Lamb Barbacoa

April 27, 2020 • 0 comments

Lamb Barbacoa
The time taken to create this recipe will not be forgotten. The smells this creates in the kitchen are heart-warming and create a delicious and savory experience. This meal takes time to prepare and can be worked on throughout the day to create a beautiful and special dinner for all to enjoy.
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 6-8


3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder roast, tied
3 to 4 chunks of pecan, oak or hickory wood for smoking
Corn tortillas, onion, cilantro, and limes for serving

Rub Ingredients
1 tablespoons Kosher salt
½ tablespoon ancho chili powder
½ tablespoon guajillo chili powder
½ tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves 

Sauce Ingredients

3 cups chicken stock
½ ancho chili, stemmed and seeded
1 guajillo chili, stemmed and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
⅓ cup finely chopped white onion
3 medium cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cloves 
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped chipotles in adobo plus 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
2 bay leaves
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice from 2 limes
Kosher salt, to taste

Fire up the smoker or grill to 250ºF. Ensure you have enough moisture and wood to create a nice smoking experience for 3 hours. 

To make the rub:

Mix together salt, ancho chili powder, guajillo chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, chipotle powder, and ground cloves. 
Cover shoulder roast with rub all over. Make sure to get in the cracks and crevices of the roast for the most flavor. 
Place the lamb shoulder covered in rub on the middle rack of the smoker. Maintain 250ºF and moisture for about 3 hours.

To make the sauce:

Toast chilies in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat until fragrant. Transfer to a small saucepan and cover with 1 ½ cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until chiles are completely softened, about 15 minutes. Set aside. 

Heat olive oil in the now empty large pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add in onion and garlic and cook until well browned, about 10 minutes. Add in oregano, cumin, ground cloves, and cinnamon and cook for about 30 seconds. Add in remaining 1 ½ cups chicken stock, vinegar and chipotles and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is reduced by about half, 20-30 minutes. 

Transfer entire contents of the large pot into the jar of a blender or food processor, along with soaked chiles and their soaking liquid. Puree until completely smooth. Set aside. 

Once the lamb is done smoking, transfer it to the now empty, large pot. Pour sauce over the lamb and add in bay leaves. Place the lid on the large pot, then transfer back to the smoker or 250ºF degree oven. Continue to cook until meat is 190ºF so it can easily be shredded, about 2-3 hours. 

Once cooked, transfer lamb to a bowl, remove ties and discard bay leaves. Return pot to the stove top and cook sauce over medium-high heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir lime juice into sauce

Serve with warm corn tortillas, finely chopped white onion, lime wedges, cilantro, and salsa. 

This recipe tends to be a little spicier the first day it is made. When allowing the spices to rest with the meat overnight it mellows the spice a bit. Whenever you eat it, this will always be a crowd pleaser!

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