Barbacoa de Borrego is eaten during a lot of festivities in Oaxaca. It is always served family style at parties so you can eat as much as you can handle. My fondest memory of eating barbacoa was during a get-together with friends in an agave field recently. We cooked a whole lamb in a pit underground, had live music, everybody showed up, and there was free-flowing mezcal for everyone. It was one of the most beautiful, most perfect days of my life, because what else do you need other than friends, family, tender seasoned meat, and good mezcal?
In a comal or large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, toast the following ingredients for 5 to 7 minutes until evenly toasted: cumin, oregano, cinnamon, thyme, cloves, black peppercorns, and bay leaves. While the spices are toasting, lightly char the garlic cloves and onion.
In a molcajete or food processor, grind the garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, thyme, cloves, and black peppercorns as best you can.
In a blender, combine the softened chiles and reserved soaking water, the bay leaves, salt, and spices.
In a 5-quart (
If the lamb still isn’t tender, cover and
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