'barbacoa' on Serious Eats

Traditional Barbacoa and Beyond at Vera's Backyard Bar-B-Que in Brownsville, TX

Vera's is the last commercial vendor in the country selling the traditional version of barbacoa, and something of a legend in the BBQ world. Located on the Texas-Mexico border, Vera's is the real thing—meat from the whole cattle heads are smoked over mesquite in an underground pit and served with fresh tortillas and salsa. We went behind the scenes with owner Mando Vera to find out more. More

10 Places to Get Great Barbacoa in Austin

Tacos have their own vocabulary that I never learned in Spanish class. Like what is barbacoa, exactly? It takes on different forms throughout Mexico, but the South Texas version most prevalent in Austin is rooted in ranching traditions. When a cow is slaughtered, the head is roasted in a pit dug into the ground and lined with hot mesquite coals and maguey leaves. Every bit of the head, from the eyes to the brains, is consumed. In the Rio Grande Valley, the velvety shredded beef is traditionally eaten on Sundays with fresh tortillas, cilantro, onion, and tangy salsa. I ate all over Austin to find the best barbacoa I could; here are the ten standouts. More

The Food Lab: How To Make Beef Barbacoa Better Than Chipotle's

There's no denying it: People love Chipotle's beef barbacoa, and it's with good reason. By fast food standards—I might even go so far as to say by any standards—it's tasty stuff. Slow-braised naturally raised beef shoulder clod flavored with chipotle chilis and cumin, it's tender, juicy, and well-seasoned. This is, of course, only useful news if you happen to be strolling by a Chipotle when the urge for a burrito strikes, which leaves us with one answer: That's right, we're going to make it ourselves. And while we're at it, why not set ourselves the goal of making it even better than Chipotle's? More

What Are Burnt Ends? And Why Are They So Delicious?

"I dream of those burned edges. Sometimes, when I'm in some awful overpriced restaurant in some strange town—all of my restaurant-finding techniques having failed, so that I'm left to choke down something that costs $7 and tastes like a medium-rare sponge—a blank look comes over my face: I have just realized that at that very moment someone in Kansas City is being given those burned edges free." —Calvin Trillin on the burnt ends from Arthur Bryant's. More

What Does Barbecue Mean? A Word with Many Origin Stories

I'll be honest: As I walked from tent to tent at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party, this year asking various cooks for their definitions of barbecue, I thought I'd come away with more controversial answers. I was happy to see barbecue recognized as the culinary glue that binds traditions from across the United States. Still, the basic response of "low and slow" seemed to preempt the semantic shouting contests that tend to go hand in hoof with barbecue culture. For every word that celebrates the diversity of barbecue,. it seems like a bible's worth of conjecture and contention has been delivered on its "true" meaning More

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