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Barbacoa de Cabeza

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posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 11:45 AM
Traditionally, a sort of 'weekend special' Sunday morning breakfast meat, typically eaten in tortillas (corn or flour) with onions, cilantro and a touch of salsa or a fresh pico de gallo.

It also goes quite well along side huevos rancheros with fried potatoes, beans and tortillas.

We spent the christmas holiday in San Antonio with our daughters and my wife's family, it was the first time I had been back there in about 15 years. So ... yeah... I've been jonesin' for some good ole' down home traditional Tex-Mex faire. That second pic was breakfast the first morning back there at a little mom & pop shop. In my opinion that's typically where you will find the best food overall.

Barbacoa de Cabeza ... is amazingly Easy to make, with the only time-consuming aspect being that you just have to let it simmer and simmer and simmer, stirring occasionally throughout.

(before we get started contrary to what some will claim, you can't make Real Barbacoa by using the likes of chuck roast, shoulder, etc. it's simply Not the same)

You have to use the head meat (cheek meat to be specific), which you should have no problem getting from any traditional butcher shop. Depending upon your location you should expect to pay somewhere between $2.50 and $3.00 /lb.

3-4 lbs cheek meat
2 large onions
1 rounded tsp minced garlic

Chop the onions and place into a large pot, along with the minced garlic and a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil
(I prefer olive oil, myself)

Saute the onions until they start to become translucent.

Add the cheek meat.

And just enough water to cover it all.

Bring that to a boil, then cover with a lid and reduce to a simmer
... and simmer, and simmer, and simmer ... stirring occasionally.
This batch took about 4 hours or so. You can pretty much figure on about an hour to and hour and a half per pound of meat.

Instead of a spoon I use a potato masher to stir, as it will help to shred the meat along the way.

After about 4 and a half hours the meat will have cooked down to about the consistency of pulled pork or barbecue ... with just enough broth/juice left to be moist, but not so much that it looks like gravy.

If it seems too 'brothy' just remove the lid and allow the excess moisture to evaporate.

Now ... get some tortillas (corn or flour, whichever you prefer), dice up some onion and cilantro & slice a fresh lime

Fork or spoon ample portions of barbacoa onto the tortillas. Salt & pepper to taste. Top with diced onion and chopped cilantro. Squeeze some lime juice over that...

and ENJOY!!

Another way I like to make/eat it is this

Place a fried egg on the torilla. Put some barbacoa over that. Top with diced onions and chopped cilantro. Squeeze of lime and a bit of salsa.

^^^ That was actually last night's dinner.

Serious Good Eats.

On a side note:
It freezes very well, also. Just place into quart-size freezer bags, press all the air out and it takes up very little space in the freezer. You'll get about 1 lb. per bag and that's more than enough for about 8 or so tacos/servings.

edit on 1/28/2011 by 12m8keall2c because: speelings and whatnot

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:05 PM
You Sir, have just made me very hungry!

This looks like an awesome traditional dish. Now I just need to find a traditional butcher in my area for that cheek meat and I'm gonna have me some of this on Sunday.


posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:20 PM

Originally posted by tsawyer2
You Sir, have just made me very hungry!

This looks like an awesome traditional dish. Now I just need to find a traditional butcher in my area for that cheek meat and I'm gonna have me some of this on Sunday.


Good gracious me I second that, this looks absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing!!!

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:27 PM
Ok I want some Mexican. I think I might make some Mexican for dinner now...

I am really hungry after reading this! I will mark this as another I will have to try

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 12:58 PM
OMG Feed me! LOL! That looks wonderful.

Perfect timing. I'm on my way out the door to go and have lunch with Hubby but couldn't figure out what I was hungry for. Now I know!

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 02:52 PM
Update: Just got back from lunch with Hubby. I should have read the thread instead of just paying attention to the enticing pictures. That, or paid more attention to the 'de Cabeza' description! LOL!

After learning it was made with head meat, I opted for my standard cheese enchilada plate.

