Barbacoa Beef Tacos (Martes de Tacos!)
I love Tuesdays... It's cheap day at the movie theatre, and it's my favorite of the food theme days.... Taco Tuesday!!! It's one of those foods I've been eating since I was a kid. The yellow box kit from the grocery store, parents cooking up the ground beef, and then I'd pile mine high with cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, green onions, before taking a bite and having half of it fall onto my plate (it was always tasty to mix the droppings in with my rice after though).
While amazing and delicious tacos with beautiful pulled meat, great seasonings and fresh toppings and shells may be nothing new to those growing up in Latin countries or families, in North America, the taco trend has exploded over the last couple years. There are several taco stands, food trucks, and even restaurants making incredible tacos, bursting with unreal flavours! It's an ultimate street food, perfect for handheld eating, and has been really elevated by some great chefs with bold ideas.
A great thing about tacos, are their versatility. Having a bunch of people over who all have different food preferences? No problem. Set up a taco bar with different meats, maybe some shrimp, and fresh topping options and you're all set! Tacos are also a great option for kids. It's fun letting them build their own tacos, and you can also cater to their likes with toppings, while only have to make one meal.
While sometimes I still make the old-school box kit tacos if I'm wanting something quick and easy, I've been experimenting with different meats and toppings for tacos. From ground chicken to pulled chicken, ground beef to barbacoa beef, to even fish and shrimp, and vegetarian...once. I make sure when I'm making a pulled meat I'm adding some spice and lots of citrus. I find it absorbs so nicely into the meat and the flavours you're left with at the end of cooking are unreal. It also makes the house smell amazing (someone should invent a tacos cooking scented candle!).
This time around, I wanted to do a barbacoa beef style taco. Now while I didn't go completely authentic and dig a hole in my backyard or make a fire pit to cook the meat, the slow cooker worked great (this is something you could set in the morning, and when you get home from work, taco time!). I covered the meat in salt, pepper, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime and orange juice, chipotle and green chilli and a bit of beer, and let it slow cook for about 7 hours on low heat. The beef was super tender and practically melted in my mouth. It packed the right amount of smoky spice from the chipotles and was balanced nicely by the citrus.
As I mentioned before, the topping options are endless. I chose to make an avocado lime creme fraiche, as well as some pico de gallo and crumbled feta. For the shells, I made a corn flour tortilla this time and I may actually prefer them to the flour tortillas when making beef tacos. Very happy with the result of this taco experiment!
I hope you enjoy these barbacoa beef tacos the next time Martes de Tacos rolls around in your house! Top 'em any way you like and make them your own. Adios!
- The Kid
2-3 lbs beef roast (I used sirloin tip)
1 medium spanish onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp green chillis
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (depending on how spicy you want it)
1.5 limes, juiced (use the other lime half for your Corona!)
1 large navel orange, juiced
1.5 tsp salt (i used smoked sea salt)
2 tbsp pepper
small handful of fresh cilantro
3/4 cup beer
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1. Cut roast into 1.5-2 inch cubes (if there is twine around the roast, remove). Place pieces into slow cooker.
2. Sprinkle garlic, salt, pepper and onions over the meat and mix until completely coated.
3. Add green chillis, chipotle peppers and cilantro and mix to combine.
4. Add lime and orange juices, cider vinegar, and beer and stir everything around one last time.
5. Set your slow cooker on low heat and let cook for 6-8 hours
6. When cooking is done, remove all of the beef and place on a baking sheet, and add 2 tbsp of liquid from the slow cooker. Using forks or tongs, pull the beef apart, shredding it into smaller pieces (see picture above).
7. Place beef into the oven (preheated to 375) for 10 minutes to crisp up the outer edges a little bit.
8. Make or prepare your taco shells, and get your toppings ready.
9. Remove beef from the oven and build your tacos!