For some reason I have always been intimidated by large roasts and the braising process. I guess it’s fear of the unknown. But after making barbacoa I’m not sure why I was so scared; it was one of the easiest dinners I have made. And the flavor was extraordinary.
If you have been to Chipotle you are familiar with barbacoa. It’s tender, juicy and packs a spicy kick of flavor. After some googling I decided to use a recipe from a fellow blogger as I was too intimidated by the process to start from scratch as I normally do. If you know me, then you know I did vary the recipe a little. After tasting the final product, I can’t wait to try it again with my own twist.
P.S. This is a great recipe to make if you are having a large group of people over. You can start it in the morning, it won’t over cook, and when everyone arrives you just put out the toppings bar and heat up the tortillas! It’s easy, not a big mess, and not too expensive either!
See the original recipe here.
- 3-4 pounds boneless chuck roast, excess fat removed
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- The juice from one lime
- 3-4 canned chipotle chiles with the adobo sauce
- 4 cloves garlic
- A few teaspoons ground cumin
- A few teaspoons dried oregano (I couldn’t find Mexican oregano in the grocery store)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
- Few dashes of ancho chili powder
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
- 3 bay leaves
- Corn tortillas
- Diced white onion, chopped cilantro and lime wedges for garnish
- Optional: Buy the beef the night before and put a rub on it (salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, maybe some brown sugar) and place in the fridge over night.
- Preheat the oven to 275°.
- Combine the cider vinegar, lime juice, chipotle chiles, garlic cloves, cumin, oregano, clove, chili powder, black pepper and salt in the bowl of a food processor or blender and puree until completely smooth — about a minute or so.
- Dry the roast all over with paper towels, cut away any excess fat.
- Heat oil in a very large pot that is oven safe (I recommend le crueset) set over high heat until it begins to simmer. Sear the beef on all sides until deeply browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add the chile puree to the pot and stir until the beef is well-coated. Add the chicken stock and bay leaves and bring the liquid to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the lid with tin foil and add the lid to create a very tight seal. Place the pot in the oven.
- You want the meat to braise for 5-6 hours, removing the lid during the last hour or so to allow the simmering liquid to reduce slightly.
- Allow the beef to cool slightly, spoon off any easily removable fat from the braising liquid and then use two forks to pull/shred the beef into bite size pieces. (You may want to check a few hours in that there is still enough liquid in the pot, if not, add more chicken broth.)
- We took ours out after 4.5 hours and I don’t know how it could have been any better. The meat just fell apart.
- Taste and adjust as necessary for seasonings–usually I add salt after I pull the meat apart.
- Serve spooned onto warm corn tortillas topped with diced white onion, fresh cilantro and fresh lime juice. A cold beer doesn’t hurt either! 🙂
What to do with leftovers? Instead of having tacos again I heated up a can of black beans with cilantro, white onion and fresh lime juice. I also made some brown rice and topped with the barbacoa. Simple and delicious. Top with some Mexican cheese and you won’t consider these “leftovers”, nope, it will be another fantastic meal.