This barbacoa recipe features your choice of beef chuck, pork shoulder, or Boston butt slow-cooked until the meat is tender enough to be shredded with two forks. For more south-of-the-border favorites, see our complete collection of Mexican recipes.
1 boned, tied beef chuck or boned pork shoulder or butt (4 to 5 lb.)
How to Make It
In a 9- by 13-inch pan, mix onions, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeños, bay leaves, chicken broth, lime juice, vinegar, thyme, cumin, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Rinse meat, place in pan, and turn to coat. Cover and chill at least 3 hours or up to 1 day, turning meat occasionally. Seal pan with foil.
Bake in a 300° oven until meat is tender enough to pull apart easily, 4 to 5 hours. Supporting with 2 slotted spoons, transfer meat to a platter. Pour pan juices through a strainer into a 12-inch frying pan or a 5- to 6-quart pan (discard bay leaves; reserve remaining vegetable mixture); skim and discard fat. Boil juices over high heat until reduced to 1 cup, 25 to 30 minutes.
When meat is cool enough to handle, in about 10 minutes, discard string. Use 2 forks or your fingers to pull meat into shreds; discard fat and connective tissue. Add meat and reserved vegetable mixture to pan with juices. Stir occasionally over medium heat until steaming, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Nutritional analysis per 1/2 cup.
Notes: Katharine Kagel, owner-chef of Café Pasqual's in Santa Fe, mimics the rich flavor and tender texture of pit-cooked barbacoa (traditionally goat). Garnish tacos with minced cilantro, chopped onions, and Café Pasqual's three-chili salsa. If cooking meat up to 3 days ahead, chill airtight; freeze to store longer.
I made this recipe when it was first published and loved it. Have served it at two parties & was a huge it. And the fact that I remember this recipe after 10 years should say it all! Muy bien barbacoa!
Oooh man, this was GOOD. Had it as tacos with flour tortillas, sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, and salsa. Can't wait to make it again. Also, I didn't have enough pan juices to warrant boiling it down, so I just shredded the meat, mixed it all back together, and cooked over med-high heat for a few minutes.