Beef Barbacoa | Slow Cooked And Delicious

I have adapted this recipe for Beef Barbacoa from Inger who blogs over at The Art Of Natural Living. It is so good that I have made it more than once. Served on a bed of curried carrot mash, this made for a great meal.

Beef Barbacoa On A Bed Of Curried Carrot Mash
Beef Barbacoa On A Bed Of Curried Carrot Mash
Head straight on to the Recipe For ♥ Beef Barbacoa ♥

The unemployment rate in South Africa is 32.5%. This translates to 7.2 million people without jobs. And the knock on effect is probably more than four times that in terms of food insecurity. During our lockdown period we have done the utmost to keep our domestic staff employed. Without any Government assistance I paid my maid in full for the two months she did not work last year. I am quite sure that the same could not be said for everyone. And a lot of people who retained domestic help have cut their days. My friend put on Facebook that her maid was looking for work. As we need someone at the office we employed her. The job is undemanding, to say the least. It entails washing the dishes we have used, and cleaning our office. As well as seeing to the bathrooms and the workshops.

Today’s inspirational recipe from Lavender and Lime ♥ Beef Barbacoa ♥ #LavenderAndLime Share on X

She was employed on a no work no pay basis, which is the norm for casual labour in South Africa. And she was paid 43% above the minimum wage. As Easter Friday meant she could not work, I offered her the opportunity to work on the Wednesday and still earn some money. But at the end of April she told me that she had been short paid as there was no payment for Good Friday. She would not, or could not, understand that she had been paid in March for the day worked, and thought she deserved to be paid for the public holiday as it was not her fault she could not work. My reply was if she was not happy she could go home. And she did! Giving up a days’ work each week for one day’s pay she was not due.

Beef Barbacoa

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5 from 1 vote

Beef Barbacoa

Recipe Category: Meat


  • 30 mls olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 10 mls ground cumin
  • 1.25 mls smoked paprika
  • 0.625 mls cayenne pepper
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 600 g stewing beef, cubed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 45 mls tomato paste
  • 60 mls lime juice
  • 30 mls apple cider vinegar
  • 180 mls beef stock
  • 15 mls dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Heat 15mls oil in an oven proof and stove top proof lidded casserole pot over a medium temperature on your stove
  • Add the onions and sauté until soft
  • Then add the garlic, cumin, paprika, cayenne and cloves and stir to combine
  • Cook until you can smell the spices then remove and set aside
  • Increase the temperature slightly then add the rest of the oil
  • When hot, brown the beef in batches, seasoning as you turn it
  • Once browned, set aside, until all done
  • Deglaze the pot with the tomato paste, add the lime juice and vinegar and stir to combine
  • Add the onions, beef and pan juices back into the pot together with the stock, oregano and bay leaves
  • Stir and leave to simmer while you preheat the oven to 150° Celsius
  • When the oven is hot, place the lid on the pot and put the pot into the oven for 4 hours
  • Remove the pot from the oven, shred the beef and serve
Inspiration published on Lavender and Lime May 31:

Do you pay casual staff for public holidays or days not worked?

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15 thoughts on “Beef Barbacoa | Slow Cooked And Delicious

  1. I was not aware that unemployment was so high in South Africa. That was kind of you to keep paying your maid despite her not working, and to take on your friend’s maid as well. It’s too bad that she didn’t see the big picture when it came to her pay…

  2. Your employee has a strange way of looking at things! Instead of being grateful for your kindness and the opportunity to earn some money she has ended up with no job. The UK unemployment rate is forecast to be 5.6% by the end of this year, higher than it’s been for some years.

  3. Hi Tandy! I am all “in” on this beef barbacoa. I have zero doubt it is as tasty as you say! FUnny as it may sound, I actually spent some time this week reading up on the history of barbacoa so timely for this recipe! Yay!!!

  4. We paid off our domestic worker in June last year. I had paid her in full for the three and a half months she hadn’t worked and paid her out her full salary until the end of December. She was 67 years old at the time and had high blood pressure. She had not been coping with the job for quite some time and was going to retire anyway. She also left feeling very badly treated. I am not sure why as she was on a very good salary and it was quite difficult for me to make such a big payout at the time as my husband was on reduced pay by 20% of 6 months of last year. It has left me feeling quite upset and I now have a person who comes through an agency so that I don’t have to be involved with paying her directly.

    1. Wow, she was not badly treated at all! How awful for you. When my maid retires I will probably go back to using an agency as well.

  5. So glad you enjoyed this. I’ll have to try it on the veggie mash–that would so healthy! So difficult to deal with the maid situation–some people just want to feel offended I think. The high unemployment would be terrible. We are dealing with the opposite problem here and quite sure I’d rather have too many open jobs.

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