New Ways to fill a Tortilla with Beef Barbacoa

This post is another attempt at persuading you to keep moving past the grocery aisle that displays the taco kits.  You know the ones I am referring too, just say NO.  With a little extra effort you can create new flavorful ways to fill a tortilla.

The dried guajillo peppers are easily located in the ethnic aisle of your grocery store.  The dried peppers lend a mild smoky flavor to the sauce.  The meat is simmered for a couple of hours until it is fork tender.  We moved past the typical flour tortillas and used warmed corn tortillas that provide a nice backdrop to the smoky flavor of the meat.

Beef Barbacoa 
Serves 6
Recipe from Food Network

8 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 small white onion, quartered
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Kosher salt
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-to-2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Corn tortillas, warmed, and assorted toppings, for serving.
1.  Heat a large cat-iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the chiles and cook, pressing them down with a spatula, 10 seconds per side: transfer to a plate.  Add the tomatoes, onion and garlic to the skillet and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are charred in spots, about 10 minutes.
2.  Peel the garlic and transfer to a blender along with the tomatoes and onion (reserve the skillet).  Tear the chiles into pieces and add to the blender along with 1/2 cup water and 1 teaspoon salt; pulse until smooth.  Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the skillet; pressing it through with the back of a spoon.
3.  Add the beef to the skillet and turn to coat in the chile sauce using tongs.  Cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until a crust starts to form on the meat, about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle in the cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and cook 1 more minute.  meanwhile, puree 2-1/2 cups water, the cilantro and thyme in the blender; add to the skillet along with the bay leaves.
4.  Reduce the heat to low.  Cover and gently simmer until the meat is very tender, about 2-hours, adding up to 1-1/2 cups water if the sauce gets to thick.  Remove the bay leaves and season with salt and black pepper.  Serve in tortillas with assorted toppings.

26 thoughts on “New Ways to fill a Tortilla with Beef Barbacoa

  1. This is making me rethink my request for steak tomorrow!! I am proud to say that I've never purchased one of those \”kits\”.Hope you have a delicious Mother's Day.Best,Bonnie


  2. this is my kind of meal! miss Mexican food! although food here is amazing, it is rather mild and I miss the bold Mexican chilies and the awesome tortillas; here tortillas are sold in supermarkets imported from the US !


  3. Oh my, this looks SO good!!! I crave Mexican flavors here in Oz. They just don't have them around here. I've been searching seed catalogs to find good mild chilies to grow, but can't find them either! Gah! 🙂 I think I will order them Stateside and ask a dear friend to ship them over. I can't go another year without chilies. 🙂


  4. So happy to have this recipe. I've been seeing barbacoa pop up on menus around here and we really like it. Now I'll be giving it a try at home!


  5. Barbacoa is my favorite meat to get at Chipotle and I eat in a salad, yum! Interesting to note that so many times the Mexican chilies are blended together with garlic, onion and tomato instead of adding \”as is\” to the meat. This sounds delicious! Hey Velva, I've been making a quick pickled cabbage for topping my carnitas tacos, you might like it: shredded cabbage, salt, sugar, freshly crushed whole coriander seeds and lashings of garlic habanero cider vinegar. Crunchy, spicy good. Thanks for posting!


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