Beef Barbacoa

Is there anyone who doesn’t like Mexican food?

With Mexican restaurants being more abundant that any other international restaurants in any given town, you would guess that everyone likes it.  Well, guess again.  I have one in the household that doesn’t like Mexican food, at least the kind you get at a restaurant.

He will eat tacos and fajitas that I make at home, but they are not something I would consider remotely authentic.  Taco meat made with a packet of seasoning or chicken marinated in a different packet of seasoning are not my idea of Mexican cuisine.  But alas, I will make them just because both are easy and both will get eaten.  Midwest Quesadillas are considered Mexican to this person who shall remain nameless, delicious and addictive, but certainly not Mexican.

Now my idea of a Mexican dish look more like this Beef Barbacoa piled up in a burrito or burrito bowl.


I don’t know if this is authentic or not.  (I don’t know if Chipotle’s is authentic either, but it doesn’t stop me from eating there.)

It doesn’t actually matter to me, I just know that I really like it.  I make a large batch every now and again.  I freeze what I can;t use within a few days.  The first day I use it for burritos and then the next few days I turn it into burrito bowls that I can take to work with me for lunch, or 2 a.m. snack depending on which shift I’m on.

When I make a burrito bowl, I layer my cilantro-lime rice on the bottom, add a layer of black beans, and finish with some meat on the top.  I can microwave the entire thing and add my toppings that I have packed separately into smaller bowls.

My favorite toppings are pico de gallo, corn and roasted pablano salsa, guacamole, and Queso Fresco cheese.  Yes, I know Queso Fresco cheese is not intended for this purpose, but it is my burrito bowl and I will make it with ingredients I like.  I encourage you to do the same.  Put whatever it is you like in your burritos and burrito bowls! Like a famous chef used to say “There are no food police.”

 

Beef Barbacoa
3 to 5 pound chuck roast, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, cut into large dice
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup chicken broth or water
Juice from 1 large, or 2 small, limes
4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned peppers
1 teaspoon sugar
3 bay leaves

Place oil in a skillet and heat over medium high heat until hot. Add beef pieces and cook until all sides are browned. Turn often and move beef pieces around pan to ensure even browning.

Remove beef from skillet and place into a crock pot.

Add apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic, black pepper, salt, cumin, cloves, allspice, broth or water, lime juice, chipotle peppers, and adobo sauce in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.

Pour sauce over browned beef in a slow cooker or Dutch oven.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon white sugar over sauce and add bay leaves.

Cook in slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. If using a Dutch oven cook in a 325 Degree F oven for 3 hours or until meat is tender.

When meat is tender removed from slow cooker or Dutch oven, reserve broth and discard bay leaves. Allow to cool slightly.

When cool, shred beef and put back into slow cooker or Dutch oven. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten the beef.

Continue to cook beef for another hour.

Notes

Notes: Chipotle peppers can be reduced if you do not like your food super spicy. Start with two, taste the sauce and add more until desired heat is achieved.

Skip the sugar to make this recipe paleo friendly.

http://peartreekitchen.com/beef-barbacoa/

Some of Our Other Mexican Inspired Recipes

Favorite Chili

Andy loves chili.  I love chicken noodle soup.  So, I make them at the same time because they both freeze and reheat well.  Keeps up both happy, he doesn’t have to eat “too chickeny” soup and I can avoid the heartburn from eating chili.andys-favorite-chili-body-800

I have used many different recipes in my life, but this is the one that gets requested the most and the one you are likely to find in my freezer all winter long.  This one is similar to the many Wendy’s copycat recipes readily available online.  I usually at least double this recipe.  Admittedly, I have even tripled it so I had enough for guests and freezing.

I make this in large batches since it provides me with a few quick painless dinners over the winter, and it is a favorite of impromptu visitors to our house.  We have a few neighbors that also love this chili.   This recipe can also be easily reduced, math isn’t my strong suit, so I leave those division problems for you to work out.

Continue reading “Favorite Chili”

Beef Salad

Beef Salad is perfect for elegant cocktail parties and casual get-togethers.  It’s all in the presentation with this one.

It is easy enough that even beginners should be able to pull off beef salad so long as they own a food processor or blender.  I might be possible to mince the meat with a knife, but I have never done it.  I am too lazy for all of that, and patience is NOT by strong suit.

This recipe can be scaled down to use leftover roast beef.  I used to make it this way until I discovered that so many people liked it that I actually needed to make a full roast just for beef salad.  This is another one of those dishes that I carry to others’ parties as an appetizer.

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Beef Tips and Mushrooms

Growing up, my mom made a version of beef tips that I always thought was kind of flavorless and tough.  But this meant she would making rice.  She hated rice and rarely made it.   If rice so much as touched her plate, she was done eating.  Imagine going out to a Japanese steak house with that……….

When I first made this myself, I immediately added beef base to the recipe.  It definitely gave it some added flavor, but it was still quite tough.

Since this was one of the first recipes I ever attempted on my own as a young cook in my own kitchen, I have had many years of perfecting this recipe for my tastes.

