Barbacoa with Spicy Soup
If I were truly enthusiastic I would make barbacoa by digging a 6 foot by 4 foot hole in the ground, light a fire on top of some rocks, season an entire pig, wrap it in banana leaves, put down a couple of large pots with vegetables, put the pig over the pots on a cooking grate, put more hot rocks and coals on top, then cover the whole thing with dirt and let the pig cook for 24 hours.
Unfortunately, I do not have any banana leaves, so I am forced to do my barbacoa in the grill. You can actually do this in a gas grill since all you really require is heat. However, I wanted to add some smoky flavor to my barbacoa, so I added a few pecan wood chunks to the coals during the first 2 hours.
I was actually having a good time, tending the fire and chilling out in the backyard while the pork cooked. And then this happened:
Rain. Luckily, the pork had been in the smoker for 4 hours by the time the rain hit, so it had absorbed all the smoke it could by then. I turned on my oven to 250 degrees to finish off the cooking. Easy as pie.
Marinate the loinIn a dry iron skillet, toast each pepper pod until they become fragrant. Do this over medium to medium-low heat. Put the peppers in a bowl of warm tap water and let them rehydrate for about 20 minutes. Transfer the hydrated peppers to a food processor along with the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, and add about 1 cup of water. Puree this mixture for about a minute or until completely liquefied.
Pour the marinade over the pork butt, rubbing it into all the nooks and crannies. You might want to do this with gloves or with a couple of spatulas. Let marinate overnight.
Fire up your grill or smoker for indirect cooking.
Make the soup While the grill is heating, add the carrots, onions, potatoes, chickpeas, and cilantro to a large oven-safe and grill-safe pot. I used my Staub Enamel pot. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper.
Let it cook Now set up your grill as shown. Pot on the bottom, grate above the pot and the meat above that. As the pork cooks, the juice and dripping will collect in the pot and make for a nice soup. The soup meanwhile will cook very slowly, leaving a wonderful smoky flavor and the veggies will be cooked but not mushy. Cook this way for about 6-7 hours at about 250 degrees.
When the pork is done, remove it from the grill, wrap it in foil and let it rest for an hour. Then remove it from the foil and use your hands or a couple of forks to shred it. Serve with corn and flour tortillas and top with your favorite salsa.