I am starting off with a disclaimer about this recipe for Slow Cooker Barbacoa Style Lamb Tacos. I know, it should have been slowly smoked in a pit in the earth or on the grill. I didn’t have the earth to dig a pit in and we are out of gas for the grill. So, I did the next best thing and used the slow cooker. Guess what? It came out amazingly delicious! Trust me on this one.
Barbacoa basically is the way of cooking meat, and it originated in the Caribbean. It is the word from where barbecue came from. In Mexico, typically meat such as the whole sheep are slow-cooked over an open fire or in a hole dug in the ground, that has been covered with leaves and the meat is steamed until very tender. As I mentioned previously, since I do not have any earth to dig a hole or gas in the grill (major fail) I used the slow cooker to make the lamb shoulder moist and tender. Yes, the trusty slow-cooker. The day before I cooked the lamb, I marinated it overnight in a mixture of onions, garlic, cinnamon, Mexican oregano, and guajillo peppers. It smelled heavenly as I slide it into the refrigerator to mingle. The next morning, I woke up, place everything into the slow cooker and forgot about it. All day, the slow cooker worked its magic. By the time we got home, the house smelled like the south of the border and all we had to do was break open a couple ice cold beers and put the toppings together.
Typically, barbacoa is served with a little-diced onion, cilantro, and a tomatillo salsa. I served it on corn tortillas with a jicama and red onion slaw, avocado pieces, some cilantro, and little hot sauce. Yep, it is pure perfection!
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Slow Cooker Barbacoa Style Lamb Tacos
** inspired by an article in Saveur Magazine and our love of the taco
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 3 dried guajillo peppers, stemmed
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 4 pounds lamb shoulder
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- corn tortillas
- 1/2 medium jicama, cut into thin strips
- 1/2 medium red onion, cut into thin slices
- 1 medium lime, juiced
- 1 avocado, cut into medium dice
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- your favorite Mexican hot sauce
- The day before cooking: Place the first 6 ingredients into a food processor; blend until well combined.
- Season the lamb with some salt and pepper, then place into a large glass baking dish. Rub the about mixture all over both sides. Cover the dish and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning, place the lamb and the marinade into the slow cooker. Cook for 7 hours over low heat.
- An hour before serving, make the jicama slaw by place the jicama, red onion and the juice from the lime into a large bowl. Stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Just before serving, using a fork, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces.
- Warm the tortillas on a griddle.
- To serve, place some of the lambs onto a tortilla, top with some cilantro, the jicama slaw, a little avocado, and some hot sauce.