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Café Pasqual's Barbacoa

Yield Makes about 10 cups
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.This recipe goes with Taco Bar for a Party


  • 1 pound onions, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound firm-ripe tomatoes, rinsed, cored, and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 ounces fresh jalapeño chilies (about 4 total), rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and quartered lengthwise
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 cup fat-skimmed chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican or regular oregano
  • About 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse-ground pepper
  • 1 boned, tied beef chuck or boned pork shoulder or butt (4 to 5 lb.)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 231
  • caloriesfromfat 62 %
  • protein 17 g
  • fat 16 g
  • satfat 6.3 g
  • carbohydrate 4 g
  • fiber 0.7 g
  • sodium 164 mg
  • cholesterol 64 mg

How to Make It

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Nutritional analysis per 1/2 cup.

Cook's Notes

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.

Café Pasqual, Santa Fe, New Mexico