I'm am a HUGE fan of Chipotle's Barbacoa. In fact, I just spent 20 minutes of my life making a crude homage to the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World" ad to illustrate just how much I love Chipotle's Barbacoa:
Stay hungry, my friends.
I've wanted to make my own barbacoa at home for a long time, because as delicious as Chipotle is, it's not somewhere that I should be frequenting. I once made the mistake of calculating the calories for one of my beloved burrito bowls. Ouch. Fortunately, the results of my at home barbacoa were delicious, and I've had enough tacos to keep me happy for the rest of 2012, and then some. Actually, scratch that. Who am I kidding? I love tacos, and will probably make yet another version in a matter of weeks.
Depending on how stuffed you like your tacos, and how big your tortillas are, you can probably get about 5 tacos per pound of meat. If you're not responsible for feeding children, spouses, or roommates, I highly recommend that you invite people over to eat, so you don't end up eating tacos for 8 meals straight.
Don't let the long cooking time for this scare you away. The prep work for this recipe only took about 20 minutes. This needs to cook low and slow for about 5 hours in the oven, but most of that time is hands off.
What you'll need:
3 tablespoons lime juice
4 canned chipotle chiles
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano (use Mexican oregano if you can find it)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
3 teaspoons kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3-4 pounds boneless chuck roast, excess fat removed
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
3 bay leaves
Small tortillas, warmed (I used flour, but I think corn is probably more traditional)
Toppings (Cilantro, onions, lime wedges, tomatillo salsa, chopped tomato, and sour cream are all delicious!)
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Combine the vinegar, lime juice, chipotle chiles, garlic, and spices in the bowl of a food processor. Process the mixture for about 1 minute, until completely smooth. Set aside.
Rinse and completely dry the chuck roast, and cut into one pound pieces. Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven until it is shimmering. Sear the pieces of meat on all sides until very browned, about 10 minutes total. You may need to work in batches for this if your pot is on the smaller side. (Note: If you're not using an enameled cast iron dutch oven like a Le Creuset, you will probably want to sear the meat on high, not medium.)
Turn the heat down to low, and add the chipotle puree to the pot. Stir to coat the meat thoroughly. Pour in enough chicken broth to come one-third of the way up the sides of the meat. I have a very large dutch oven, and needed a little less than a quart of broth. Add in the bay leaves.
Turn the heat back up to medium, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover the pot with tin foil, and then add the lid to create a tight seal. Place in the preheated oven, and braise for 5-6 hours, checking halfway through the cooking time to baste the meat with the cooking liquid, and ensure that there is enough liquid remaining in the pot. During the last hour of cooking, remove the foil and the lid to allow the liquid to slightly reduce.
When the meat is done, allow it to cool for a few minutes, and spoon off any easily removable fat from the cooking liquid. Shred the meat with two forks, and serve on warmed tortillas with desired toppings.
Source: Adapted from Food People Want