Week 10: Tacos – Beef Barbacoa Tacos

What a coincidence that I would be vacationing in Mexico during the challenge week of Tacos! It was so wonderful to be able to go to the market here, where they have so many different chile peppers available, both fresh and dried. It’s sometimes very difficult to find a good selection at home in New York.

These are the three dried chiles that I chose.  IMG_5388

Start out by preheating your oven to 275°. Take the dried chiles and place them in a sauce pan, over medium high heat, turning them occasionally, until they are toasted and you start to smell their aroma. Add 2 cups of beef broth, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook chiles until they become tender. About 10 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve for later use.


Now heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a dutch oven. Cook oxtails until they are well browned on both sides. Remove meat and set aside. (Side note: these are not oxtails, they didn’t have that in the market. I don’t know what cut this is because I cannot read or speak spanish. I chose the because they have a bone in, and were moderately priced)


Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil, and the onions & garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until onions start to become translucent and browned.


Add cumin, cloves and oregano, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Add chipotle chilis, vinegar, and remaining beef broth. Scrape up browned bits from bottom of pan, simmer until reduced by about half, then transfer entire contents to the pot to a blender. You can use an immersion blender too, as I did. Add soaked chilis and their liquid to the blender along with fish sauce. Start blender on low and slowly increase speed to high. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Place beef chuck in Dutch oven. Add oxtails, bay leaves, and pureed sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Place lid on pot and transfer to oven. Cook, turning beef occasionally for about 4 hours, or until meat shows no resistance to a skewer inserted.

Discard bay leaves and oxtails. Transfer chuck to a large plate. Continue cooking the sauce that remains in Dutch oven, on stovetop, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat until liquid is reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 5 minutes.


Shred beef with 2 forks or you fingers and return to pot, bring to a simmer and cook, gently stirring and folding until beef is hot, tender, and coated in sauce. Serve immediately.





  • 3 whole dried chile de árbol, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 whole chile ancho or pasilla, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 whole chile guajillo, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 quart low sodium store-bought or homemade beef broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
  • 1 pound oxtails
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 chipotle chilis packed in adobo, roughly chopped, with 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 whole chuck-eye roast (about 4 pounds), or 4 pounds boneless shortribs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Warm tortillas and your choice of condiments for serving

Adapted from Serious Eats


Amazing Guacamole

I am pretty sure everyone loves guacamole. If you don’t, you will after you try this one. It’s a bit more “wild” than most guacamole. You can kick up the spice (or tone it down) depending on your taste. It has a lot more going on than traditional guac, but that is what makes it special. I have made this for almost every party I’ve thrown, or attended, in the last 5 years, and someone asks for the recipe EVERY time. This is definitely a revved up guacamole that I promise you will make over and over again!

I like to dice up all the ingredients besides the avocado, so there is no time for it to discolor. I also like to put the avocado in a food processor for a smoother, creamier texture. But it tastes just as good mashed with a fork, in a pinch.

When dicing the tomatoes, it try and get rid of as many seeds and “goo” as possible. I recently heard of a great technique for this. Cut the tomato in half, scoop out the pulp and dice the remainder. Clearly, I did not use this technique in the above example.

After everything is chopped, sliced and diced, cut open the avocados and mash or process.

Look how beautiful that color is. Avocados are such pretty fruits. Did you know that avocados are technically considered large berries??

After you mash or puree you avocado, dump in ALL THE THINGS!

Mix together well, and serve immediately!

If I have them on hand, or can remember while I’m in the market, I like to sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top of the guac after it’s mixed up. Don’t mix the seeds into the guac, they will just burst while you mix. You want to get the burt of the seed in your mouth. It’s a very unique addition, and it tastes fantastic!


Recipe adapted from “Hot Barbecue” by Hugh Carpenter & Teri Sandison

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • Kernels from one ear of corn (about 1/3 c if you use frozen)
  • 1 ripe tomato, seeded & chopped
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 c chopped red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (you could never have too much garlic!)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp hot chili sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

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