This barbacoa recipe is perfect for a big gathering like the Superbowl. I usually make around 3 lbs of brisket (chuck roast works too) and eat it myself over the course of a few days but you can easily increase this recipe up to 5 or 6 lbs to please a big crowd. It’s very forgiving so just add a little more of the ingredients and don’t stress about measuring. Like most meals, salt and pepper the final product to your taste and it will be perfect.
I serve these on crunchy jicama “shells” (thanks to the great idea from my friend Simone over at Zenbelly) but you could easily serve these in small bowls or party cups.
First cut up your ingredients into big chunks. We’re going to put everything in a food processor to combine it but things will go much more smoothly if you do some pre-chopping. For 3lbs of beef you’ll want 1/2 red onion, 4 garlic cloves, juice of 3 limes, 3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce plus the sauce from the can, 4 peeled garlic cloves, 1/2 bunch of cilantro, 1tsp ground clove, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp oregano.
The chipotle peppers and adobo sauce will add just the right amount of heat. If you like things spicy throw the whole can in and live on the edge. La Morena brand has no weird processed ingredients but does have a trace of sugar. I’m ok with that because most of the sauce is for infusing flavor and keeping things moist and most of it won’t be consumed.
Everything goes directly into the food processor as I go for easy prep and minimal cleaning.
Pulse the ingredients repeatedly until they are fully combined and almost smooth. It should look like a well blended salsa.
Next I pour the sauce into the bottom of my crockpot, layer in my beef and bay leaves, then cover with beef broth to about halfway up the meat. Some people will sear the meat on a stovetop before throwing in the slow cooker but it’s not necessary. Just keep it simple.
There’s really no right way to cook this. It usually cooks in about 8 hours on low or you or start it out on high for two hours and then finish it on low for 4 more hours. Starting it before bed on low would be fine. When ready it should be falling apart when poked with a fork.
When the meat is done, carefully remove with tongs to a large bowl or baking tray. Let it cool so you don’t burn yourself and pull away and discard any chunks of fat. Use two forks to shred the meat that’s left. Put the meat into a large bowl and ladle in sauce from the crockpot. You want to add enough to keep the meat moist and wet without it sitting in a pool of liquid. The liquid keeps everything really tender and helps this to reheat really well for days after.
For the shells, peel a jicama and use your mandolin on the thinnest setting to slice discs for serving.
Of course no taco is complete without guacamole and salsa. All you need is some onion, limes, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, salt, and pepper!
Enjoy and go Niners!
- 3 lbs brisket
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 limes
- 3-4 chipotles in adobo plus sauce from can
- 1 tsp ground clove
- 1 bunch cilantro
- ½ tsp cinamon
- ½ red onion
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tbsp salt
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 cup beef broth
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 large tomato, diced
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- ½ finely minced jalapeño
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Juice of 1 limes
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ diced red onion
- juice of 1 lime
- flesh of 2 ripe avocados
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ finely minced jalapeno (seeds removed)
- some salt and pepper (I prefer white) to taste
- Combine all ingredients except beef, bay leaves, and beef broth in a food processor and process till combined and smooth. Add to slow cooker.
- Top with beef brisket. Cut into chunks if more than 2 or 3 lbs.
- Add enough beef broth so liquid is about half way up meat.
- Add bay leaves.
- Use tongs or fork to gently and slightly combine ingredients.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high 6-8 hours.
- When beef shreds easily with fork, remove to large tray.
- Pull away and discard any chunks of fat.
- Use two forks to shred beef.
- Add beef to a large bowl and ladle in liquid from slow cook until meat is holding liquid but not soupy.
- Combine everything in a bowl and salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine everything in a bowl and mash together with a fork. Salt and pepper to taste!