A combination of beef cheeks, beef shoulder, onions, garlic, and bay leaves all simmered in a flavorful smokey chipotle and beef broth.
Barbacoa is an absolute favorite in my house. I’ve been eating it since I was a kid and it’s hands down my favorite style of taco. I start it early and it really wakes the house up with the chili and spice in the air. I make different variations of it a couple of times a month because you can always play with different cuts (beef, goat, or lamb) and spice combinations.
This barbacoa comes from the cheek meat of a cow. It’s a fatty cut that is super rich in flavor. I pair my barbacoa with a beef shoulder to up the meat content while it simmers in a smokey chipotle broth. This Barbacoa recipe is my standard go-to. It features smokey chipotle peppers, beer, and a ton of onions, all simmered and broken down with tender beef. Check out my tips and tricks below for the best barbacoa. Try this recipe out and let me know what you think.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST BARBACOA
combinations: Barbacoa is traditionally made of cheek meat from a cow, lamb, or goat. the meat can be really fatty and rich so personally, i cut the meat with a beef shoulder so that once it simmered it has a better fat to meat ratio.
cheek meat: cheek meat can be hard to find for some. or you may be looking in the wrong place. sometimes you don’t want to go to a specialty store for ingredients. often times i find Barbacoa meat in big box retails closer to the stew meat, scraps, and smoked meat section. i generally find it next to the beef tongue, tripe, and marrow bones. try looking for it next to you’re at the store it should be labeled “cheek meat”.
chipotle: jarred chipotle peppers are ideal for this but some people like to make their own. if you have dried chilies on hand. steep the chilies in hot water and let sit for 30 minutes. one the chili has softened add them to a food processor, with garlic cloves and a pinch of salt then blend till generally smooth.
no tomatoes: Barbacoa doesn’t need tomatoes. the meat is simmered in broth and chilies skip the tomatoes here we want a light broth.
final touches: once the meat is fork-tender add some texture to it. to do that i add my meat into a frying pan and fry it for about 10 minutes. it removes some excess moisture and gives it a nice minced texture.
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