#SauceSpotlight: Barbacoa

Inspired by the flavors and ingredients of Hidalgo, Mexico’s iconic dish, Barbacoa, this sauce flavor is bold and complex. In honor of National Sauce Month, we’re sharing a little background on the dish and region of inspiration.

What is Barbacoa?

The term “Barbacoa” refers to a method of slow cooking meat. Traditionally, Barbacoa is made by cooking meat (usually beef, lamb, or goat) in an agave-leaf lined ground pit accompanied with chiles and aromatic spices. Once the meat is tender it is shredded or chopped before being served in tortillas and topped with onion, cilantro, and salsa to make tacos. This elaborate cooking method is usually reserved for special occasions, such as weddings, quinceañeras, and celebrations. In Mexico, Barbacoa is also commonly found in small local restaurants or food stands. 

Barbacoa preparation varies from region to region— changing the type of meat, seasonings, and accompaniments. Today, the term “Barbacoa” can also refer to a similar preparation using a stovetop or slow cooker. While the preparation methods have endless variations, the key to Barbacoa is a long, slow cooking process that results in a meat that is flavorful and easily shredded. 

Where is Hidalgo, Mexico?

Located in east-central Mexico, Hidalgo is one of the country’s smaller states. The region is known for its mountainous terrain and comprises forested mountains, rivers, and waterfalls. With its diverse landscape, comes a climate ranging from cold and temperate to hot and humid. 

The rainfall in the northern part of the state, allows for the production of crops such as maize, sugarcane, oats, barley, wheat, beans, chilies, coffee, and fruits. While the dry and rocky parts of the state are perfect for maguey cactus crops which produce agua miel (honey water), used to make the popular drink pulque.

Hidalgo has a centuries old tradition of mining and to this day is rich in mineral deposits, including gold, silver, lead, copper, zinc, and iron. The region also extracts and exports large quantities of stone and marble, used to decorate buildings throughout the country.

Just like every region of Mexico, food plays an important role in the state’s culture. Hidalgo’s cuisine is influenced by its diverse people (indigenous Otomi, Spanish colonials, and Cornish miners) and diverse climate. While Barbacoa is considered the official state-dish, the region is also known for its Zacahuil (3-6 foot tamales) and Pastes (a version of Cornish meat pies).

How can I use Barbacoa One Pot Simmer Sauce?

A combination of roasted tomatillos, dried chile peppers, and Mexican spices come together in SALSAOLOGY Barbacoa One Pot Simmer Sauce. Cook juicy, tender, flavorful Barbacoa in three easy steps, using a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or conventional oven. For a vegetarian and vegan-friendly version of this classic dish, replace meat with shredded jackfruit or mushrooms. Enjoy the prepared filling in tacos, burritos, nachos or serve with beans and rice— dinner is served! Click here for recipes.

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