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).
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.
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.
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 de-boned lamb leg
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
Toppings for Tacos:
- 16 to 24 corn tortillas
- Sliced jicama
- avocados, cubed
- Chile Colorado Sauce
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
Chile Colorado Sauce:
- Preheat the broiler.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Leftover sauce can be stored in refrigerator for up to a week.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a roasting pan with foil.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take the pan from the oven and let the meat rest for about 30 minutes.
- When it’s cool enough to handle, coarsely shred the meat with your fingers or forks, discarding any fat.
- 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.
Written by Yvette / Photos by Jeanine