Barbacoa is a Mexican term for BBQ, but it is different from the American style BBQ in that the meats are slow roasted and steamed (overnight!) in an underground brick lined wood-fired pit until melting tender. Traditionally beef, goat or mutton is wrapped in maguey or banana leaves and placed over a pan of water and vegetables. The drippings from the meat flavour the broth or ‘consume’ below, making a delicious hot drink to have before or with your barbacoa.
Since most of us don’t have a pit, the alternatives are steaming on the stove top (including pressure cooking) or slow baking in the oven or a smoker outside. We have chosen to slow bake in the oven. We are using British hogget lamb which is a little older and therefore more flavourful, but mutton would also work well. We are marinating the meat in Cool Chile Ancho in Adobo overnight, then making a nest of Cool Chile Avocado leaves for an aniseed note, then wrapping in banana leaves and finally sealing the whole lot in foil.
Our barbacoa recipe is loosely based on a Rick Bayless recipe, being served with the ‘consume’, Cool Chile Corn Tortillas, finely diced white onion, chopped coriander leaves, lime wedges. For a killer Salsa Borracha (drunken salsa) we have turned to Alex Stupak who has an Oaxacan inspired recipe, which uses the smoky flavours of pasilla de Oaxaca and mezcal. All in all barabacoa makes a great festive meal either inside or out.