Lamb Barbacoa Tacos

Earlier this year I partnered with Las Palmas to develop recipes that are simple to make, preserve culinary traditions in today’s busy kitchen and have a delicious authentic flavor. I have to admit that this recipe was my absolute favorite. How can you go wrong with tacos de chivo (lamb tacos)?

As the lamb meat cooked my home was enveloped with a smoky and exotic aroma. As we photographed this dish everyone’s eyes lit up. The best part was is how simple this dish is to make.

While goat is a popular taco filling in Mexico, it can be difficult to find. Lamb is a great substitute, and to be honest I prefer it. Traditionally, barbacoa is a dish that is cooked in a pit in the ground, but to make this dish accessible for the everyday cook I developed a recipe that can be slow cooked in your oven.

The red chile marinade that goes over the meat is a simplified classic marinade and an easy modern option. The sauce is poured over the lamb and gives the meat a rustic quality. Once cooked the meat is roughly shredded for tacos.

This dish does not have to be reserved for a special occasion – Make these for a quick weeknight Mexican dish your family will surely love.

Easy Lamb Barbacoa Tacos

Easy Lamb Barbacoa Tacos

5 (2 ratings)
Lamb is such a great taco filling This lamb barbacoa is a dish that is cooked in a pit in the ground, but to make this dish accessible for the everyday cook I developed a recipe that can be slow-cooked in your oven.


  • 1 Spanish onion, quartered
  • 3 tomatillos, husked, washed, and halved
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 28-ounce can Las Palmas® Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 4 pounds lamb leg
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar

Toppings for Tacos:

  • 16 to 24 corn tortillas
  • Julienne radishes
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Chopped white onion
  • Lime wedges


  • Preheat the broiler.
  • Put the onions, tomatillos, tomatoes, and garlic on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet under the broiler and cook without turning until vegetables start to get charred, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove, set aside, and let cool to room temperature.
  • Combine the vegetables and sauce in a blender (you’ll have to work in two batches) and puree until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Put the meat (fat side up) in a roasting pan or oven safe dish.
  • Rub agave nectar on the meat and generously season the meat with salt. Pour 2 cups of sauce over the meat and rub it on all sides. Reserve remaining sauce as a salsa topping.
  • Seal the pan with two layers of foil creating a tight seal, and cook in the oven for 3 hours until meat is very tender.
  • Take the pan from the oven and let the meat rest for about 30 minutes.
  • When it’s cool enough to handle, coarsely shred the meat with your fingers or forks, discarding any fat.
  • Set out all the toppings in separate bowls and serve with the shredded meat. Warm up leftover sauce for a salsa topping and let everyone prepare their own tacos.


Feel free to use goat instead of lamb. 
Calories: 369kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 91mg, Sodium: 975mg, Potassium: 641mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 933IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 59mg, Iron: 4mg

A special thanks to Las Palmas Sauces for sponsoring this blog post. Opinions are my own.

Photos by Jeanine Thurston