>> Barbacoa Estilo Taxco, Guerrero | Eat the World Los Angeles

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Barbacoa Estilo Taxco, Guerrero

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mร‰XICO (Guerrero)
EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (15 March 2024) is available as part of the Free Friday Favorites section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
While you are standing in line waiting for your chance to order this goat and lamb barbacoa, listen to the conversations of others around you, or if you do not speak Spanish start one yourself. It becomes clear that the vast majority of customers here live in nearby neighborhoods of South and Southeast Los Angeles but originally come from Guerrero.

The food and adobo-rubbed Guerrero-style barbacoa they remember is best represented here under the large yellow tent. The stand has lived for over a decade, the tent was once white and much smaller, but now the current one becomes a sight that makes your heart speed up in anticipation of the upcoming meal. Barbacoa can be thrown on any menu, usually resulting in a plate of dry meat laid in front of you, but it takes someone talented and willing to put in the hard work of properly cleaning an animal and cooking it overnight to make the best.

The family that has run this stand recently attempted to open a bricks and mortar business nearby so that they could expand their offerings, but the combination of it being 2020 and the lucks involved in running that type of business combined to stop that quite quickly. Fortunately they are back in their beloved spot, under the tent, and the barbacoa is just as good as ever. In early 2019 there were some grumblings about packaged tortillas, but all those are back to being made by hand as well.

At the front of the line, when it is your turn to order, you can ask for smaller orders of tacos ($2 each, above) and mulitas ($5, below), but most people are ordering goat or lamb by the pound and asking for enough tortillas and consomรฉ for their families to eat at home. It might be an industrial section of South Los Angeles right by railroad tracks, but it comes as close as possible to replicating the family trips of Guerrerenses to the mountain towns that sell the best barbacoa. Families will load into their cars and set out on weekends, showing up early to make sure they get their favorite cuts.
Has there ever been a better mulita?

Here you will see all the favorite cuts stacked together in specialized circular metal cooking pots, pulled out as requested and chopped and weighed. Other stations are constantly churning out tortillas and filling containers with consomรฉ. Eventually your name is called after that mouth-watering wait as others before you get their orders. In years past you could enjoy the food immediately and the atmosphere of the communal picnic tables or folding tables and chairs, but of course we can only look forward to when this returns at the moment.
Make sure to follow the lead of the families in front and behind you and take home some consomรฉ ($3.50 large, below), which has been carefully constructed from the cooking of the barbacoa. The rice and chickpeas that fortify the animal drippings have been in there the entire time and not just thrown in after, a fact that is easy to taste.

After finishing you can start to appreciate the origin stories of this food and the family that serves it. On the business card, a beautiful scene of Taxco shows the main cathedral and the mountains that surround the Northern Guerrero town.
It is quite a bit closer to Mexico City than it is to the coastal Guerrero city of Acapulco, and shares a culture similar to the mountainous towns of nearby Estado de Mรฉxico, Morelos, and Puebla, places that have all seen quite a dramatic loss of families that have moved their lives north. It is an honor and a privilege to share meals with those that have come to Los Angeles, and the amazing yellow-tented food stand that fulfills their cravings from back home.


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