All About Bold Barbacoa

Published on March 28, 2022

Barbacoa, the Spanish word for barbecue, refers to meats cooked over an open fire. While it’s been adapted to more contemporary cooking methods, it remains a crowd pleaser. Let’s take a look at its origins and what makes it so delicious! 

The backstory of Barbacoa 

Although it has been long associated with Mexico, food historians believe the cooking method originated in the Caribbean. Using tougher cuts of meat, it can be made from beef, goat, lamb or mutton. The seasoning is known for being bold and distinct, making gamier meats a popular option.

While it’s now readily available throughout Mexico and the world, due to its long cooking time, it was often prepared by an entire family or community for special occasions. Similar to Tamales, it’s a communal dish that brings people together.

Preparation: low and slow

Traditionally, lamb or goat is cooked slowly for several hours and cooked outdoors over a fire pit. A small amount of liquid is typically added first, and then the meat is placed onto a grill. Lastly maguey leaves – more commonly known as agave – are placed on top. The entire pit is covered with a lid to steam and braise the meat in its own juices, while gaining additional flavour from the maguey leaves. The end result is beautifully tender and wonderfully flavourful meat.

Beef Barbacoa at Quesada

We toss our succulent shredded beef with ancho and chipotle chillies, cumin, and warming cloves for a smokey and tangy flavour. The next time you visit us, be sure to try it out in your burrito, burrito bowl, taco, quesadillas or nachos!