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July 6, 2011
Barbacoa de Cabeza and Smoked Groundhog

I got invited to a really cool July 4th weekend BBQ. The main course was Barbacoa de Cabeza, i.e., barbecued cow head. If you aren't familiar with Barbacoa de Cabeza, which I'm sure you're probably not, the game plan is to dig a hole in your yard, set a fire in it, and cook a cow's head overnight. Then you pull the meat off and serve with tortillas. Take a look at this!!!!

barbacoa de cabeza photo
Yes, this is a cow head!

The BBQ was scheduled for Sunday afternoon so on Saturday a nice sized hole was dug in the backyard a couple of feet deep. A fire was started in the hole and then a couple of inches of dirt was put on the fire. The cow head was rubbed with spices and lemons, wrapped in parchment paper, then wrapped again in burlap. The whole thing was then put in the hole, covered with some dirt, and then a small fire was started on top. The plan was to leave the head to cook overnight.

barbacoa de cabeza hole picture

At 11:00AM on Sunday the shovels came out to dig up lunch.

barbacoa de cabeza

The burlap was quite hot to the touch after cooking all night long.

barbacoa de cabeza

After the head was allowed to rest a bit the meat was pulled off the jaw, cheek and mouth areas. The meat was then diced up for eating on a tortilla.

barbacoa de cabeza

barbacoa de cabeza

How's that for an outstanding soft taco? The flavor in the meat was incredible; something I've never experienced before. It really went well with with soft taco toppings.

barbacoa de cabeza

In addition to the barbacoa de cabeza a lot of other great food was served. I brought the appetizer: Smoked Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers!

stuffed jalapeno peppers as appetizer

The smoker was also going early in the morning. On the smoker was groundhog, beef brisket, and beef backribs.

barbacoa de cabeza

My camera was busy snapping shots of all the other outstanding dishes. Take a look:

barbacoa de cabeza

Beef back ribs

barbacoa de cabeza

Beef brisket

barbacoa de cabeza

Smoked groundhog

In addition to all the above great food, these guys are outstanding home brewers. We sampled all sorts of homebrews. We finished off with a raspberry lambic beer. This beer was flavored with raspberry and had a fantastic sour taste. This was a dessert beer for sure and we poured it over vanilla ice cream. What a way to end the BBQ!

barbacoa de cabeza

If we were handing out awards for the most diverse and tasty BBQ, this would win!

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By John Thomas
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