Barbacoa is an authentic Mexican dish that is traditionally made with lamb or goat, and is slow roasted for several hours in a pit covered with agave leaves. Now this definitely sounds amazing, but let’s be real, who really wants to dig a pit in their backyard just for some barbacoa. I don’t, but if you do, then hats off… just make sure you invite me over.
But this recipe is a lot easier then spending an entire night digging a pit in your backyard. This barbacoa is so tender, so juicy, and so tasty. Once the barbacoa is done, it can be shredded or chopped, and then added to a taco or a taco bowl. Just be sure to top it with some freshly squeezed lime juice, freshly chopped cilantro, diced onion, and your salsa of choice.
In this recipe, I used beef chuck since it was most readily available. However, you can use beef check, some nice brisket, or even lamb or goat. Whichever meat you prefer.
In batches, sear the beef on all sides until it's a rich golden brown color (about 2-3 minutes per side). Once all the meat is browned, add it all back to the pot. At this point, you can push all the beef down so they snugly fit.
Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add a piece of parchment paper on top, cover with the lid, and place in the oven to braise for 4-6 hours.
Char up your tortilla, add the shredded (or chopped) beef, and then top with fresh cilantro, white onion, and roasted tomatillo salsa.
- Corn or flour tortilla
- Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- White onion, diced
- Roasted tomatillo salsa
- Cotija cheese (optional)
- 3lbs beef chuck, cut into 3 inch cubes (or any cut of choice)
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 tablespoon mexican oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 garlic cloves, smash
- 1 lime, juiced
- This step is optional, but we can start by dry-brining the beef. Lay the beef on a clean work surface and pat both sides dry with a paper towel. Then rub both sides of the beef with salt. Place the steak on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, and transfer to the fridge. Refrigerate, uncovered for 12 to 24 hours.
- Remove the beef (or meat of choice) from the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. If you didn't dry brine the beef, then at this point, liberally season with salt. If you dry-brined the beef do not salt it again.
- Preheat your oven to 300º. While the oven is preheating, heat a medium to large, lidded, Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and drizzle with high heat oil to fully coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add as many pieces of beef to the pot so they fit comfortably and are not overcrowded (working in batches as needed). Sear the beef on all sides until it’s a rich golden brown color (about 2-3 minutes per side). Once all sides are browned, set the beef aside and repeat with remaining batches.
- Once all the beef is seared, add it all back to the pot. At this point, you can push all the beef down so they snugly fit. Season the beef with chipotle chili powder, oregano, ancho chili powder, and the juice from one lime. Mix the beef until all pieces are fully coated. Then pour in the beef stock, and add the garlic cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick. You want enough liquid in the pot to just reach the top of the beef. If you need more liquid pour in some water.
- Over medium-high heat, bring everything to a boil. Once boiling, add a piece of parchment paper on top, cover with the lid, and place in the oven to braise for 4-6 hours.
- Once the beef is done, transfer to a bowl and shred with two forks. Taste and add salt as needed.