Lamb Barbacoa with Avocado Tacos

We have had quite a few people ask us for a barbacoa recipe, but honestly I had not figured out how to share a traditional barbacoa recipe easily made at home. If you have had traditional barbacoa you know that it’s made with meat from a cow’s head such as cheeks and the jaw and it is slow-cooked over an open fire, or more traditionally, in a ground pit, which is a hole dug in the ground. Alternatively, barbacoa is often prepared with chivo (goat).

A few weeks ago our friends at Mountain States Rosen contacted us and asked if we were interested in testing some of their Cedar Springs American lamb and giving it a Latin flair and I figured this was the perfect time to try out barbacoa made with lamb. I live in the suburbs of Denver and baked it in the oven as opposed to digging a pit in my backyard. I can only imagine the homeowner’s association fines and the look of horror on my neighbor’s faces if they witnessed me digging a hole next to our swing set.

Cedar Springs Lamb is USDA all-natural, raised on open U.S. pastures and carefully tended to by Mountain States Rosen producer-growers, many of which are third-, fourth- and fifth-generation ranchers that understand the value of care-in production and animal well-being. When we sampled the lamb, we could tell it was fresh. The simple slow cooked marinated meat came out so tender. An earthy flavor accompanied every bite and it just melted in my mouth. This tender and juicy meat can be used as a filling for tacos, tamales, and enchiladas.

We tried them all but today we will be sharing lamb barbacoa tacos. This barbacoa tasted incredible served on warm corn tortillas with Avocados from Mexico. For an added kick I used some of the reserved spicy Chile Colorado Sauce to drizzle over the meat. Some other tasty toppings include chopped onions, chopped cilantro, a squirt of tangy lime juice, and for an added crunch some jicama slices.

We hope you are inspired to purchase lamb and try out this very delicious barbacoa recipe, which we now know, can be easily made at home. Check out the Mountain States Rosen Lamb website for other delicious recipes, nutritional information, and details on where to purchase the product.

Lamb Barbacoa with Avocado Tacos


Chile Colorado Sauce:

  • 1 Spanish onion, quartered
  • 3 tomatillos, husked and washed
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 New Mexico chiles, stemmed
  • 4 ancho chiles, stemmed
  • 1 ½ cups water, divided
  • Salt to taste


  • 2 1/2 pounds of de-boned Cedar Springs lamb leg
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar

Toppings for Tacos:

  • 16 to 24 corn tortillas
  • Sliced jicama
  • Avocados from Mexico, cubed
  • Chile Colorado Sauce
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges


Chile Colorado Sauce:

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. Put the onions, tomatillos, tomatoes, and garlic on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet under the broiler and cook without turning until vegetables start to get charred, about 7 minutes. Remove, set aside, and let cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the chile peppers, turning them over, for about 1 minute. Transfer them to a saucepan with enough water to cover chiles and boil for about 15 minutes until they are soft. Drain the chiles and discard water.
  4. Combine the vegetables and chiles in a blender with ¾ cup of water per blender (you’ll have to work in two batches) and puree until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt.
  5. Leftover sauce can be stored in refrigerator for up to a week.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a roasting pan with foil.
  3. Rub agave nectar on the meat and generously season the lamb with salt. Pour the 2 cups Chile Colorado Sauce over the meat and rub it on all sides. Put the meat (fat side up) in the roasting pan. Roasting the meat fat side up allows the fat to drip down over the roast as it melts, thereby keeping the exterior nice and moist.
  4. Seal the pan with two layers of foil creating a tight seal, and cook in the oven for 3 hours until meat is very tender.
  5. Take the pan from the oven and let the meat rest for about 30 minutes.
  6. When it’s cool enough to handle, coarsely shred the meat with your fingers or forks, discarding any fat.
  7. Set out all the toppings in separate bowls and serve with the shredded meat. Warm up leftover sauce for a salsa topping and let everyone prepare their own tacos.
Adapted from Aaron Sanchez – Simple Food, Big Flavor

I’d love to see what you cook!

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Written by Yvette / Photos by Jeanine

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Mountain State Rosen Lamb and Avocados from Mexico.  We were compensated and provided with lamb for recipe development and to host this giveaway. The views and opinions expressed about the products are purely our own and based upon our personal experiences. We are thrilled to partner with brands, which we think are an ideal fit for us and you our awesome readers.