How to Make Amazing Barbacoa at Home

Food & Wine: How to Make Amazing Barbacoa at Home
Traditional barbacoa calls for a cow's head. We opted for short ribs. Photo © Con Poulos
By Daniel Gritzer Posted June 05, 2014

How do you grill tough cuts of beef so they're super-juicy yet delectably crispy? Chef Roberto Santibañez of New York City's Fonda looks to Mexican barbacoa. Traditional barbacoa involves slow-roasting a cow's head or a whole goat or lamb in a pit filled with hot rocks. To simulate the method, Santibañez braises beef short ribs in the oven until ultra-flavorful and tender; then he sears the meat on a grill for just a few minutes to crisp it. "The texture is completely different than if you just grilled it—that's the magic of braising," he says. Here, Santibañez transforms barbacoa-style short ribs into stellar tacos.

Recipes: Salsa Verde Cruda
Barbacoa Beef Tacos with Two Sauces

Related: Mexican Dishes
Amazing Taco Recipes
Summer Grilling Guide

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