Mark’s Beef Barbacoa

Did I ever tell you that we have a son who lives in Tucson that’s a trained Chef???  That’s right, about 20 years ago we loaded him up on Amtrak and sent him West to Portland, Oregon to Culinary School! Even though he’s not currently using his skills in the restaurant arena, he loves to cook and you can imagine some of the wonderful dishes that come out of his kitchen.

I’ve been nagging asking him to email me some of his creations for my blog and here’s the first offering, Barbacoa!

I’d like to introduce to you Mark Brown, guest blogger today.   His words, his photos.

“Working on a batch of beef barbacoa today. Not using any smoking, my recipe is what I call…easy. Any tough cut of beef is O.K. but trimming out gristle before cooking is important. I start with about one pound of pot roast cut into one inch cubes. The beef is seared on all sides using a very hot pre-heated pan. Next onions and celery added just to soften. Then add the cumin and oregano. Have the wine on hand to stop the spices from getting too dark. Deglaze with the wine and tomato juice, add the vinegar and adobo sauce. Add just enough tomato juice to cover beef. Next bring the dish to a simmer and adjust the salt level by adding Wyler’s beef bouillon, also adjust heat by adding more adobo sauce.
Most of the work is done by now…. just slowly simmer for a few hours and test the meat for tenderness. Break up the cubes of beef to get the flavor of the sauce more dispersed.  Another couple of hours simmering and the dish is ready.
Be aware that any high heat will scorch a tomato/meat stew quickly, so LOW AND SLOW. Keep covered to prevent drying out. Pork or dark meat chicken/turkey could be substituted for the beef .

You can serve it in taco shells, on salad, on nachos, with eggs, with potatoes.
And yes, like most stews it may actually be better after the second day
Lime juice works sooo good with this dish and sour cream to balance heat.”

1# beef cubed one inch by one inch
1 T  veg oil for searing beef
1 64oz can V8 or tomato juice (may only use 2/3)
1 t  ground cumin
1 t mexican oregano dry stems removed
2 T vinegar from a can of jalepenos in escabache
1/4 cup Chardonnay
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce small can (I usually just use the adobo sauce but if you want it HOT use some of the peppers cautiously). The adobo sauce is also available w/o the peppers .
Wyler’s beef bouillon 2 cubes

attached photos 3 hours into simmering supply of chipotles

This sounds wonderful and I’m so jealous of all of this Chipolte and Adobo stuff going on. It would take me months to find all of those brands here in Denver (if they’re even available here).

Beef Barbacoa, It’s What’s For Dinner


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  1. says

    Mark, that recipe sounds great. I would use a lot of home smoke chipotle en adobo. I am surprised that you used wine instead of some of that great Pacific Northwest brews. Lucky labrador, Mcmenamins, Laurelwood, Hair of the dog, Bridgeport and so many more.

  2. says

    I’d bust his chops over the “not using any smoking” but I did roast beef tonight and didn’t use the Egg, so I have to keep my mouth shut 😉

  3. says

    Lucky, lucky woman to have a culinary (man)child! This recipe looks and sounds delicious – I can only imagine the flavors with all the spiciness! mmmmm

    • says

      Canned chipotle in adobo sauce is my favorite new discovery. Thanks to Rick Bayless, I’ve used them religiously for over a year. My Safeway still doesn’t carry them, Whole Foods does.

  4. says

    Lea Ann, I see a great collaboration in your future. Much like Lerner & Lowe, Rodgers & Hammerstein or Yogi & Boo-Boo…

    You & Mark could really fill some awesome “picnic” baskets!

    Mark, this is an incredible combination of heat & flavor. I like the versatility of your “Whats for dinner” beef barbacoa. I am sure with each way one serves it, it gets rave reviews. Many thanks for sharing a terrific recipe….

  5. says

    You dida wonderful job with this post. I’ll bet it’s great to have a chef, even if inactive, in the family. I’d love some barbacoa on a bun right now. Thanks for sharing his recipe with us Lea Ann. I hope you have a lovely day.

  6. says

    Sounds like your guest poster knows what he’s talking about. I think having a chef in the family would be great along with an airline pilot (when families could fly free), and a doctor.

  7. says

    No, you did *not* mention this very important fact. And I’m jealous. You need to keep on picking his culinary brain! Would you laugh at me if I told you I have never heard the word “barbacoa” before? The word makes me of a cheesy Jane Fonda movie called Barbarella, but that’s beside the point. I am now informed (thank you Google and wiki). I also had to Google jalapenos in escabache, but I’m not going to mention that lest I sound completely ignorant 😉

    • says

      LOL Karen. I have picked and picked and picked that culinary brain of his. And picked! The only time I’ve heard of barbacoa was a barbacoa burrito that a “Mexican” restaurant served in Morrison, CO. It was yummy. I’ve never made it and now that I think about it, probably thought it was just a name that restaurant made up. You need to get a Rick Bayless cookbook, he’s always doing an escabache. Wonderful flavors.

      When I actually try to make barbacoa, I’ll name it Barbacoa Barbarella. Just for you.

      • says

        Lol! Jane Fonda would be proud! I’ve breezed through Rick Bayless via my local library, and made a few recipes via food and wine website, but I don’t actually own one of his books. And I really should, because I have never been disappointed in one of his recipes!

  8. buffalo dick says

    He uses a lot of the same tricks I do! Can be done in a pressure cooker, if you don’t have the time… Buy a smoker-soon!

  9. says

    Sounds great! I have a son that isn’t a trained chef… but is very adventuresome in the kitchen… loves to try new things and create new dishes… I guess Mothers can be inspired by sons too!

  10. says

    I know you are so proude. I haven’t heard of barbacoa before, but now I know and it looks and sounds incredible. One of the best dfeatures is it has so many uses!

  11. says

    Looks fabulous… sorry I haven’t been around for awhile, I moved to the US Virgin Islands (I still giggle when I say that) for six months, and it is taking awhile to get settled. But i do think I am caught up, and will be back with new postings…

    Come take a look at my new blogs of Island life!

    i am loving the peppers…so much flavor, and will be fabulous with all that extra spices!

  12. says

    What a wonderful dish prepared by your son. I think it is way cool to have a son that is culinary trained. I love all the chipotle peppers brands. I don’t think we have such a variety here in Tallahassee, Florida.

  13. says

    Not sure if anyone else said this, but you can find all kinds of great Mexican ingredients at Azanza, 1314 S Federal Blvd. Basically, a Mexican-focused King Sooper’s type of store. Good stuff. Check it out.

    • says

      I do appreciate that. I remember going to a large market on Alameda, and then the last time I drove by, it was gone. Thank you for this information. Can’t wait to head over and take a look.

  14. Debbie says

    I have just discovered your website thanks to Mark. I live in Tucson and I am always asking him what he has cooked thats new. Yesterday he suggested that I check this out. I am off to the grocery store today feeling inspired.


  1. […] Mark In Tucson’s Tuna Salad April 2, 2010 at 3:05 pm | In 1 | Leave a Comment Here’s another dish that Mark In Tucson has sent over. As you may remember, Mark is our chef-trained son who attended Culinary School in Portland and now lives in Tucson with his lovely wife Dora. About a month ago, I featured Mark’s Beef  Barbacoa. If you missed it, take a look by clicking HERE.  […]

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