Tacos de Barbacoa de Chivo

Goat Barbacoa in Broth


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico


By Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral

Published 2019

  • About

If you ever find yourself hungover in Oaxaca, a few bites of this and a michelada will bring you right back to life. My favorite place to get barbacoa in Oaxaca is at Adolfa’s at the Sunday market in Tlacolula. If I’m in Oaxaca on a Sunday, you will always find my family and me eating barbacoa at her stand, paired with a chocolate atole and a big pile of freshly made bread and tortillas. The best way to eat this taco is like a French dip sandwich, dipping the taco directly into the broth and topping it with bits of onions, jalapeños, and lime.


  • 2 avocado leaves
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • pounds (1 kg) goat neck (see Note)
  • 1 cup (110 g) trimmed and chopped green beans
  • 1 cup (140 g) cubed carrots
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans, soaked overnight
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice berries
  • teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 ounce (30 g) guajillo chiles, stems removed and toasted
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup (60 g) chopped onion
  • cup (50 g) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 18 corn tortillas (preferably homemade)

For the Garnishes

  • Chopped serrano chiles
  • Minced onion
  • Limes slices


In a large heavy-bottomed pot, bring 3 quarts (2.8 L) of water to a boil and add the avocado leaves and salt. Add the meat and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes, skimming any impurities that rise to the top of the broth. Add the green beans and carrots and continue simmering for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a molcajete or spice grinder, grind the allspice, peppercorns, cloves, and cumin seeds until finely ground.

In the blender, add the rehydrated chiles, garlic, onion, tomatillos, ground spices, and ½ cup (120 ml) of the chile soaking liquid. Blend until smooth and pass through a double-fine-mesh strainer into the simmering pot. Simmer for 35 minutes more or until the meat is fall-apart tender. Serve with chiles, onion, and lime slices.

While the meat is simmering, start to make your handmade tortillas and start piling them in a tortilla warmer so they stay warm.

When the goat meat is starting to fall apart, turn off the heat and remove all the meat from the broth and shred using two forks or with fingertips. Remove bones.

To serve, assemble a handful of goat meat over each tortilla and serve 2 to 3 tacos to a person. Serve a ladleful of broth along with the tacos to dip.