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Taco Tuesday: The joys of barbacoa

March 13, 2012 |  5:10 pm

Barbacoa at My Taco

There are few pleasures more reliable in Los Angeles than the lamb barbacoa at My Taco in Highland Park. This is not, unless I'm mistaken, the legendary barbacoa of rural Hidalgo, pit-roasted for hours in a wrapping of maguey leaves, but more of a city version: a delicate, spicy tangle of long-cooked meat crisped on hot metal, blackened at the edges, caramelized to a sweet, subtle gaminess. One especially hungry friend doesn't eat My Taco's barbacoa as much as he seems to will it into his belly; imagine streams of lamb passing an event horizon like interstellar gas into a black hole.

This barbacoa is customarily ordered by the plate or by the really big plate – you tear off pieces with a tortilla and moisten them with the hot goat consomme that comes in a foam cup on the side. Or you could get a barbacoa torta, a big sandwich plumped out with guacamole and beans. But sometimes, a half pound of lamb isn't in your plans. At such times, there is the taco de barbacoa: an ounce or two of meat, a couple of fresh tortillas, period. If you want to add chopped onion and cilantro, maybe a few drops of mild yahualica salsa, it's up to you.

6300 York Blvd., Highland Park, (323) 256-2698.

--Jonathan Gold

Photo: A plate of barbacoa at My Taco. Credit: Paul Bailey / Flickr