When I worked at TWO Urban Licks in Atlanta, most of the crew was Hispanic. Every Saturday, one of the cooks would bring in barbacoa tacos he bought from a guy named Manuel out on Buford Highway. Manuel sold these barbecued goat tacos right out of his apartment with a soccer game on in the background and his family milling about. This kind of Mexican barbecue isn’t smoky. It tastes more steamed because the meat is cooked in a pit in the ground. Everyone knows Mexican tacos can be dry, but Manuel’s were moist and juicy, with spices like clove, allspice, and cinnamon along with hot peppers. I loved them. I’ve stayed true to Manuel’s flavors here, but I use pork instead of goat, wrap it up in foil, and then bake it until it’s tender enough to shred. If you have a pit in your backyard, have at it. But the foil-and-oven method works great. The meat is delicious in tacos. — Kevin Gillespie, author of Pure Pork Awesomeness.
After years of trying them, I have had very few excellent Cuban sandwiches. They always seem dry. My version here may not be traditional, but everyone likes it. I use soft, sweet challah bread rather than the traditional baguette-style bread. When you toast it, the sandwich still gets crispy on the outside, but the bread stays soft and moist inside. For a group of friends, split the whole loaf in half lengthwise and make one big sandwich on a large griddle or extra-large panini press. I’ll take those melters, Gruyère and Gouda, over dry Swiss cheese any day. And for the ham, I have no idea why people use the least flavorful deli ham available. A good Virginia-style pit ham — a little sweet and a little smoky — will never steer you wrong. Just don’t slice it paper-thin: It should have some chew when you bite into it. And for the roast pork, I use moist and juicy Slow-Cooked Pork Barbacoa. The signature flavor of mojo, Cuba’s orange and olive oil sauce, comes in the form of mojo mayonnaise. The mayo helps to carry those citrus flavors through the entire sandwich. — Kevin Gillespie, author of Pure Pork Awesomeness.
Lamb shoulder is the ideal cut for this Pueblan-style barbecue. We love this version, which is adapted from Steven Raichlen's The Barbecue Bible (Workman, 1998), and is served with a refreshing tomatillo salsa.
This is a Northern Mexican recipe that is adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless. This uses a chuck roast and is made in the crock pot. My DBF asks me to make this again and again. Serve it with rice, sour cream, beans, and warmed tortillas.