The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: Lamb Barbacoa for Cinco de Mayo!
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Monday, May 5, 2014

Lamb Barbacoa for Cinco de Mayo!

This is a compensated post in collaboration with Mountain States Rosen Lamb. 

When I was little one of my favorite things in the world were tacos de barbacoa. My parents had friends who, on holidays, would make traditional barbacoa at their house. On Christmas Eve, New Years and Easter, they would slow cook beef or goat over an open fire wrapped in banana leaves. Then they would serve family style. They would also have fresh handmade tortillas. And a choice of delicious toppings like fresh pico de gallo, guacamole, chopped onions, cilantro, jalapenos and so much more. It was heaven taking a bite of that first taco. The juices would run down your arms and the flavors would fill up your taste buds.

There are times I feel like having tacos de barbacoa. But where I live, you cannot find anything comparable. I sometimes get barbacoa when I visit my family in Costa Rica but that is maybe once a year. I long for those days but there is no way I am going through so much trouble to make barbacoa. It is too much work. But I often consider it because it is so good.

I recently came across this recipe to make barbacoa at home using lamb. While it’s a twist to what I grew up loving, it looked great and you can make the recipe in a slow cooker so I don’t have to build a fire and throw the lamb in a pit.

Lamb is a delicious alternative to beef or pork. Lamb is less fatty than beef or pork making it a great substitute if you are counting calories. Plus, only about 36% of the fat in lamb is saturated, with the other nearly two-thirds being polyunsaturated or "the good fat." *A 3-ounce serving of lamb contains more than 25% of the daily requirement for protein, zinc, niacin and vitamin B12, with only 8 grams of fat. (*Source: Lamb, Its Place in the U.S. Diet, by J.A. Carson and G.G. Hilton)

Lamb Barbacoa Nachos - Crock Pot Recipe
6 servings 
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 6 hours 
1-1/2 pounds Shepherd’s Pride lamb shoulder
1/4 cup water
1 chipotle chili
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
corn tortillas
vegetable oil, as needed
Suggested toppings:
Queso fresco
Lime juice 
1. In a crock pot add lamb, water, garlic, chipotle chili, salt and pepper. Place on low for 6 hours.
2. Cut corn tortillas in quarters. Heat oil in shallow skillet over medium heat and fry tortillas until crisp for approx. 2 minutes turning half way through. Place on paper towels to drain.
3. Shred lamb and layer on tortilla chips with your favorite toppings.

Recipe and photo courtesy of A Thrifty Diva at
I cannot wait to try this recipe. It is also a great recipe for Cinco de Mayo. If you are having a Cinco de Mayo party, this would make a great appetizer! I think your guests would absolutely love it. I don't often cook with lamb because I am not that savvy on how to cook it but with easy and delicious recipes like this, I always give it a try.

And Mountain States Rosen Shepherd's Pride Lamb is a great product to use. Shepherd’s Pride ranchers pledge to adhere to the highest level of sheep-raising standards, including never adding hormones and never-ever administering antibiotics. This Cinco de Mayo, Mountain States Rosen Shepherd's Pride Lamb is having a great contest on its Facebook page. They are giving away 6 piece knife set valued at $150. Head over to the Mountain Rosen Facebook page to enter!

I know I will be trying this recipe soon! Maybe it might become a tradition for my holidays!


  1. I really like that it can be made in the slow cooker, this surely makes it so much easier.

  2. I'm unfamiliar with barbacoa and just spent way too much time surfing the interwebs and reading about different barbacoa traditions and recipes. Although I think I'll be keeping far far away from the goat-head versions, there are some tamer ones that suit me better. Thanks for introducing me to barbacoa!

  3. My husband adores lamb, but for me it's going to be an acquired taste. But I'm willing to learn to love it for him. I'm a slow cooker kinda gal so this would be perfect way for me to try and cook it on my own! When I do, I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out! Thank you for the recipe.