As a Mexican guy, I firmly believe that every family should have their own “Barbacoa” recipe, and this is mine.
We moved to Columbus, Ohio last year and one of my first culinary endeavors was to fine tune my barbacoa recipe, so after probably 5 rounds of testing I finally locked it down to this one. I’d say this is a pretty versatile recipe, you can add 50% more liquid and turn this into something similar to a “birria” recipe, you can make tacos, tortas or simply have a bowl of barbacoa with the right garnishes on top.
Be patient, enjoy the process, you’ll need your nose and ears today… and also a glass of red for the trip.
4 pieces of chile guajillo, whole.
1 piece of dried chipotle, whole.
1 big head of garlic or 2 small ones, cut in half.
3 shallots or 1 big yellow onion, chopped.
1 lb. of shitake mushrooms, chopped.
1 tbsp. kosher salt.
1 tbsp. cumin seed, whole.
1 tbsp. mole powder (I know this is an ingredient hard to get, you can substitute with 1 tsp of dark chocolate and 1 tsp of your favorite chili powder).
1 tbsp. white pepper, ground.
2 strings of fresh thyme.
3 lb. Chuck steak, 3 inch thick is ideal (for SPECIAL flavor use 2 lb. of Chuck and 1 lb. of rib eye). ROOM TEMPERATURE.
2 cups of vegetable broth.
3 tbsp of olive oil or avocado oil.
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare sauce. Place the 4 pieces of chile guajillo and the dried chipotle in a small bowl and cover the pieces with 3 cups of boiling water, let them hydrate for at least 30 minutes or until water is warm to room temperature. Once you can handle the chiles, blend them including all of the liquid and reserve.
Season the meat. Season all sides of the meat with all the salt and let it rest for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.
Brown the meat. Put a 5-quart Dutch oven or any other big oven-safe pan in high heat and add oil. Once oil is hot, brown all sides of the meat/steak for 3 minutes, remove steak from pan, reserve and lower temperature to medium-low.
Vegetable prep. Add shallots into the heated Dutch oven and cook for 3 minutes until almost translucent, then add mushrooms, cover the pan and let them all cook for 8-10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
Put the steak back into the pan, making sure vegetables are well distributed around it. Add vegetable stock, chile sauce, all spices and garlic. Cover with lid and bake in a 350-degree oven for 2.5 hours or until liquid has reduced in half and meat is fully cooked.
Shred the meat and mix to incorporate with the sauce and vegetables and remember to squeeze all of the garlic cloves out of its bulb and put them back with the meat! Let it rest so that the meat absorbs even more of the liquid’s flavors. Note: The meat should be VERY easy to shred, but please do it carefully.
Note: If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can use any large-deep pot, just cook on stovetop with a lid on until getting the instructed tenderness in all ingredients.
My preferred way to serve this dish is in a TACO form, duh! Use warm corn tortillas, cilantro, some radishes and fresh lime juice. By now, you should have finished your glass of red… go on… have another… you deserve it.
See you soon!