This style of cooking is for some of the tougher more gamey meats and has roots in the Caribbean, and other flavors of Michoacán Mexico. Later this cooking method evolved from over the fire or in a pit filled with hot coals to a more accessible everyday method of the Crockpot or Dutch Oven. Barbacoa roughly translates to barbeque and since Alaskans aren’t all out cooking meat over the open fire in the dead of winter this is a boldly flavored barbeque inspired dish that will brighten any dark arctic winter day.
When choosing which cut of meat you would like to use in this dish, think of the larger muscle groups like leg, shoulder, or rump. Totally fine to have a bone-in roast and this will help the meat reach an internal temperature of 180 to tenderize the tougher cuts. Some people recommend soaking your game meat in a vinegar salt brine, but you can access this need based on the age of the moose that you have in your freezer. This dish is easily made with beef chuck, caribou, elk or bison.
Before you begin this recipe make sure your roast is completely thawed out, this will help all the dishes pureed ingredients penetrate the meat while cooking. You can use a large crockpot or a dutch oven as long as the roast fits inside with the lid closed. This recipe uses the slow and low method to fully tenderize and meld the flavors of the red meat and savory spices.
3-4 pound moose roast
1 medium onion sliced
4 bay leaves
Ingredients that will be blended together for the Cooking Liquid:
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ lime juice ( fresh or bottled, not every Alaskan has access to fresh limes)
4-5 canned chipotle peppers in adobo
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tbs chili powder (personal preference is chili molido New Mexico style)
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ ground clove
1 tsp salt
Place your raw roast in your baking dish or crockpot and surround with bay leaves, sliced onion and pour over the cooking liquid. If you have time to let this sit for an hour or even overnight it will greatly increase the intensity of the flavor, however this is not necessary. Cook in the oven for at least 6 hours or until tender at 300 degrees. Cook in the crockpot on high for 1 hour then turn the heat down to low for the final 5 hours of cooking. Check to see if the meat is fork-tender before removing from the oven or crock pot. Fork tender means you can pull the meat apart using 2 forks and minimal pressure. Serve with onions and cilantro on tortillas or in a cauliflower rice bowl. It also makes a wonderful addition to a Mexican style soup with root vegetables.
Hope you enjoy your meal!