Skip to Content

Are You Team Beef or Chivo? This Third-Generation Birria Specialist in South Gate Is the Taco Peacemaker Mixing Both

8:31 AM PST on February 22, 2021

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]n L.A.’s cutthroat birria wars, you either fall into two schools of taco thought. Are you a birria purist who defends the full flavor of chivo and its original Jalisciense roots? Or, are you a birria realist who champions the everyday use of beef as it feeds the masses both here in Gringolandia and Mexico alike? 

If you’re the taquero behind Barrigones, the two-year-old birria and menudo stand in South Gate, you happily and deliciously do both. A birria made with about 90 percent beef and a touch of goat is an interesting combination that works exceptionally well for those of us who will forever prefer birria de chivo but is down to compromise for the greater good.

Beef and goat birria at Barrigones's stand in South Gate. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. Taco.

It adds just enough of that chivo flavor to keep the birria honest but allows the long-cooked lean beef to dominate still. Good luck trying to distinguish the chivo from the beef as you eat. It’s nearly impossible by taste. Add lime, onions, cilantro, and their red salsa made from roasted chiles, lime, vinegar, and tostadas (yes, tostadas) blended into the salsa, and you get that classic taste of Jalisco’s ranchos in every bite.

Pata [in the menudo] is also available for all your textural needs.

For those who are forever pursuing L.A.’s best menudo, the one here is a fierce contender. It’s a medium to light in richness level, the red kind with blended chiles, oregano, and basil boiling together to infuse the hominy and beef tripe for spoonfuls of flavor instead of relying solely on the deep flavors exuded from the offal. The beef tripe is clean and cut to a perfect thickness which provides a nice bite while breaking apart easily as you chew. Pata is also available for all your textural needs. I didn’t have a hangover, but I still felt cured of any momentary burdens, if at least for as long as that pleasant flavor of revival by broth lingered in my mouth.

The clean-tasting menudo at Barrigones. Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. Taco.

The key to fully enjoy Barrigones is in their red salsa. It’s the traditional flavor of Jalisco’s spice-heavy salsas that work so well with their birria and even their menudo. It tastes like the tostadas drowned in chile and limón they’d give out to kids in Mexico during recess. It’s the color and consistency of your favorite bottled hot sauce.

The family is from Tepatitlán, Jalisco, and mom, Rosa Galindo, is the principal contributor of recipes that she inherited from her mother. Although raised in South Gate, her son, David Castañeda, used to play in the Mexican minor leagues until he took a ball to the eye and decided to “grow up,” he tells L.A. Taco. 

Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. Taco.

From las ligas menores to L.A.'s Taco Life, David is now working to advance his family’s business one taco of his hybrid beef-goat birria at a time. The only thing he’s more proud of than his matriarchal birria and menudo? His wife Judith Castañeda just passed the Bar exam while having two kids back to back. She’s the only thing that David talks about more than his food. 

Barrigones Mexican Cuisine is serving take-out from their home in South Gate. Check their Instagram account for updates. We hear they also make some killer birria fries, too

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Register to continue

Become a Member

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

The Seven Best Poke Places In Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, the poke scene is starting to heal from a bit of a hangover caused by rampant overindulgence. These are the true Hawaiian-inspired, fresh fish spots that endure for good reason. Most, located right by the beach to enjoy L.A.'s crisp ocean breeze with your sashimi-grade fish.

September 25, 2023

Spot Check: Colombian Desgranados In Echo Park, Mexican Wine Festival At Mírate, and Perverted Waffles in DTLA

Plus, a party highlighting pan-African cuisine, a new Taiwanese cookbook by an awarded local from the San Gabriel Valley, and a Little Saigon food festival that starts tonight! Welcome back to Spot Check!

September 22, 2023

This 24-Year-Old Latina Mortician Beautifies the Dead and Influences the Living

Growing up in Arleta with a first-generation family from El Salvador, Berrios admits that her family only embraced her career choice two years ago, after she started to win awards like “Young Funeral Director of the Year.” The 24-year-old works as the licenced funeral director and embalmer at Hollywood Forever cemetery. As a young person born in peak Generation Z, she's documented her deathcare journey on TikTok and has accrued more than 43K followers on the platform. 

September 21, 2023

Meet ‘Carnitas Rogelio,’ The Family-Run Stand With The Best Michoacán-Style Carnitas O.C. Has to Offer

Michoacán-raised Rogelio Gonzalez slices the cuerito (the pig skin) in a checkered pattern to ensure a light crunch in each bite and utilizes every part of the pig, from the feet to the liver and intestines, which he binds together in a braid. 

September 20, 2023

‘The Office’ Star Rainn Wilson Brought Jerk Chicken Tacos to the Picket Lines Outside of Paramount Studios

In three hours, D's Tipsy Tacos and her team passed out “roughly 100 plates” of tacos, burritos, rice, beans, nachos, and quesadillas to striking screenwriters and actors.

September 19, 2023
See all posts