Make Alex Stupak’s Goat Barbacoa


Goat is pretty popular right now. It’s present on plenty of restaurant menus, but what about preparing the meat in your own kitchen?

We asked Empellon’s Alex Stupak about bringing goat into the home, and he came back with a succulent goat barbacoa recipe. While some of the ingredients may be a little hard to procure (the best sources for the goat meat are Fairway or Lynhaven Farms at the Union Square Greenmarket), it’s worth the extra effort for this ridiculously moist and flavorful meat. Wrap it up in some corn tortillas, warmed in a pan, for a fantastic Mexican-style feast.

Goat Barbacoa

Many farmers have goat because the animals tend to raise themselves. Usually in a restaurant setting you have to commit and buy the whole animal, which makes a simple preparation like this ideal because all the meat gets shredded, therefore a particular cut is not required. The avocado leaves perfume the meat with a distinct anise flavor that I find compelling.

Makes enough for about 20 generous tacos.

1 square cut goat chuck (should be about 8 pounds)
10 each guajillo chiles
1 cup cider vinegar
10 each garlic cloves
banana leaves
avocado leaves

1. Preheat an oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Size up your goat chuck and find a cooking vessel that can hold it.
3. Tear open the guajillo chiles. Remove the seeds and veins and discard.
4. Toast the chiles in a dry skillet until they begin to crackle and release a wisp of smoke.
5. Soak the chiles in cold water for an hour.
6. Drain the chiles and place in a blender along with the cider vinegar an garlic cloves.
7. Puree the mixture.
8. Season the goat with salt and rub with the chile puree.
9. Line your cooking vessel with banana leaves. Line the vessel in a way so that the leaves come up the sides of it and some excess leaf overhangs.
10. Place handfuls of avocado leaves along the bottom of the leaf-lined vessel.
11. Nestle the goat on the leaves, and bury it under more handfuls of avocado leaves.
12. Fold the overhanging leaves back into the vessel to cover the goat. Place a few more banana leaves on top if there are any gaps.
13. Wrap the entire vessel in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil.
14. Place the vessel in your oven and allow it to cook for 12 hours.
15. Remove the vessel from the oven, and allow it to cool at room temperature for 2 hours.
16. Unwrap the vessel and clear away the leaves.
17. Carefully remove the goat and place it on a cutting board.
18. Pick all the goat meat off the bones and place in a bowl.
19. Carefully strain the liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the cooking vessel into a container.
20. Skim any fat from the liquid and pour the liquid over the meat.
21. Use the barbacoa as a taco filling. Pile the meat into warm tortillas and garnish them with cilantro, sliced raw white onion, crumbled queso fresco, and a spicy salsa.


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