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Texas Stories | Barbacoa

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Barbacoa Sundays – It’s a way of life in South Texas.  Rooted in family traditions of backyard cooking, barbacoa is a cultural taste that grew out of farms and ranches and is enjoyed by many families across Texas. Slow-cooked or steamed to beef cheek perfection, barbacoa is prepared traditionally in a pozo, also known as an in-ground pit or outdoor oven.

Today, we invite you to meet Rufel Serna – rancher, oil man and barbacoa pitmaster. Rufel, with his wife, Tommie Ann and his three grown children, lead the ranch life in Seven Sisters, Texas.  More than four generations of the Serna family have shared their love of food and South Texas traditions with each other at their home. :snip:    

https://www.beeflovingtexans.com/texas-story/barbacoa/ 

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How to Cook Authentic Barbacoa

by TEXAS MONTHLY STAFF SEPTEMBER  2010 4 COMMENTS 

“The kernel of South Texas cuisine is economy,” says Melissa Guerra, a South Texas native and the author of Dishes From the Wild Horse Desert: Norteño Cooking of South Texas. “Barbacoa, made from the meat of a cow’s head, is cheap yet rich in flavor.” Customarily served at weekend breakfasts, the cheek, or cachete, is loaded with collagen, and slow-roasting enhances its savory flavor and silky texture. These days, nearly all meat called barbacoa is either a baked or steamed rump roast, but historically people cooked a cow’s head en pozo, in an underground pit. Armando Vera, the owner of Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que, in Brownsville, runs one of the last restaurants in the state that remains true to that centuries-old tradition. (Most cities have banned the practice, but his 55-year-old establishment operates under a grandfather clause.) Vera’s pit, which sells up to 65 heads a weekend, measures 3.5 feet wide, 5.5 feet long, and 5.5 feet deep and is lined with firebrick. To make your own authentic barbacoa—not the stuff you find at Chipotle—dig a hole in your backyard and follow Vera’s tips.

La Cabeza

A local slaughterhouse sells cabezas to Vera, but he recommends backyard pitmasters buy their meat from a local carnicería, or butcher shop. (Some markets may carry only cheek meat, a fine substitution.) Rinse and remove any trace of hide or hair. Bundle the head in a burlap sack soaked with water or simply wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil.

El Fuego

Burn large chunks of wood—Vera prefers mesquite, which is plentiful in South Texas— :snip:  http://www.texasmonthly.com/food/how-to-cook-authentic-barbacoa/

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