Barbacoa is a preparation of meat (usually sheep, goat, or beef) that is steam cooked in an underground oven until very tender and succulent. 

A brick-lined oven is dug into the earth and wood is placed at the bottom. A large pot is prepared with a little liquid (usually water and/or pulque with vegetables and aromatic herbs) and a grille in the bottom so that the meat does not touch the bottom of the pot. Meat, usually lamb or mutton, is wrapped in maguey leaves and placed inside the pot, then topped with the animal’s stomach.

It is cooked overnight, then the barbacoa lovers start their meal off with a small bowl of the brothy soup (consomé), followed by tacos made from the internal organs and finally tacos made from the meat itself wrapped into soft corn tortillas.

Lamb, goat meat and beef used in many places in Mexico for this delicacy. Venison is sometimes made in barbacoa style in the northern state of Sonora, while chicken is common in some parts of Guerrero State. Iguana, turkey, rabbit, and other meats are also used.

Together we will prepare 3 side dishes to accompany the tacos as well. Let’s start!


Tacos de Barbacoa

– 12 soft corn tortillas 

– 500 gr beef brisket

– 2 cups beef broth

– 1 coffee spoon ground black pepper

– 3 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

– 1 coffee spoon oregano

– 1 coffee spoon ground cummin

– 1/2 coffee spoon ground cloves 

– 1table spoon grape vinegar

– Juice of 1 lime

– 1 coffee spoon salt

– 2 table spoon olive oil

– 3 bay leaves

– 3 guajillo chilis or 4 table spoon chili pepper paste (If you will use chili pepper, soak it into warm water, then mash it in the food processor

– Purple onion and fresh coriander to garnish

Pico de Gallo:

-1 tomato

-1/2 purple onion

-1 green pepper

– Fresh coriander

– Juice of 1 lime

– Salt


– 2 avocados

-1/2 purple onion

-1 tomato

-1 green pepper

– Fresh coriander

– Salt

– Ground black pepper

– Chili sauce (i.e. Tabasco)

Frijoles Negro (Black Beans)

-1 cup black beans

-1 purpke onion

-1 clove of garlic

-1/4 coffee spoon ground cummin

– 2 bay leaves

– 2 table spoon olive oil

– Salt



– Chop the beef into aprox. 5×5 cm chunks. Dry them with a paper towel. Add salt and black pepper. 

– Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Sear both sizes of the beef chunks. 

– Mix garlic, cumin, oregano, cloves, salt, chili paste, vinegar, lime juice and beef broth in a large bowl.

– Add that mixture on the seared beef chunks. Heat until boil, then lower the heat and cook it for 3,5 to 4 hours. (7 hours in slow cooker) If you will cook it in pressure cooker you should use 1 cup of beef stock rather than 2 cups. 

– Once the meat is cooked, take the beef chunks out of the pot, crumble it into small pieces. Continue to cook the sauce in the pot for another 10 minutes to prepare a demi-glace sauce.  

– Heat the corn tortillas. Stuff each of them with 2 tablespoon barbacaoa, pour some demi-glace sauce on top of the meat. Add some purple onion (finely chopped) and fresh coriander. Serve with some slices of lime. 

Pico de Gallo

-Peel the tomato and remove its seeds, dice finely.  

– Dice the onion and pepper as well.

– Chop the coriander finely.

– Mix all ingredients. Add lime juice and salt.


– Remove the seeds of avocados. Place the avocados into a large bowl, mash them with a whisker. 

– Peel the tomato and remove its seeds, dice finely.  

– Dice the onion and pepper as well.

– Chop the coriander finely.

– Add them in the bowl with avocados. Add salt, pepper, tabasco and lime juice.

Black Beans (Frijoles Negro)

– Soak the beans into warm water overnight.

– Place them into a pot, add water (3 cups) and bay leaves. Cook until the beans soften.

– Chop onion and garlic finely. Sauté them in olive oil. Add sauted onion and garlic, then add cumin powder. Cook for another 5 minutes.

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