Mexican cuisine is one of my absolute FAVORITES. I could eat some type of Mexican dish at least 3 nights a week even though we eat it far less than that. About a year ago my friends, JJ and I decided to set out to hit a Mexican Tour of Albany but we have so far only hit 2 or 3 restaurants, time to get back out there! At each restaurant I will try many things but when I am in the mood for something that will guarantee satisfaction for my tastebuds I go right for the tacos. Case in point, this past weekend we met friends at Miss Lucy’s Kitchen in Saugerties, NY and I ordered the BBQ pulled pork tacos, which were lip smacking delicious. Most restaurants let you pick a variety of tacos which makes me super happy. My favorites? Tongue (aka Lengua), pulled pork (aka carnitas) and you guessed it beef (aka barbacoa.)
If you frequent Chipotle, which I have not been to in ages it seems, then you know that barbacoa (autocorrect please stop replacing with barbecue, thank you!) is on the menu there as well. What is it? It’s Mexican Barbecue. Well I do not know about you but I am a fan of barbecue no matter where it’s from, USA? Korea? Mexico? count me in!
Barbacoa, however, is not made on a direct open flame like say an American hamburger. Instead it is cooked for long time periods at low temperatures to ensure optimal taste and texture but still could be cooked over an open flame in a pot. It was originally made from the head of cows and or pigs, goats or lambs but now the term barbacoa is used to mean any meat that is steamed until moist and tender. I could go into the history but I’ll save you all the details and let you know it’s delicious and easy to make, what more could you want? Fire up your slow cooker and get going already.
This past week Whole Foods in Albany happened to have a REALLY good special on beef chuck shoulder and when I saw it I knew exactly what I would be making, beef tacos. I peeked inside of my cabinets to see what I had and barbacoa tacos were SCREAMING at me to be made. Done and done.
If I am being honest, I ate the meat right out of the crock pot and do not really need any tortilla or wrap to eat it with. However, having a tortilla or wrap does make for a much nicer display and a slightly cleaner clean up. Feel free to eat the meat by itself, in a wrap or tortilla, atop some nachos or hey throw it in your morning eggs. Whatever you do, do NOT let this meat go to waste, it’s too dang delicious!
- 2–3 lbs beef shoulder roast, cut in 2″ slabs
- 7 oz. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
- Juice from 2 limes
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup broth or water
- Corn tortillas or lettuce wraps
- Lime wedges
- Toppings: avocado, jalapeños, red onions, cheese, olives, etc.
- Place beef in one layer on the bottom of a slow cooker.
- In a food processor, mix chipotle peppers, tomato paste, garlic, onions, lime juice, apple cider vinegar and spices until pureed.
- Add chipotle mix to beef and stir to coat each beef slab. Pour in broth or water and set slow cooker to low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 4 to 6 hours.
- Remove beef and shred using two forks, reserve liquid and sauce for topping.
- Assemble tacos in a tortilla or lettuce wrap and top with desired toppings.
I recommend topping your beef with fresh sliced jalapeños, some thinly sliced red onion, a sprig or two or cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Certainly you can add some cheese and sour cream but in our household that would cause a wee bit of gas, so we’ll pass! Avocado and guacamole make a nice finishing touch as well.
ps. it is also possible to make your own corn tortillas (I have done it before and it’s really easy) with masa harina and water. You mix the two together, add some salt and maybe some lime juice, press into the shape of a tortilla and fry away until crisp. Here’s a super easy recipe for you.
Want a few more carbs? Make some fresh rice and stuff your tortillas with that! That’s what my husband did after a 2 hour hockey game (which he probably played the whole time) and he went back for seconds, score one for me!
Okay, now to go eat the rest, sorry JJ!
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