Barbacoa Tostadas

I should probably stay away from reading food blogs on my lunch hour. They never fail to make me hungry and dash my weekly menu plan as my mind leaps to crave any dish I’m reading about. My friend Heather’s blog, Chik ‘n Pastry, always makes me hungry. I’m betting that a dose of Southern, sassy storytelling with a side of beautiful photography will make you hungry too.

Last week, Heather was writing about beef barbacoa tacos topped with a perfectly poached egg. My stomach was rumbling. I had a rump roast in the freezer, so I emailed Mark and asked him to take the roast out of the freezer when he got home, so that it would thaw in time for roasting on Saturday. Like many fine dishes – barbacoa is not to be rushed. You need an afternoon to slow roast it in the oven, then chill it overnight before reducing the juices to a spicy, beefy sauce the next day…oh, you could serve it the day you roast it, but it’ll be even better if you let it rest overnight – the wait is worth it, I promise.

We’ll be enjoying this fine barbacoa every-which-way this week – one roast makes for a lot of pulled beef, which I will happily craft into many more meals.

What’s your favorite taco combination? Share in the comments below…

Beef Barbacoa
Serves 8-14 (see serving notes below)
Adapted from
Chik ‘n Pastry who adapted it from Cooking Light (June 2010)

1, 2.5lb rump roast
BBQ spice rub, optional (recipe for rub)
2 T oil (safflower, grapeseed or another vegetable oil)
1/2 large onion roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic mashed
1 T dried mexican oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 T chipotle puree, divided
1 cup chicken stock
salt & pepper

For serving: tortillas, tostadas, minced onion, cilantro, salsa and maybe some perfect pinto beans if you’re feeling fancy.

  1. Take the roast out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for about an hour. When you’re about ready to get the roast cooking, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Unwrap the roast and pat it dry with paper towel. Sprinkle on a few tablespoons of the BBQ spice rub (alternately, you can just use salt & pepper if you don’t have a rub you like hanging around already), and press it onto all sides of the roast for a light coating.
  3. Heat a dutch oven that will fit the roast without too much extra room around the edges over medium heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering, gently lay the roast in the pan and sear for 2 minutes on each side, until all sides are seared. Remove the roast with tongs and set aside on a plate, while you saute the onions.
  4. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil, and return the pot to the heat. Add the onions and garlic and a pinch of salt and saute for 2-3 minutes. Then add the cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, 1 T of chipotle puree and chicken stock to the pot. Stir. Nestle the roast into the pot, cover and bring to a simmer.
  5. Once the liquids in the pot are simmering, move the roast to the oven and roast, covered, for 3 hours, turning the roast over halfway through the cooking time. After 3 hours, remove the roast from the oven and let it cool uncovered on the stovetop for an hour or so, then re-cover and move to the fridge to chill overnight.
  6. The next day, skim the layer of solidified fat off the top of the juices with a spoon and discard. Remove the roast and set aside. Place the pot with oniony juices on the stove and heat until warm. Set a strainer over a bowl and pour the onion/juice mixture into the sieve and press all of the flavorful juices through the sieve and into the bowl. Discard the remaining solids and pour the strained juices back into the pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the liquids by half.
  7. While the sauce reduces, take a fork and scrape at the roast to make pulled beef, chopping it up a bit as you go so that you’re left with bite-size strings of meat instead of long, messy tendrils. When the sauce has reduced by half, add the beef back into the pot, and gently stir to allow the beef to soak up the juices. Add another dollop of chipotle puree to the beef mixture if you want the beef to be spicier. Serve with corn tortillas, minced onion and cilantro for tacos

Serving Notes: We like to make our meat stretch to feed us for as many meals as possible, because the beautiful pasture-raised organic meat we get in our farm share is precious. This roast will end up making about 14 servings for us. We had tostadas one night, I used 1.5 cups of meat in a quinoa salad – making enough for 6 lunches. We’ll have barbacoa quesadillas with salad for another dinner, and finish off the rest in either chilaquiles or a classic “stuff on rice” Mexican-ish casserole. And that’s how you make quality, humanely raised meat affordable.

Just in case you’d been missing our weekly athletic photos, here’s our group that walked in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention walk at the Botanic Garden. John, Jeremy, Lane, Dave, Heidi, Steve, Katey, Shelley, Mark, Debbie, Chris, Danielle, Jenn

9 thoughts on “Barbacoa Tostadas

  1. southern and sassy go hand in hand, no!? ha ha. i love it!! glad you liked the barbacoa – it is so darned good and does last for quite a while!

    like the pic – here’s a random factoid: when i lived in NC, my job was as a research coordinator for studies grant-funded by the AFSP. ironic you just did a walk for them!

  2. This looks FANTASTIC. Going on my menu for next week. Though 14 servings is a lot for one person, and my freezer is already pretty crowded, so I’ll be finding a smaller roast🙂

  3. Yum! I have a beef arm roast in the freezer that will def be getting barbacoa-ized! Best part is that I have all the ingredients on hand.

  4. Pingback: Saying YES: Celebrating 8 years Gluten-Free « The Whole Kitchen

  5. Pingback: Recipe: Barbacoa | The Brown Bag

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