Chipotle Mexican Grill Barbacoa Burrito copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Chipotle Mexican Grill Barbacoa Burrito

Score: 4.76. Votes: 17
In stock (1 item available)
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Menu Description: "Spicy, shredded beef, braised with our own chipotle adobo, cumin, cloves, garlic and oregano."
The original Mexican dish barbacoa was traditionally prepared by cooking almost any kind of meat goat, fish, chicken, or cow cheek meat, to name just a few, in a pit covered with leaves over low heat for many hours, until tender. When the dish made its way into the United States via Texas the word transformed into "barbecue" and the preparation changed to incorporate above-ground techniques such as smoking and grilling. The good news is that we can recreate the beef barbacoa that Chipotle has made popular on its ginormous burritos without digging any holes in our backyard or tracking down a local source for fresh cow faces. After braising about 30 pounds of chuck roasts, I finally discovered the perfect Chipotle Mexican Grill barbacoa burrito copycat recipe with a taste-alike adobo sauce that fills your roast with flavor as it slowly cooks to a fork-tender delicacy on your stovetop over 5 to 6 hours. Part of the secret for great adobo sauce is toasting whole cumin seeds and cloves and then grinding them in a coffee grinder (measure the spices after grinding them). Since the braising process takes so long, start early in the day and get ready for a big dinner, because I've also included clones here for Chipotle's pico de gallo, pinto beans, and delicious cilantro-lime rice to make your burritos complete. You can add your choice of cheese, plus guacamole and sour cream for a super-deluxe clone version. If you prefer chicken burritos, head on over to my clone recipe for Qdoba Grilled Adobo Chicken

Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 to 4 canned chipotle chiles
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 teaspoons freshly toasted and ground cumin seeds (see Tidbits)
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly toasted and ground cloves (see Tidbits)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 to 5 pound chuck roast
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves
Pico de Gallo
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinto Beans
  • Three 15-ounce cans pinto beans (with liquid)
  • 3 tablespoons bacon fat (from cooking 3 to 4 pieces of bacon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
Cilantro-Lime Rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups converted rice
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
For the Burritos
  • Eight 12-inch flour tortillas
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Guacamole (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Do This
    • Restaurant/Brand
      Chipotle Mexican Grill
    • Instructions

      1. Make the adobo sauce by combining the vinegar, lime juice, chipotles, garlic, cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt, and cloves in a blender or food processor and puree on high speed until smooth. 

      2. Trim the fat from the meat, then slice the roast into 6 smaller pieces. Sear all sides of the chunks of meat in the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat until browned. Add the adobo sauce to the meat, pour in the chicken broth, and add the bay leaves. Cover the pot, turn your stove to medium/low heat, and let the meat simmer (braise) for 5 to 6 hours, or until the meat easily flakes apart. Turn the meat every 30 minutes as it cooks. After 4 hours, keep the lid off the pot. At the 5-hour mark, you should be able to tear the meat apart into bite-size chunks with tongs.

      3. As soon as your meat is in the pot, make the pico de gallo by combining all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill for several hours while the barbacoa is cooking.

      4. Just before the meat is done, prepare the pinto beans by combining the beans with the bacon fat and oregano in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until most of the liquid is gone and beans are soft. Keep the beans covered until the meat is ready.

      5. Make the cilantro-lime rice by combining the water, rice, butter, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer for 20 minutes. When the rice is done, stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Keep the rice covered until you're ready to assemble the burritos.

      6. Make each burrito by first heating a flour tortilla on a large skillet over medium heat, or wrapped in moist paper towels in the microwave. When the tortilla is warm, spoon a healthy portion of barbacoa meat into the tortilla, followed by the cilantro-lime rice, beans, pico de gallo, and your choice of cheese. You can also add sour cream and/or guacamole, if you like. Fold the bottom edge of the tortilla over the filling, then fold in the ends. Continue rolling the burrito up and away from you until it's rolled up tight, and consume.

      Makes 8 large burritos.

      Tidbits: Toast whole cumin seeds and cloves separately in a small saute pan over medium/low heat. Toss often and watch the spices closely so they don't burn. The spices are done toasting when they are fragrant and slightly browned. Use a clean coffee grinder to grind each of the spices to a powder, and then measure for the recipe.

Average rating:

Score: 4.76. Votes: 17
Rating of votes (17)
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Amber M
Feb 8, 2014, 22:00

This recipe does take more time than most to make, but well worth it. I think it taste very much like Chipotle's barbacoa. You won't be disappointed! Not to mention, it makes a lot of food, so you can be eating on this for days or freeze some for later.

Dec 9, 2008, 22:00

I FLIPPING LOVE IT!!!! I live in WY and there is NO Chipotle in the town I live in! Its just SSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOO YUMMY! I love it!

I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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