>> Barbacoa Estilo Chihuahua | Eat the World Los Angeles

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Barbacoa Estilo Chihuahua

MÉXICO 🇲🇽
(CHIHUAHUA)

COVID-19 UPDATE: Most business is pickup, but there is an open-air back patio for diners that want to eat on site.

EDITOR'S NOTE: As of this writing, this business is open Sundays only, 08:00-14:00.

What goes unsaid by the banner that flies on Sunday mornings in front of this modest Arleta home is that the barbacoa served here is barbacoa de res, made from beef as would be the case in the northern state of birth of the chef. But anyone from Chihuahua or its northern neighbors who happens to see the sign or knows Chef Ian Leyva from his days hawking this barbacoa on the streets will know the cow reigns supreme.

These days his operation is a family affair, where his mother will help and his wife might do translation if necessary, even by Facetime when she is away. The quiet street might not generate a ton of business from curious passersby, but word is getting around and you can see the beginnings of backyard construction; Hopefully the start of a permanent destination for Valley diners.

If you do decide to stay in the backyard for the meal, as always it is a step up from takeout containers and plastic bags full of garnishes. Sr. Leyva and his mother will adorn the table with plenty of limes, onions and cilantro, and two homemade salsas. Not seen above is another bowl of shredded cabbage, all of which will be effective in cutting the intensely rich and buttery nature of this lavishly fatty barbacoa.

If you start with the orange-red salsa de chile de árbol, you may think life could not get much better, but the creamy salsa verde is even more delicious with a jalapeño kick at the end. It does a better job of balancing the richness, but in the end a mixture of each might be the best way to go to enjoy it all.

Make sure to grab at least one bowl of consomé ($8, above top) for the group, which has plenty of meat within to satisfy and slurp. This is made from the drippings of an overnight cooking process, and therefore is the receptacle for all the flavor that drips from the beef. As you can imagine, this is thick with richness and benefits from a few of those limes being squeezed in and plenty of the fresh cabbage.

Besides the consomé, you can get your barbacoa in many forms and even ordered by the pound in their prepared family kits which include plenty of condiments, garnishes, and tortillas to throw it all in. For diners that plan to eat immediately in the backyard, there are tacos, lonches (you will not find the word torta in Chihuahua), and burritos made with nicely chewy flour tortillas.

On weekends when families get together for barbacoa it often consists of selecting favorite cuts of meat and throwing this on tortillas; simple and satisfying. If you want to try other offerings, you can get barbacoa tacos ($2 each, above) sold individually as well. Tacos are the easiest way to mix and match condiments and decide which flavors work the best for your taste buds.

A lonche ($8, below) is just beef and bread when it arrives, the barbacoa juices begins leeching into the roll before it leaves the kitchen. Like the sandwich itself, the name of this bread may be different from terms you have heard before as in Chihuahua this is telera. It appears similar to a bolillo, but has an exterior that is softer.

The burrito ($8, below) may be the most delicious of the options for eating this beef barbacoa, all stuffed inside of a toasted flour tortilla. Interestingly, this is a lot less food than the other options in this price range, so filling up only on burritos would start to add up fast.

But do order at least one for yourself, open up the tortilla and add dashes of everything and a squeeze of lime. There is little more in the world more satisfying than a northern-style burrito.


Arleta and Chihuahua may not be on the radars of "the food scene" of Los Angeles, but this backyard is ready to change it for both places, at least on Sunday mornings.

📍 8905 Gullo Avenue, Arleta, San Fernando Valley

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