Recipe: Barbacoa can be a pressure cooker, by Amanda Long

Barbacoa. Means “barbecue” and is a form of cooking that originated in the Caribbean. In Mexico it refers to the process of slow cooking meats over an open fire.

This isn’t a traditional recipe for Barbacoa. Neither are most of the recipes out there that cook the meat in a slow cooker or braise it in the oven. But it seems to be popular right now, and after I tried it, I realized it’s for good reason! Pressure Cooker Barbacoa is just as good.

In traditional cooking the meat is usually slowly cooked over an open fire or cooked on coals in a hole dug in the ground. The meat is traditionally pork or lamb.

What is traditional are the spices. And how we’re serving it: with corn tortillas, onions, a squeeze of lime, and avocado.

I use chipotle powder, it has a smoky barbecue flavor, along with a splash of apple cider vinegar which is traditional in southern barbecue. I add turmeric, because I like turmeric in my Mexican dishes even though it’s the main spice in curry powder. Then the traditional cumin, cilantro, bay leaves are also added.

The smoky, spicy chipotle flavor with a mix of spices, a squeeze of lime on a warm corn tortilla with creamy guacamole, is killer. You will not be disappointed. And if you love tacos, this is taco heaven.

Here is where the Instant Pot shines, is with large cuts of meat. These cuts need time to break down and the pressure cooker does that faster than a slow cooker or in the oven. However, it takes about 70 minutes of cooking to break down the meat, the pressure cooker does the best job as far as texture and flavor compared to the slow cooker, and is quicker than a few hours in the oven. So we make Barbacoa on the week or make it ahead for the week. Like most things with deep flavor it’s better the next day anyway. I make extra so I have it for lunches or leftovers during busy weeks.

You can make burritos, rice bowls, enchiladas, pozole, nachos, tostadas, empanadas, quesadilla, you probably get the idea. It’s versatile and yummy and great for a crowd.

1 2-3lb chuck roast, cubed

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoon beef bullion

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 tablespoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 tablespoon chipotle powder

1 tablespoon oregano, dried

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 4oz. can green chilies

1 white onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, whole

1 cup Water

1 bunch cilantro

cotija, topping

1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Heat the pressure cooker on sauté. Add Avocado oil. Add in cubed chuck roast (I have used sirloin steaks too, they were on sale) and brown on all sides.

2. Mix the spices together: bay leaves, bullion, turmeric, cumin, cloves, chipotle and oregano.

3. Chop onion and reserve half for topping. Chop cilantro and reserve half for topping.

4. Add the apple cider vinegar to the pot and stir. Add a squeeze of 1/2 a lime.

5. Add in the onion, cilantro, spice mixture, and chilies. Stir.

6. Pour in the water, add garlic. Place the lid and set on High Pressure for 70 minutes. QPR.

7. I like to use some of the broth (1/2 cup) mixed with water to make rice. Remove the meat to a covered dish. Reserve 1/2 cup broth and mix with the water for the rice. Cook on High Pressure for 5 minutes, Quick Pressure Release (or if you need to finish up a few things it can sit and Natural Pressure Release. Rice is super easy in the Instant Pot. (Water/Rice Ratio: 1.25:1)

8. You can keep the rest and freeze it or refrigerate it and use it later.


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