Those of you who are Chipotle fans (count us in) may recognize barbacoa as one of the most delicious burrito fillings the chain has to offer. But what you might not know is that barbacoa is traditionally made from the meat of cow’s or goat’s head. Mmm…cabeza.
Barbacoa, which loosely translates to “Mexican barbeque,” is not grilled, but rather the meat is steamed and smoked at the same time. Traditionally, a large pit is dug in the ground and a cauldron of steaming water is placed in it on top of hot coals. The meat (wrapped in banana leaves) is then placed in the cauldron, more coals are put on top, and the pit is covered with damp earth. You can think of it as a really old school slow cooker.
So are you eating cow’s cheek at Chipotle? As it turns out, no. They’re slow-cooking the shoulder cut of beef. But you can always make your own traditional barbacoa…just as soon as you find somewhere to dig a large pit.
Use today’s Word of the Day: What Causes Meat to “Fall Off the Bone?”