Mexican Pit-Barbecued Lamb / Barbacoa

Serves: 8
Total Calories: 60


12.000 guajillo chiles (see Notes)
0.625 cup garlic, coarsely chopped
0.500 onion, medium sized, coarsely chopped
1.000 teaspoon oregano, dried
4.000 cloves, whole
4.000 allspice berries, whole
2.000 pieces cinnamon sticks, whole (1/2 inch) or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2.000 teaspoons salt
0.500 cup white vinegar, distilled
0.500 cup water
1.000 leg of lamb, bone-in (4 to 5 pounds), trimmed of any paper skin
2.000 onions, medium sized, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4.000 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2.000 zucchini, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2.000 pieces squash, calabaza (West Indian pumpkin) or butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1.000 cabbage, small green, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2.000 tomatoes, large fresh, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2.000 potatoes, medium, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2.000 ears corn, shucked and cut into 1/2-inch rounds (optional)
4.000 bay leaves, 2 sprigs cilantro, and 2 sprigs epazote (optional), tied in a piece of cheesecloth


1. Prepare the adobo. Stem the chiles, tear open, and remove the veins and seeds. Soak in water to cover until soft and pliable, about 20 minutes. Drain the chiles and place in a blender with the garlic, onion, oregano, cloves, allspice berries, cinnamon, salt, vinegar, and water. Process to a smooth paste.

2. Using the tip of a paring knife, make a series of slits in the lamb, 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart. Smear the chile paste all over the lamb, working it into the slits, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let marinate, in the refrigerator, for 4 to 8 hours (the longer the better).

3. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-low.

4. Assemble the consommé. Combine the onion, carrots, zucchini, calabaza, cabbage, tomato, potato, corn (if using), herb bundle, and water in a large fire-proof pot.

5. You’re now ready to assemble the barbacoa. Place the consommé pot in the center of the grate that holds the charcoal, or if using gas, the grill grate (away from the heat). Place a metal rack, like a sturdy cake rack, on top and layer with half the avocado leaves, if using (see Special Equipment) if not using, oil the rack. Place the lamb on top of the leaves, fat side up, and carpet it with the remaining avocado leaves. Cover the grill tightly.

6. Cook the barbacoa until the lamb is fall-off-the-bone tender, 3 to 4 hours. If using a charcoal grill, you’ll need to add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side every hour. When the lamb is done, the internal temperature will be about 170°F.

7. To serve the barbacoa, discard the top layer of avocado leaves and transfer the lamb and bottom layer of leaves to a platter. Let sit for 5 minutes, then thinly slice the meat or cut it into chunks. Remove the herb bundle from the consommé, then, using a ladle, skim off any fat floating on the surface of the soup. Stir in the chopped cilantro, chipotle, and salt and pepper the soup should be highly seasoned. Serve the consommé first, then the meat. Accompany both with tortillas and salsa.

Serves 8

Nutritional Facts:

Serves: 8
Total Calories: 60
Calories from Fat: 0

This Mexican Pit-Barbecued Lamb / Barbacoa recipe is from the The Barbecue Bible Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

"I must say this is the best recipe software I have ever owned."

"Your DVO cookbook software saves me time and money!"
-Mary Ann

"Call it nutrition software, meal planning software, cooking software, recipe manager, or whatever you want. It is the software I use to stay healthy!"

"Your software is the best recipe organizer and menu planner out there!"

"Thank you so very much for creating such a wonderful cooking recipe program. I think this is the best recipe program there is!"

"I saw lots of recipe software for PC computers but I was having a hard time finding really good mac recipe software. I'm so glad I discovered Cook'n! It's so nice to have all my recipes in a computer recipe organizer. Cook'n has saved me so much time with meal planning and the recipe nutrition calculator is amazing!!!

My favorite is the Cook'n Recipe App.