Recently, Mac from Creating Home asked for people to blog about their summer memories or recipes.
When I think of summer, I think of Mexican barbeque.
Mexican barbeque is called barbacoa, and it's not your typical Texan fare.
Barbacoa is basically slow cooked beef. Traditionally, it is cooked in a pit, wrapped in maguey or banana leaves where the smoke and steam seal in the juices and imbue it with a flavor that's out of this world.
I have neither maguey or bananas growing here so I cheat and use a crockpot. It's not the same flavor, but the meat falls from the bone and melts in your mouth. You can also use a water smoker that will impart a little more of that smokey flavor.
Meats vary. Often times people will slow cook an entire goat. (On the menu, it's called cabrito.) But the best meat is a delicacy only true aficionados serve--the whole cow head.
If you've never seen a raw cow head, it is huge and there is a lot of meat on it.
Americans generally grimace at the idea, but every 'gringo' I ever introduced to traditional barbacoa will swear to you it is the most succulent meat they have ever put in their mouths.
The first time I offered some to Greg, I deliberately refrained from telling him what part of the cow it came from. As he chowed down on his third taco, I told him. He paused for a moment, looked at his food then shrugged.
Darn right it is. Unfortunately, he didn't feel the same way about mole poblano (pronounced: mo le, two syllables)
While I'll make barbacoa at any time of the year, summer is my favorite time for it because it is a staple of fiestas. When I was a kid, as soon as we got out of school, we drove down to Mexico to visit the grandparents. They always brought out the proverbial fatted calf (or goat) and would party for days in honor of our welcome.
I wish I had pictures of a finished spread, but I don't plan on making a barbacoa fiesta until next week for Greg's birthday.
Maybe I'll come back and add pictures so you can see the finished meal.
So what's on the menu? This year we will have:
Fajita meat cut from ribeye
Pico de gallo
Sauteed onions and bell peppers
Stuffed jalapeno peppers
and my Famous Hot Sauce.
Fresh tortillas (of course)
Dessert: Fruit tart and chocolate cake for the birthday boy.
It's a lot of food, but we're expecting a small army to descend on Casa Zannini.
I'm already hungry!
So are you game? Would you be willing to try barbacoa? Have you ever had it an authentic Mexican restaurant?
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