I like barbacoa. I’ve had it many places and as much as I hate to say it, my favorite commercial barbacoa is to be had at Taco Cabana. I know I KNOW! It’s oily and tender and so good. I’ve had Chipotle’s. It’s okay. I’ve had Lupe Tortilla’s. It was dry (DRY???). SO I struck out to make my own. I live in Texas for crap’s sake. So, not having any idea how to cook it, I had to do some research.
TO THE INTERNET!
The first few recipe’s involved the history of barbacoa and traditional methods. Like slow cooking the entire cow’s head in the ground. No thank you. Then came the “better than Chipotle’s barbacoa!” recipes that required a chuck roast (whut?), many seasonings, and all day in the oven. This is most definitely NOT barbacoa. Then I found it. THE recipe. Simple. Perfect.
1.5 – 2 pounds Cow cheek meat (yes. cheek meat. HEB and Fiesta for me)
1 cup (or less) Beef stock
TRIM THE MEAT! You want some fat but not a lot. Seriously. DO NOT CHUCK ALL THE MEAT IN THE CROCK POT AND CALL IT GOOD. REALLY. So, trim the meat. Put it in the crock pot. Add the beef stock. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of cumin (measuring is for bakers!). Sprinkle some salt. 2 teaspoons maybe? Put the lid on it and cook on low for 8 hours. Cook until the meat is melty and yummy. remove meat with a slotted spoon and shred with two forks. Honestly you could look at it wrong and it’ll shred if you’ve cooked it long enough.
Optional: You can toss in a bay leaf while it’s cooking too. I don’t use bay leaves so I never have any on hand.
Serve: GOOD tortillas. Some prefer corn, I prefer flour. Especially the ones HEB makes in store. Nice and thin. Slater your meat on the tortilla, dress with cilantro and raw onion if you like, squeeze a lime wedge. Consume. Marvel in the fact that you made barbacoa and you can have it ANYTIME YOU WANT!
Note: my crock pot is on the small side. So about 2 pounds of meat will just about fill it. If you have a bigger crock by all means ADD MORE MEAT!