Barbacoa Banh Mi

Smoky, chili rubbed lamb shoulder sits on a cooling cilantro mayo, topped with pickled carrots and radishes, topped with a ton of herbs... Barbacoa Banh Mi a bit of a Vietnamese Banh Mi/Mexican Torta hybrid.  

yields 4 Barbacoa Banh Mis

Pickled Carrot & Radishes

Pickles can be made up to 2 weeks in advance.

Lamb Shoulder Barbacoa

  • 2lb. bone-in lamb shoulder
  • 10 dried New Mexico red chiles
  • 4 chipoltle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 2 t honey
  • 1/2 t fish sauce
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1/2 t thyme
  • 1/4 t ground clove
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 5 garlic cloves chopped
  • applewood chips

Soak dried New Mexico chiles in 1 C of hot water for about ten minutes, until peppers have reconstituted.  Reserve chile water, de-stem and de-seed the chiles.  Add all ingredients to blender except reserved chile water, lamb, and applewood chips.  Blend, slowly stream in chile water until paste forms (add more water if needed).  Rub paste on lamb shoulder; cover or wrap with plastic wrap, and marinate at least 2 hours- up to overnight.  When ready to smoke: place a small handful of applewood chips in a foil pan.  Set your grill to a low heat- bringing the temperature up to 250 degrees.  Place foil pan of wood directly on heat source; place lamb shoulder (bones faced down, fat cap up) in a roast pan or foil pan on the opposite side of grill- in indirect heat.  Close lid, and smoke lamb for approximately 3-5 hours- lamb is finished when bones become exposed, and meat is easily pulled.  Strain drippings, and set aside.  Pull lamb meat, discard bones and any large pieces of fat.  Pour drippings on pulled lamb, and set aside.

Cilantro Mayo

  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 1/3 C cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 C mayo

Combine oil and cilantro in a high speed blender, purée until smooth.  Combine 4 t of herb oil with 1/4 C of mayo; reserve herb oil in fridge for another use.  Season to taste.

Barbacoa Banh Mi Assembly:

  • pickled carrot & radishes
  • lamb shoulder barbacoa
  • cilantro mayo
  • 4 french hoagies or Vietnamese baguettes
  • 1 large bunch of mint, leaves pulled
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves pulled
  • 2 jalapeños thinly sliced
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 limes halved

Add butter (1/2 T per baguette) to a pan, and melt at medium heat.  Slice all baguettes in half, and toast each half cut-side down in butter.  For each barbacoa banh mi: spread about 1 T of cilantro mayo on the bottom bun, top with a 1/4 of the barbacoa.  Place pickled carrots & radishes on top, followed by lots of mint leaves, cilantro leaves, and jalapeño slices.  Top with the baguette and serve with lime wedges.


cocktail: Cilantro Margarita

beer: Mexican lager.  Clean, crisp, and chuggable.  A touch of sweetness from the breadiness of the malt, while the carbonation cleanses the palate.  Some beers to look for: 21st Amendment El Sully, Melvin HeyZeus, Flying Dog Numero Uno, Modelo, or Pacifico.