Updated: 02/03/2016 3:55 PM | Print Story |  Email

Island Inspired Recipes: Barbacoa Bites

We’re escaping to a warmer place… in our minds!  In honor of the new Minnesota Lottery game “Escape to Margaritaville” we’re creating island inspired recipes to help get rid of the Winter blues.  Today our recipe is a Barbacoa Bites from our Luckiest Cook Winner, Patty Morrissey.

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Pickled Onions

2 cups onions - white, yellow, or red, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice onions thinly.  Place them in a container with a cover that you will store them in. Combine water, vinegar, sugar, and garlic in small kettle and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for 2 minutes. Pour all of solution and garlic slices over the onions and when cooled sufficiently, refrigerate.  Will keep well in your refrigerator for a month.  Great on appetizers, sandwiches, tacos, salads, pizzas, and more.


3 lbs chuck roast (fat trimmed), cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cloves garlic - chop in half
1T olive oil
2 chipotles in adobo sauce (or more to taste but 2 are pretty powerful)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 small white onion - rough chop in quarters
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup beef broth or water


Warm olive oil in a frying pan, set to medium-high. Brown the chunks of roast in the oil for a few seconds on each side to carmelize the meat. This step is nice to sear in flavors but not critical, so if in a hurry, it can be skipped. Add the meat to a slow cooker.

Place all remaining ingredients (except bay leaves) in a blender or food processor, and pulse until blended and no huge chunks remain. Poor mixture over the meat, stir, then add the bay leaves to the top. Cover and cook 6-8 hours on low, or overnight. Lift pieces out with a slotted spoon and when cool enough to handle "pull" them apart with 2 forks.  Return meat to the crock pot for 10 minutes or so to allow it to absorb more juice. Discard bay leaves. You can serve the meat with the juice in a gravy boat or drizzle the juice over if an entree. If making tacos or burritos, use tongs to serve so juice can drain off. Unless its used all at once simply add the juice to the meat and it all freezes well.  Serving options:  on tacos, burritos, enchiladas, on tostadas, in appetizers, in a bowl with rice and pico de gallo including cilantro and lime. Bueno!

Barbacoa Bites (Appetizer)


Tortilla chips (round, substantial tortilla chips as flat as possible, not the delicate type)
Coriander Chutney (found at Cub in ethnic section - Delivers a pop of flavor but the bites are also awesome without it if you can't find it)
Crema Sour Cream ( Latin American sour cream with sweetness, smooth consistency)
Grated lime zest (just the outer green, not the white pith)
Barbacoa meat (see separate recipe)
Radish - sliced thin
Pickled Red Onion slices, quartered to make bite size (see separate recipe)
Fresh Cilantro Leaves


Grate 1-2 tsp lime zest per cup of crema. Smear each tortilla round in this order:  a thin layer of chutney, thin layer of crema/lime mix, a dollop of barbacoa, one slice radish, 2 pieces of pickled red onion, and a tiny leaf of cilantro on top. Each masterpiece should end up being small enough to pop into your mouth at once.