is the family’s first brick-and-mortar, located in Lakewood. The interior is painted in bright, neon colors and strung with Mexican papel picado banners, which contribute to a festive, party-ready atmosphere. The fast-casual spot’s flagship quesabirria is meaty, cheesy, and just the right amount of greasy. The accompanying consomé ran clearer compared to other options and had a light, refreshing tomato taste. But our favorite touch at El Consome is the self-serve salsa bar with six different selections ranging from pineapple to tomatillo salsa verde. For a sweet bonus, grab an icy-cold horchata, which comes in a traditional clay mug. 924 S. Sheridan Blvd., Unit E; three quesabirrias and consomé for $11

Carnitas El Amarillo

Four quesabirria tacos with two lime wedges in a takeout container.
Carnitas El Amarillo’s quesabirria tacos satisfy with just lime. Photo by Helen Xu

It would be easy to drive right by this tucked-away food truck on West Colorado Avenue, but keep your eyes peeled. While the offerings extend to birria ramen and birria pizza, the star of the show is the original quesabirria tacos that come four to an order, piping hot, with a bag of onion and cilantro and spicy salsa on the side (although a squeeze of lime absolutely suffices). The meat is top-tier: smoky with a hint of char, juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. It’s an extremely messy affair with no seating area, but there’s no shame gulping these down on the hood of your car, dripping meat juices onto the ground. The quesabirrias don’t come with consomé, but we didn’t miss it at all (and you won’t either). 1805 S. Federal Blvd.; four quesabirria tacos for $12 (cash only)

Taqueria La Morenas

Birria tacos covered in shredded cheese at Denver's Taqueria La Morenas.
The cheese-topped quesabirria at Taqueria La Morenas. Photo by Helen Xu

At Taqueria La Morenas, the tender, high-quality beef birria is intensely flavorful—especially when topped with the complementary white onions and cilantro. The slightly sour consomé can be polarizing but makes for a perfect accompaniment to the meat. There are only two small tables outside for the food truck’s consistent stream of patrons, so plan on taking your quesabirria to go. However, if the weather is nice and you manage to snag a seat, grab a soda at nearby K Liquor to enjoy with your tasty treat. 2215 S. Sheridan Blvd.; three quesabirrias and consomé for $12 (cash only)

La Calle Taqueria Y Carnitas

Three quesabirria tacos with a tomatoey broth.
La Calle Taqueria Y Carnitas is great for sit-down birria. Photo by Helen Xu

For a sit-down experience—and stellar goat quesabirria—head to La Calle Taqueria Y Carnitas. Settle into the orange-hued dining room, then watch the telenovelas playing on the TV as you can tuck into thick quesabirria, which comes in stacks of three with a side of consomé. Goat birria is harder to find in Denver and gives the tacos a chewier texture than beef versions, but the tomatoey broth with just a kick of spiciness keeps the meat unctuous and balances out its gamey flavor. In fact, the consomé could stand by itself as soup—a perfect warm up for a chilly Colorado day. 1565 W. Alameda Ave.; three quesabirrias for $12

Taqueria El Bajio

Birria tacos with onion and cilantro sprinkled on top from Denver's Taqueria El Bajio.
The quesabirrias at Taqueria El Bajio come with toppings already added. Photo by Helen Xu

Taqueria El Bajio is a party on wheels, with its neon lights, blaring mariachi music, and groups of teenagers congregating in front. While the menu items are less customizable than other spots—the team stuffs the tacos for you with toppings— the quesabirria are satisfyingly crunchy with a citrusy, garlicky interior. The consomé is standard, so kick it up with a dash of extra fiery salsa, but be warned: too much of it will absolutely blow your palate out. 333 S. Sheridan Blvd., Lakewood; three quesabirrias for $13

Tacos La Victoria at La Plaza Colorado

The Tacos La Victoria truck is bright orange. A group of teenagers gather around a table in front of it.
Teens gather in front of Tacos La Victoria. Photo by Helen Xu

On any given day, there are at least eight different food trucks and stands hawking birria tacos and other Central and South American delicacies at Aurora’s La Plaza Colorado, making it a perfect personal culinary tour. Tacos La Victoria is a standout—which other non-birria-selling vendors will confirm. The shells are crunchy, providing the right balance to the rich umami-bomb of the meat and consomé. Brighten things up with lime and radish slices, then gobble up your meal at one of the plastic tables conveniently set up all around La Plaza. 15200 E. Colfax Ave; four quesabirria tacos and consomé for $12

Hell’s Tacos

Three quesabirria tacos with paper between them, and three lime wedges on the side in a takeout container.
Order the quesabirria at Hell’s Tacos with the onion-tomato salsa. Photo by Helen Xu

Located on busy Federal Boulevard, you can’t miss this food truck: Just look for the massive crowds of people waiting for orders. Although most known for machetes—long, thin quesadillas made with corn tortillas—the truck’s birria tacos are a close second in popularity. The team offers four different meats: birria, pastor, sirloin, and shrimp. The pastor and sirloin options come with a salsa (made with onion, tomato, cucumber, and radish) folded right into the large tortilla, and although it’s not a traditional accompaniment for quesabirria, we recommend asking for the tangy sauce anyway to complement the savory, garlicky meat. The dedicated parking lot behind the food truck is ideal for an impromptu picnic setup on the hood of your car. Just make sure to get a container of horchata, pineapple, or mango agua fresca to wash everything down. 990 Federal Blvd.; one quesabirria for $5, shrimp is an additional $1