Travelling to Southern Mexico for Homemade Oaxaca’s Beef (or Pork) Barbacoa

In the southern states of Mexico, diners feel the pulse of Mexico’s culinary heart coursing through every meal. In neighbouring Oaxaca, inventive dishes fuel national pride. So on this note, here I am, honing in on a little bit of southern Mexico with some home-made barbacoa! Note that the original recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds fresh beef brisket. I happened to have about the same size pork butt already set for some awesome recipe…so I used it for this one.
Prep: 20 minutes
Slow Cook: 9 to 10 hours (low) or 4 1/2 to 5 hours (high) + 15 to 30 minutes (high)

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons ground ancho chile pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano or dried regular oregano, crushed (I used regular oregano I have in stock at home)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat (I used pork I had in stock at home)
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 fresh jalapeño, chile pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice

OPTIONAL–you can also substitute the items below with rice and/or beans and make a barbacoa bowl
Corn tortillas, warmed
Mexican crema or sour cream
Fresh cilantro
Corn, steamed
Shredded cheese
Shredded lettuce
Guacamole
Salsa

Directions:

1. Combine ground ancho chile pepper, salt, oregano, cumin and black pepper in a small bowl (or large ziplock bag, which is what I used). Sprinkle/or shake mixture evenly over all sides of the meat; rub in with your fingers, as needed. In the slow cooker combine tomatoes, minced chile pepper and garlic. Top with the meat, cutting to fit if needed.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 10 hours or on high-setting for 4 1/2 to 5 hours or until meat is tender. Remove meat from cooker. Using two forks, pull meat apart into shreds. Return meat to cooker; add lime juice. If using low-heat setting, turn cooker to high-heat setting. Cook for 15 to 30 minutes more or until heated through.
3. Serve with tortillas, crema, cilantro and salsa (optional). Make 6 to 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications® MEXICAN Master the Mexican Kitchen 15 Classic Recipes