Barbacoa is a form of cooking meat that traditionally refers to slow-cooking meat over an open fire in a hole dug in the ground. I once saw an episode of Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel when Andrew Zimmern traveled to a small local village (I forget what part of the world he was in) where he dug a huge hole in the ground, started a fire in it, threw what I remember to be a deer on top of the flames, and buried it. After many hours he dug up the animal and chowed down. Barbacoa.
Contemporary barbacoa simply refers to a pile of shredded meat, slow-cooked so long that it’s almost gooey, with a deep and buttery amazing meat taste. While I wasn’t about to dig a hole in my back yard to create my barbacoa experience, I did want to give this a try! And yesterday’s rainy Chicago day was the perfect occasion. You’ll see I used kombu seaweed in this recipe. This is optional. Seaweed helps breakdown and remove some of the gaseous properties of beans making them more digestible.
gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, sugar-free, shellfish-oil, fish-free
- 3lb pork shoulder (or beef roast), fat trimmed and cut into cubes
- 1 thumb size piece kombu (optional)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot , minced
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 3 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can butter beans (or aduki beans)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- 5 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp hot sauce (depending on how spicy you want it)
- 1 scallion, chopped (optional)
In a large dutch oven, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook pork on high heat until all sides are browned (~6-8 minutes). Remove pork from pan and set aside. Discard fat from pan. Place kombu in pan, cover with cold water, and let set for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, mince, and set aside. Dump out water from pan. Heat remaining Tbsp of olive oil in pan and cook onion, garlic, and shallot until soft (~5 minutes). Add green pepper and cook another 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wines, beans, vegetable stock, and spices. Add pork Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow chili to simmer for 2 hours. Remove pork cubes from the chili and shred them with a fork and knife. The meat should be tender enough to do this easily. Return meat to chili and allow it to simmer for another hours. Garnish with scallions if desired.
I spent all morning making this chili yesterday and unfortunately did not get a chance to try it for dinner! I had to catch a flight back to Omaha to see my folks for the weekend yesterday evening. However, I left it behind for Will. And according to him the chili is “soooooo good!” I put some in the freezer before I left to save for a later date – I can’t wait to get back to Chicago to try it!
Off to a weekend of wedding planning in Omaha!