Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tacos de Barbacoa

I don't know why I don't make big cuts of meat more often - they're often fairly inexpensive (particularly considering how many servings you get), and they're not actually all that difficult - you just have to have an afternoon at home while the meat cooks away in the oven.  I guess they just seem like sort of a "project", but I definitely need to get over that bias because this beef is absolutely delicious!  It's got a spicy kick without being overpowering, and it's totally melt-in-your-mouth tender.  The marinade comes together very quickly in the food processor, and is made mostly out of ingredients I had around the house.  The beef makes for totally amazing tacos with guacamole, queso fresco, and whatever other taco toppings you like - unless you're really into spicy food, I'd recommend skipping additional spicy toppings since the beef itself will give you all the spice you need.  Tim and I gave the tacos five stars!

You can make a quick and easy guacamole to go with these tacos, and it tastes so much better than the sort in a plastic tub.  Make just enough for how much you'll be eating that night since it doesn't lastFor each 2-3 people, mash up an avocado, the juice of one lime, some chopped cilantro leaves, and salt to taste.  You can also add whatever else you like in your guac - mashed up roasted garlic, finely chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, jalapeno if you want it spicy, etc.

The leftover shredded beef is great for making more tacos, but it's also fantastic in other dishes.  I turned some into a terrific sandwich - toasted bread, spread with Dijon mustard, sprinkled with a little grated sheep cheese, and then piled high with hot barbacoa and overnight pickles.  So delicious!

Tacos de Barbacoa (adapted from Crepes of Wrath, original recipe here)
Serves 4-6

2 canned chipotle chiles, with sauce
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
Leaves from two sprigs of fresh oregano
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
2 pounds chuck or rump roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil
1 cup chicken or beef stock
1 bay leaf
Corn tortillas, guacamole, and queso fresco, to serve

1. Combine the chiles, pepper, garlic, vinegar, lime juice, cumin, oregano, cloves, and nutmeg in a food processor. Process until well blended and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
3. Cut the roast in to 3 large pieces and rub them all over with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. In a large oven-safe pot that has a lid, heat about some oil over high heat (enough to cover the bottom of the pot nicely).  Add the meat, cooking on all sides until browned.  Depending on the size of your pot, you might or might not need to do this in batches.
5. Pour the sauce over the meat and mix to coat well.  Add the stock and bay leaf, and keep the heat on high until the mixture comes to a boil.  Turn off the heat, cover the pot with foil, and then cover with the lid.  Place in the oven and cook for 3-1/2 hours, turning the meat over once in the middle of cooking.
6. Test the meat - it should be fork-tender.  If not, return to the oven until it is.
7. Place the meat in a bowl and pour the juices into another bowl.  Shred the meat with two forks, discarding any large pieces of fat that you come across.  Place the meat back in the pot, and place over medium heat on the stove to crisp the meat up a bit.  After about 8 minutes, add back in some of the juices until the meat is as juicy as you like.  Leftover juices can be strained and saved in the fridge to make spicy rice, soup, etc. - it's basically now super flavorful beef broth.
8. Serve the barbacoa on warmed corn tortillas with guacamole and queso fresco.

Some other "big hunk of meat" recipes I've made and loved:

I'm sending this post off to These Chicks Cooked and BSI: Beef!


  1. I'll have to try your barbacoa recipe. I only ever eat it when I buy Chipotle burritos. It looks tasty!

  2. fantastic blog !!!! and fantastic recipe!!! Great.....

  3. I just came over here from Biz's blog and I have to say I love your blog. I have already drooled over several recipes I need to make now (including this one) and I just looked on the first page. I will be back very often now.

  4. I am a huge fan of bigger cuts of meat -and I agree, more economical when you have the time to slow cook.

    These look delicious Sara!

  5. I wonder if this can be done in a crockpot?

  6. @ Anon - I'm almost certain you could do this recipe in a crockpot...if you did, I would probably add more liquid, since I feel like most crockpot recipes I've made are more "saucy" than this one ended up being.