Cinco de Mayo Recipe Alex Chen’s Lamb Barbacoa Chef Alex Chen and All-Clad Canada

Lamb Barbacoa Cinco de Mayo Recipe

  • Author: Alex Chen


This delicious recipe blends familiar flavours like cumin, peppercorn and cinnamon with exotic spices like star anise and ancho chillies. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo by serving this traditional Mexican dish!



  • 20 fresh corn tortilla shells
  • 4 lime wedges
  • 20 pieces shaved radish
  • Chopped cilantro leaves
  • Cooked and shredded lamb
  • Pico de gallo


Adobo Seasoning Paste:

  • 1 dry chipotle
  • 2 pieces guajillo peppers
  • 2 pieces ancho chilli peppers
  • 1/3 of a white onion
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 2 cloves
  • 1-star anise
  • 1/3 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 1 inch piece of a cinnamon stick


Lamb shoulder

  • 3 lbs boneless lamb shoulder
  • Banana leaves
  • Butchers Twine
  • 70 ml of Adobo
  • A generous amount of kosher salt


Pico de gallo

  • 2 whole Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 of a medium red onion, diced
  •  Cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 of a lime’s juice
  • Lime zest
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Cracked black pepper



Adobo Seasoning Paste

  1. Toast dry chillies over a grill on low heat for 1 minute.
  2. Soak the chillies in hot water for 20 minutes to soften.
  3. Remove the chillies from the water and remove all the seeds.
  4. Grill the onion and garlic on medium heat until slightly blistered.
  5. In a dry saucepan, gently toast the cumin, cloves, star anise, peppercorn and cinnamon stick over a gentle heat for 3 minutes, gently moving the pan around the stove to agitate the spices.
  6. Blend all ingredients together until smooth in a high-speed blender and set aside.


Lamb Shoulder

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.
  2. Wipe the wax off the banana leaves with a damp cloth.
  3. Overlap the banana leaves, at least 2 layers.
  4. Season the lamb with a generous amount of salt.
  5. Spread the adobo paste on the lamb until fully covered.
  6. Wrap the banana leaves around the lamb to form a tight parcel and tie with butcher’s twine.
  7. Add 2 cups of water to the bottom of your HA1 Hard Anodized Nonstick Roaster and put in the roasting rack.
  8. Place lamb parcel on the rack, cover with a lid.
  9. Cook for 4 hours, checking after 3 hours – the meat should be fork tender.
  10. Add more water if needed and cook further until desired tenderness.
  11. Let rest for 30 minutes.
  12. Combine the lamb with the liquid from the bottom of the roaster in a bowl and shred the lamb into small pieces with a fork.
  13. Adjust seasoning, adding in more adobo if desired.

Pico de gallo

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.



  1. Grill tortilla shells spraying with water from a spray bottle to steam the tortilla.
  2. Place 1 large tablespoon of lamb on the tortilla and garnish with pico de gallo, shaved radishes and cilantro. Put lime wedge on the side.




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