When Smoking Gringos first popped up in Sydney’s dining scene, it was an American barbeque joint in Kingswood, then a pop-up at Newtown pub Websters. Now, Smoking Gringos has returned, but this time as a taqueria in Blacktown specialising in smoked cheesy birria tacos.
Behind the Mexican eatery are owners Richard Borg and Jade Jackson. Borg brings to the kitchen his experience working in fine-dining restaurants such as Momofuku Seiobo and at the Park Hyatt. Borg was also previously the co-owner of Burger Head and the now-closed Surry Hills spot Master.
The idea to switch up his eatery’s focus came after a menu addition in Kingswood sent customers into a tizz. “We did birria tacos with smoked meats once as a special and that just went crazy,” Borg tells Broadsheet. “So from then on it was always in the back of our minds that we’d do something with that.” In its opening week, the Blacktown outpost racked up over 200,000 views of the birria tacos on Tiktok, and sold out within a few hours of opening.
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Cooking the saucy beef filling is a two-day process, where cuts of meats are partly smoked for six hours before being finished in a beef broth. “We create a beef stock using bones that have been smoked,” Borg says. “After that, we’ll add chillies and tomatoes, and stew our smoked brisket through it. We leave it overnight, take the brisket out and then reduce it down.”
Each serving of the birria queso tacos delivers a trio of corn tortillas, which are first dipped in birria drippings, slapped onto a hotplate and filled with the beef, three kinds of cheese, onion and coriander. On the side is an accompaniment of pickled onions, lime, and a thick consommé for dipping. There’s also chicken if you want to switch up from the favourite. A selection of in-house salsas made daily is available, too – salsa verde is Borg’s pick.
If the queso tacos aren’t enough, step it up with the mulitas, a cross “between a taco and quesadilla” that stacks two filled corn tortillas on top of each other. The Gringo Pack will have one queso taco, one mulita, consommé, pickled onions and lime to you, stat.
For those who’ve followed Smoking Gringos since its Kingswood days, you’ll be thrilled to know the smoked wings have survived the move. All wings are smoked in-house and fried to finish before being served naked or tossed in a buffalo or smoky barbeque sauce. Nachos (with a cauliflower option catering to those that lean veg), burritos, corn ribs and loaded birria fries round out the menu. By the end of the year, Smoking Gringos will be taken to the streets, with the team confirming there are plans for a food truck.
2/1 Muru Way, Blacktown
Thu to Sun midday–3pm, 5.30pm–9pm