…from the Perspectives’ Kitchen
How you doin’? At Lawry’s California Center (near downtown Los Angeles) they served some of the best Barbacoa this side of the border. Barbacoa is a method of cooking meat (historically lamb or goat) that turns tough cuts of meat into tender and juicy shards of protein. Traditionally steam-cooked in an underground pit, today’s modern barbacoa can be prepared over a barbecue, on the stove top, in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. Barbacoa is cooked in a flavorful marinade and, when tender, it is shredded before it's served in tacos, burritos, enchiladas or other plated entrées.
Barbacoa and carnitas look similar, but don’t get them confused. Spicy barbacoa can be made with lamb, goat, beef, or pork. Carnitas is made only with pork.
Many food historians believe barbacoa originated in the Caribbean and that the style of cooking eventually made its way to Mexico. Mexican barbacoa is traditionally prepared in an underground brick-lined oven and is cooked with herbs, spices and chiles for hours, but you can make barbacoa in your trusty Instant Pot .
Barbacoa is heavily seasoned. My recipe calls for a marinade made with beef broth, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, chipotle peppers, garlic, cumin, oregano, and cloves. Do not skimp on the quantities. I use beef chuck roast (or beef cheeks if available) for the meat because they are flavorful and perfect for shredding.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
5 dried chipotle chile peppers
1 cup roughly chopped yellow onions
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup tomato paste
1-1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed
3/4 cup beef broth
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
ChefSecret: Use fewer peppers (and remove more seeds) for a milder flavor.
Quip of the Day: “I never thought the comment I wouldn’t touch them with a six-foot pole would become a national policy… just another one of Covid-19’s gifts!”
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America and/or American Red Cross.
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