RECIPE | Barbacoa Is The Best Magic Trick

Presto, change-o, perfect centerpiece(-o).

April 10, 2020 ● 1 min read

Recipe by Chef Eduardo Ruiz | Illustration by Zoe Van Dijk

While there is no right or wrong beer to use for this barbacoa recipe, Ruiz says it’s important to use a beer you would actually want to drink — not only because it will result in barbacoa that’s tailored to your tastes, but also because you can finish it off while you cook. 

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Serves: 8


Short Ribs:

5 lb boneless short ribs
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 oz canola oil

Barbacoa Sauce:

20 g Guajillo chilies
30 g Anchos chilies
10 g Chile de árbol, or chile japones
1 1/2 tsp  dried oregano
1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon, allspice, cumin and coriander
2  bay leaves
3  whole cloves
4 cups warm vegetable stock, divided
6 oz  Mexican beer
1/4 cup cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 Roma tomatoes
1 onion
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp kosher salt
4  hoja santa leaves

1.   Short Ribs: Rinse short ribs under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt. 

2.   Heat large skillet over medium-high heat; heat canola oil. Brown short ribs evenly on all sides. Transfer to roasting pan; set aside.

3.     Barbacoa Sauce: Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400˚F. Toast Guajillo, Anchos and Chile de árbol on baking sheet for 1 minute. 

4.   In a blender, purée toasted chilies, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, cumin, coriander, bay leaves, whole cloves and half of the vegetable stock until smooth. Transfer to large bowl. 

5.   In the blender, purée remaining vegetable stock, beer, vinegar, tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, and hoja santa for 1 minute; whisk into chili purée.  

6.   Reduce oven temperature to 325˚F and set a rack in the middle of the oven. Pour barbacoa sauce over short ribs in roasting pan. Cover tightly with foil; roast for about 3 hours or until ribs are tender.