I’ve seen the word ‘Barbacoa’ describing some Mexican dishes, yet I have to admit, I never took the time to look up what it meant until now. As it turns out, ‘Barbacoa’ it’s a form of slowly cooking meat and it is where the term “barbecue” is derived.
There are a few variations in cooking techniques, including slow-cooking over an open fire or in a hole dug in the ground covered with leaves, however since trying the later of the two might make my neighbors start to wonder about me, I decided my oven would work just as well.
So just in time for Cinco de Mayo, here is a perfectly spiced, slow-cooked beef taco recipe to enjoy with your chips and salsa and ice-cold Margaritas!
The star of this dish is the chile sauce. I added both roasted poblano peppers and roasted ancho chili peppers along with the chipotle peppers, because I’m a glutton for punishment! Adjust the peppers according to your heat tolerance.
2 ancho chile peppers
2 poblano peppers
4 chipotle chiles in adobe sauce
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 large onion, halved and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
8 bay leaves
2 cups beef stock
3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1) Set the oven to broil and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the ancho and poblano peppers on the pan and roast them in the oven, turning them until they are charred on all sides. Remove the pan from the oven, place the peppers in a large bowl and cover the bowl tightly with saran wrap, allowing the peppers to steam for about 15 minutes. Once the peppers are shriveled and are cool to the touch, remove the skins, seeds and stems and coarsely chop the flesh.
2) Place the chiles, poblanos and chipotle peppers in the bottom of a large roasting pan, along with the celery, carrots, onion, bell pepper, garlic and bay leaves.
3) Season the short ribs with the salt, pepper, cumin and oregano and arrange the ribs on top of the vegetables.
4) Add the beef stock to the pan, cover tightly with foil and roast for 4 hours, until the meat is tender.
5) Remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer the ribs to a plate. Strain the liquid from the roasting pan into a saucepan and add all remaining ingredients to the saucepan, discarding the bay leaves.
6) Using an immersion blender, or work in batches using a conventional blender, puree the vegetables and liquid until smooth. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and place the saucepan on the stove, set to medium-low heat.
7) Set the oven back to broil and place the short ribs on a foil lined baking tray. Set the pan directly under the broiler and char the ribs until the meat is slightly crispy. Remove the pan from the oven and using two forks, pull the meat away from the bones and place it in a serving bowl. Serve the barbacoa with warm tortillas and the chile sauce, along with your other favorite taco accompaniments.