Lets Cook Mexican

Barbacoa Estilo Sinaloa (Barbacoa Sinaloa Style)

I feel very honoured to be  able to share this recipe with you today, this Barbacoa recipe belongs to my brother-in-law’s family, the Armenta’s, who live in Gabriel Leyva in Sinaloa, Mexico, they are a great family of excellent cooks, specially the mother, Doña Hilda, so thank you a million to her and to my brother-in-law and sister to share this recipe with me and to let me share it with all my lovely subscribers.

Barbacoa is the method that it is used to cook some meats, it is an old method that goes back to pre Columbian times. In Mexico the states of Hidalgo, Mexico, Tlaxcala and Queretaro are the precursors of a special barbacoa method, therefore we call this the traditional method, but other regions have their own way to cook barbacoa. In the traditional way people dug a hole in the ground, then is covered with stones that are heated in advanced, the meat is seasoned and wrapped in “maguey” leaves, this parcel is placed in the hole and everything is covered very well, making sure the heat is trapped, the meat is left there for hours, so when it is taken out the meat is very tender, juicy and with a great flavour.

The Armenta’s family do a similar thing, they dig a hole, but they do not use maguey leaves, they also use potatoes and other ingredients that make their barbacoa special with tons of flavour. Here in London I didn’t dig a hole, I used a casserole dish and my oven, but the results were oh! my! just out of this world! You can eat this barbacoa in tacos, on its own or with some beans and Mexican rice. Believe me, you will want some more and more! Happy cooking!

Serves 4

Prep 15 min

Marinate over night or at least 4 hours

Cook 2 hrs 15 min


For the marinate

  • 1.5 Kg Leg lamb, cut in chunks
  • 2 Guajillo chillies, cleaned and deseeded
  • 2 Pasilla chillies, cleaned and deseeded
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 onion cut in chunks
  • 2 tomatoes cut in chunks
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 5 black pepper corns
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

To assemble the barbacoa

  • 50 gr olives pitted
  • 1 onion julienne
  • 2 tomatoes sliced
  • 1 green pepper julienne
  • 8 baby potatoes, cleaned and peeled

To serve


Place all the chillies with 2 tomatoes (cut in chunks), 1 onion (cut in chunks) in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Put them to boil. Once the water has been boiling for 3 min, remove the saucepan from the heat.

Put the chillies, tomatoes and onion in a blender and add the garlic, vinegar and salt. Blend very well until you get a very smooth sauce.

Pour the marinate into the meat and add the spices: bay leaves and pepper corns.

Marinate the meat and leave it over night or at least for 4 hours in the fridge.

After the meat has been marinated, heat the oven to 230 C or gas mark 8 and start assembling the barbacoa. In a large casserole dish place a bed of meat, then scatter some onions, tomatoes, green chillies, olives and some of the marinated, repeat this process again and place the baby potatoes on top of all the meat like in the picture.

Place the casserole dish in the oven and after 25 min low the heat to 190 C or gas mark 5 and cook for 1 hr 50 min on that temperature or until the meat is very tender. Check the meat half way to the process to make sure it hasn’t dried, if it has, just add 1/2 cup of water.

Serve it in a plate with some “de la Olla” beans, Mexican style rice, chopped coriander and onion, lime, spicy salsa and warm corn tortillas.


  • If you want to make this barbacoa for a bigger crowd, just multiply the ingredients for every 1.5 Kg of meat.
  • If you can’t find Anaheim chillies, it is fine to use only guajillo chillies.



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