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Homemade Beef Barbacoa (2 Ways)

We're keeping barbacoa as simple as possible today. This homemade style comes without digging any holes in your backyard. We've got the...

We're keeping barbacoa as simple as possible today. This homemade style comes without digging any holes in your backyard. We've got the meatiest, juiciest barbacoa you can make, all while staying the comforts of your own kitchen. Don't skip out early... after their tacos, Papa's got a barbacoa surprise for you.


Serves: 4-6



  • 2lbs Beef Brisket

  • 2lbs Beef Cheeks

  • Salt

  • 2 cups (475 ml) Beef Stock

  • 8 Garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

  • 4 Guajillo chiles

  • 2 tsp (5 g) ground cumin

  • 3 Bay leaves

  • 1 Cinnamon stick

  • ¼ cup water

Salsa Verde Ingredients:

  • 1 Sweet Onion, roughly chopped

  • 4 Jalapenos, roughly chopped

  • 5 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1.5lbs (680 g) tomatillos, skinned and rinsed

  • ½ bunch of cilantro

  • Salt to taste

  • Lime juice to taste

Torta Sauce:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • ¾ cup salsa verde (optional)

  • 2 garlic cloves, grated

  • 1 Tbsp chipotle powder

  • 3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

  • 2 tsp oregano, finely chopped

  • Salt to taste

  • Lime juice to taste

Taco Assembly:

  • Tortilla

  • Barbacoa Meat

  • Salsa Verde

  • Onions, chopped

  • Cilantro, chopped

  • Lime to taste

Torta Assembly:

  • Telera or Bolillo Rolls

  • Barbacoa

  • Torta sauce

  • Salsa verde

  • Pickled onions

  • Cotija cheese

  • Cilantro


Meat Method:

  1. Cut meat into 3-inch chunks. Season with salt.

  2. Heat a heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil just to coat the bottom.

  3. Add beef in batches. Sear for 2-3 minutes per side. Set to the side and repeat with the remaining pieces.

  4. Turn off the heat and add meat chunks back to the pot. Add in beef stock, garlic cloves, guajillo chiles, ground cumin, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and water.

  5. Bring up to a boil over medium-high. Immediately reduce to low and simmer.

  6. Add parchment paper layer on top followed by the lid.

  7. Place pot in a 300F preheated oven for 4-6 hours.

  8. Remove from the oven and place in a roasting pan. Finely shred using forks. Season with salt to taste.

Salsa Verde Method:

  1. To a medium pot, add chopped onions, jalapenos, garlic cloves, and quartered tomatillos.

  2. Fill with water to cover. Season with salt.

  3. Set on the stove set to medium-high. Boil for 5-8 minutes.

  4. Add boiled vegetables to a blender and blend on medium speed, adding cooking water if needed, until smooth.

  5. Add in cilantro and blend on high until smooth.

  6. Pour into a bowl and chill over an ice bath. Season to taste with salt and lime juice. Stir until cooled.

Prepping Method:

  1. Cut the top and bottom off the onion, and remove the skin. Remove the layers and cut individually lengthwise into batons. Cut across batons

  2. Roughly chop cilantro.

Taco Method:

  1. Heat a tortilla.

  2. Add a generous amount of meat topped with salsa.

  3. Top with onions, and chopped cilantro with a lime wedge on the side.

Torta Method:

  1. For the sauce, add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined.

  2. Slice bread in half and toast in a pan with butter.

  3. Add sauce to both cut sides of bread.

  4. Stack on the meat along with salsa verde, pickled red onions, crumbled cotija cheese, and cilantro leaves.

  5. Top with the other slice of bread, slice in half, and serve.


Tarun Mistry
Tarun Mistry
Nov 27, 2023

Made this for a christmas party. What an absolute HIT! Some minor changes 1) we used english cut short ribs instead of cheeks. Next time I may use all ribs. 2) I browned the meat using the fat from the ribs 3) Once done - i blended SOME of the fat, garlic, pan liquid and all the chillis and mixed this back into the shredded meat

It was absolutely divine!


Nov 01, 2023

Hey Josh, do you reccomend using the point or the flat for the brisket? It looked like maybe the point in the video, but it was tough to tell. Thanks!


Zachary Craig Smit
Zachary Craig Smit
Aug 26, 2023

What's the dutch oven that Josh uses in this (and most other) recipes? The link doesnt take me to the right place.


Roman Vivarelli
Roman Vivarelli
Aug 05, 2023

I thought you were cringe for years, until I got my hands on this recipe. This Barbacoa is so dope, I should have given you a chance sooner. Well done, and thank you.


Nisso I
Nisso I
Jun 19, 2023

Absolutely in love! Was my first time and it’s soooo well explained! Thank you! Also, bought your book with recipes.


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