Mushrooms and onions have joined the party over the years, and green peppers made an appearance for some years.  If you like green peppers, feel free to add some during the last few minutes of cooking.

Continue reading “Beef Tips and Mushrooms”

Flat Burger Sliders

Flat Burger Sliders were created because, as you can only guess, there is no restaurant around here that serves decent thin patty burgers on slider buns.  In addition, there is no White Castle or Krystal Burger within easy driving distance of Tulsa.

I have seen the several hundred, maybe even thousands, of White Castle copycat recipes on the interwebs.  Yes, I have tried a few.  No they did not make me happy.

This recipe is not supposed to be a copycat of either of those restaurants.  I don’t believe you can accurately copy those recipes without their preformed patties, who knows what unhealthy additives, nor their large griddles.  I think there might even be some magic in the little boxes they stuff the baby burgers into.

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Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Stew is one of my absolute favorite meals to cook when the weather turns cooler.  It is easy to put together and the smell coming from the kitchen reminds you there is going to be something yummy served up.

Beef stew is fairly adaptable too.  I stick with the traditional potatoes, carrots, and peas because that’s what I like.  Sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas or any other sturdy vegetable could be added.

I do not use any tomato base in mine, but feel free to add it.  I prefer the pure beef flavor that shines through without it.

Continue reading “Beef Stew”

Party Cheese Spread

This addictive Party Cheese Spread is filled with cream cheese, meat, green onions, and cheddar cheese and can easily be adapted into a cheeseball or any shape to match the holiday.  It can be rolled into nuts, parsley, or any topping you prefer.  It can also be made thinned out with extra mayonnaise to make it more of a dip.

As with most of my recipes, you can add and subtract ingredients to fit your tastes and needs.  Sometimes I use boiled or baked deli ham in place of the Buddig beef.  I bet bacon would also be a great substitute or addition, I just have not tried it.

No matter which way you choose to make this, spread, dip, or cheeseball, it will soften more the longer it sits out being served.  The consistency you have will making it, will be the consistency you have when it has been at room temperature for an hour or so.  Plan accordingly when adding mayonnaise when making.

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Meatballs

Meatball subs are in the regular rotation during football season at our house.  They can be made with frozen meatballs and jars of marinara sauce, homemade meatballs with marinara sauce, frozen meatballs and homemade sauce, or homemade meatballs with homemade sauce.

I have made them in all of the combinations above and I am not ashamed.  Even if you tell me how great the sandwich was you just ate, I will let you know I used frozen meatballs and which brand of jarred sauce I used, if I did.

The secret to great meatball subs using frozen meatballs is the cooking method.  Slow, slow, slow.  You can cook them on a stovetop, in a crockpot, or in a low temperature oven.  You just need enough sauce to cover the meatballs and a little water.  If I am using a jarred sauce I add about a quarter cup of water to each jar, this normally takes 2 jars when I cook for a party, replace the lid and shake the water in the jar to get out the last of the sauce and pour it in.

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Sauce Buns and Red Hots

Sauce buns and red hots were a summertime tradition back home and seem to be regional specialties not know to those outside of the small town I grew up in.  Sauce buns are just like the name implies, sauce on a bun, but if you added a hot dog it became a red hot.  These cannot be described as chili dogs or Coney dogs because they are sweeter than that.  If you bite into one of these expecting a chili dog you will be disappointed.  However, if you know going in that this is something totally different than that, you just might love them.

This recipe is inspired by Jaenicke’s in Kankakee, the local hot dog stand where we used to eat these.  I might be dating myself, but I remember getting a baby beer with my hot dog.  It was the smallest root beer mug I have ever seen, filled with their homemade root beer, delivered by a carhop.  There was only one location back then, “down by the river.”

These sauce buns have a sweet red meat sauce that is flavored with chili powdered, resembles chili, but doesn’t actually taste like chili.  They are very hard to explain to anyone who has never had one or has never been to an old fashioned root beer stand in the Midwest prior to big franchises.  It’s kind of like sloppy joe and chili dog sauce rolled into one.

I have never eaten at an A & W, but I have heard these might be similar.  I have had Coney dogs, not the same.  This is also not Cincinnati chili or Skyline chili.

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Stuffed Green Peppers

Stuffed Green Peppers are one of the most basic recipes from my kitchen. I probably should have made this one of the first posts of the blog since it is truly a beginner’s recipe. Perhaps that’s why I never thought about it, it’s one of those things I just whip up when I have spare peppers hanging out that need to be used.

Sometimes, when I am looking at recipes my inside voice (you know, the one that gets me in trouble when it bypasses my better judgment filter) asks “what is wrong with good old fashioned basic recipes? Does everything need some twist or added feature to be worthy of eating?”

I am not opposed to experimenting in the kitchen, some of my best tasting recipes were devised doing just that. It’s just that at what point have we fooled with recipes and cooking techniques so much that recipes become intimidating?

Continue reading “Stuffed Green Peppers”