Still looks good, though.

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 04:36 PM
ah yea a favorite in every way mentioned especially breakfast style with all the goodies also reminds of a few great places and memories from Dallas and Mission ... an alternative if the cheeky thing no worky- you can slow oven bake briskit just shred up with a fork when done

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 05:48 PM
reply to post by AshleyD


Them's good eats.


edit on 1/29/2011 by 12m8keall2c because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 09:28 PM
Excellent job. S&F I had told my wife we were going to do a similar job with photos step by step and such when she made chiles rellenos next. Then last Saturday she made them while I was out of the house for a couple hours. I'll still post with photos about the chilis soon but your tacos are going to take top prize.

Tacos are one way to eat barbacoa but my favorite is a bowl of barbacoa in its consumé with tortillas alongside. You toss in a scoopful of chopped onions and cilantro, a squeeze of limón, chili salsa of course. It ends up like tacos but with some soup to go with it. That is quite typically a breakfast food in Mexico as most of the barbacoa restaurants open early and are sold out by noon - which in Mexico noon is way early for lunch or comida, that's more often eaten after two or so in the afternoon.

We generally cook our barbacoa with guajillo chilis, they are mild but they are the flavor used in red enchilada sauce. A lot of recipes for barbacoa call for garbanzo beans, or they are known as chickpeas in some places. Generally to add garbanzos you wouldn't use them in your tacos, but barbacoa served as I mentioned they are a nice touch.

The meat from the cabeza is best when you make barbacoa from beef, everyone agrees, but using meat from all parts is OK. Barbacoa de chivo (goat) is a specialty in the central highlands particularly in the state of Jalisco, and with chivo you use meat from all parts, but I am partial to the recipes made in tierra caliente of Michoacán - even though I am a highlander.

At a barbacoa stand or restaurant they will ask you if you want maciza or surtido, flesh and muscle meat or assorted. As a fresh gringo in these parts I wanted pure flesh, but after a few years of eating Mexico's lean meats one acquires a craving for all parts, gristle and fat. Now I order surtido, throw in a hoof to nibble on.

Excellent presentation and excellent comida. You made me hungry. Isn't Mexican food wonderful?!

edit on 28-1-2011 by Erongaricuaro because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 06:33 PM
Another way to enjoy this meal is to layer two corn tortillas as the base for the tacos. Top them with slightly grilled onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Yum!

Great recipe!

posted on Dec, 21 2011 @ 09:10 PM
not a shameless *bump*

I'm just fixing on doing up another batch ... jonesin for it, actually.

guess there's just something about this time of year that inspires rib-stickin, down-home, real good, feel good cooking ...

edit on 12/21/2011 by 12m8keall2c because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 12 2014 @ 09:04 AM
a reply to: 12m8keall2c

it's that time of year again, i guess....

temp's around the low 40s this morning, so when i went to the store for some coffee i noticed the meat guy putting more in the case.

needless to say i brought about a 3 1/2 pound pack home with me.... it's on the stove now.

made spaghetti last night and told my wife the cook was taking tonight off... but... ya just can't pass up fresh homemade barbacoa.... mmm mmmm mmm

no pics this time, but i am trying a few of erongaricuaro's guajillo chilis in this batch

edit on 11/12/2014 by 12m8keall2c because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 12 2014 @ 08:04 PM
a reply to: 12m8keall2c

This looks killer. I love beef cheeks since if cooked properly they are super tender. I often make a beef cheek ravioli and you just reminded me to make them again (and your recipe too).

posted on Nov, 13 2014 @ 10:23 AM
a reply to: 12m8keall2c

funny you should post this. I freaking LOVE barbacoa. But I was just looking at making a pork rillette tonight (pork cheeks). Ill see if they have any in stock at the local HEB today. If not, ill just get some carnitas (pork shoulder pieces) and braise them, pretending they are cheeks.

So when can i swing by and pick up the barbacoa taco?

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