Taqueria Barbacoa Tacos W/ Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

Barbacoa is one of those delicious meats that is so often sought, until most people find out it’s usually beef cheek. For some odd reason, this whole truth sometimes makes people squirm, but why?? Barbacoa has an amazing flavor that runs deep in the roots of Mexico. I first fell in love with it when we would go to the valley to visit my Spaniard grandmother, flaming red hair and blue eyes-she didn’t speak a word of English, and my aunt. They lived about 4 blocks from a Mexican bakery where my mother and aunt were childhood friends with the owner. We always walked to the bakery and would get 2 lbs. of barbacoa, white corn tortillas and fresh Mexican pastries. I couldn’t wait for a steaming hot barbacoa taco and soda. They’re just good memories with good food.

The Meat:
2.5-3 lb cheek meat
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tbs salt
1/4 c water

The Salsa:
7 small-med tomatillos, husks removed
2 med jalapenos, stems removed
1 c fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 c water
1/3 c yellow onions, chopped
Salt to taste
1 large avocado, diced

Corn tortillas (1 each)

Set your slow cooker to 8 hours. Add your meat and sprinkle with garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Add water and cover tightly. Carefully turn the meat every 2-3 hours (this step isn’t necessary, it’s just what I personally do). While the meat is cooking, make the salsa.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Arrange cleaned tomatillos on a nonstick sheet pan. Place jalapenos in the center of the pan. Roast for roughly 20 minutes or until the jalapenos begin to scorch and the tomatillos start to ooze. Remove pan from over and transfer ingredients to a food processor. Allow to cool about 15 minutes. Add cilantro, lime juice and water. Pulse until cilantro is fine chopped. Add onion and salt to taste. Pulse about 4 times until onion is fine chopped. Transfer to a bowl and add avocado. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.
Once the barbacoa is about 1 hour from being done, remove all but maybe 1/2 c of the liquid. Remove and large chunks of fat and discard. Break the meat up with a fork and cover. Continue cooking for 1 hour. When the barbacoa is ready, heat the tortillas. You can heat them the traditional way on a comal or in the microwave or on the stove, completely your choice.
Add about 1/4 c barbacoa to each tortilla and serve with salsa.