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braising, slow cooking Barbecue, Latin American, Mexican
Barbacoa Default

Comments: 0


Beth’s friend Laura Quemada sent this recipe from her mother. “Here’s a recipe for barbacoa my mom gave me. It translates into ’BBQ’ in Spanish, but the meat really isn’t barbecued, and not really stewed, so I’m not sure how to describe it. It uses a flavorful dry spice rub, then a nice spicy sauce. Mom uses salt, pepper, coriander, and rosemary in quantities to suit her taste. My dad would probably add New Mexican red chile powder and sage, but he’s a little more adventurous (he watches the cooking channels). Now, if you ask my dad, he says you should add beer to the cooking process, about one-half can or bottle, but mom uses water. I’ve had it both ways, and they are both great. It is one of my favorites. I remember being served it at Mexican weddings and special birthday parties. It’s great with sopa (Mexican rice), frijoles (beans), tortillas, and a green salad. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.”

Yield: Serves 6 to 8


  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon New Mexican red chile powder or chili powder, such as Gebhardt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground or crumbled dried sage (optional)
  • One 3- to 4-pound 7-bone roast or boneless chuck rump roast, patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup water or beer
  • 1 to 2 bay leaves, to your taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, to your taste
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce of your choice, store-bought or homemade


1. Combine the salt, rosemary, pepper, coriander, chile powder, and sage in a small bowl. Sprinkle the rub on both sides of the meat. In a heavy Dutch oven or a heavy, deep skillet, heat the oil over high heat. When hot, add the meat and brown well on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

2. Place the meat in the slow cooker. (If you are using a round slow cooker, you may have to cut the meat in half and stack the pieces.) Add the water, then the bay leaf and garlic. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 5 hours, turning the meat once about halfway through cooking, if desired or possible, to coat both sides evenly with the cooking liquid.

3. Add the barbecue sauce, cover, and cook on HIGH until the meat is fork tender, another 1 to 1½ hours. Slice and serve with the extra sauce on the side.


COOKER: Medium or large, oval preferred

SETTING AND COOK TIME: HIGH for 6 to 6½ hours; need to turn meat at 2½ to 3 hours, barbecue sauce added at 5 hours

© 2007 Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 8 servings, using 3lb Chuck Rump Roast, water instead of beef, and does not include Homemade Barbecue Sauce. For nutritional information on Homemade Barbecue Sauce, please follow the link above.

452kcal (23%)
40mg (4%)
1mg (2%)
15mcg RAE (0%)
112mg (37%)
988mg (41%)
13g (64%)
34g (53%)
3mg (18%)

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