21 July, 2012

Barbacoa in Home

Today I would like to share with you my Suegra's recipe for Barbacoa at home.  Traditionally Barbacoa is prepared by digging a hole then placing a goat wrapped in maguey leaves over warm coals and stones and then letting it cook buried overnight.  Although that way is fantastic at the same time I think our landlords and neighbors may not approve.  My Suegra recommends to use the back meat when preparing Barbacoa, be it goat or lamb... or even beef.  Beef is a bit of a faux pas but it works.  I just wouldn't brag about it to my Mexican friends ;)  
Preparing the pit
Okay here is the recipe...it is not very complicated and it take nearly 0 time in the preparation.  The time consumption comes in the steaming of the meat.  I like to figure at least 1 hour per pound of meat....so keep that in mind when shopping.  I did not put portions down in the ingredients, it really depends on how much meat you have and how much you like garlic.  I recommend using garlic very sparingly in this dish, maybe one clove per pound.

Becky's Barbacoa in Home
Goat or Lamb, Shoulder or Back Cut
Sea Salt
Garlic, cut into slivers
Banana Leaves
Avocado Leaves (if you can find them)
Large Pot for steaming, Tamale Pot, Canning Pot, Spaghetti Pot with strainer inside...

Prepare the Pot; you are going to want to be able to put a decent amount of water in the bottom since it will be steaming for a long time.  But you also do not want the leaves of the meat resting inside of the water.  If you have a pot with a strainer or some type of steamer use that!  Line the pot with half of the banana leaves, you want it covered from bottom to top with an opening at the top (for now) where you can place the meat.  Scatter a couple of avocado leaves on the bottom.
Prepare the Meat; Grab a Chef's knife and go all Jason Voorhees giving the chunk of meat multiple punctures on all sides.  Generously salt the meat (this is why you want Sea Salt) rubbing salt on all sides and using your finger to cram some salt into the holes that you have just created.  Take some slivers of garlic and using your finger shove them down inside of the holes as well.  Once it is well seasoned place the meat down inside of the pot in the center of the banana leaves.  Sprinkle a couple more avocado leaves on top and cover with the remaining banana leaves, tucking the leaves around the meat until it is a nice little bundle.  

Cooking the Meat; pour water along the side of the pot into the steamer portion of the pot.  Cover and let steam for at least 1 hour per pound of meat.  Make sure to regularly check that there is water in the bottom of the pot, but that it is not touching the meat or banana leaves.  The meat is done when it is falling apart and smells earthy and gamy.
To ServeServe the Barbacoa shredded with warmed corn tortillas, chopped onion and cilantro and lime wedges.  Let everyone make their own tacos or plates.
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