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Updated: Jun 6

Here we have Mexico and Spain meeting together on a plate. Barbacoa is the famous Mexican "pit" cooked dish that most of us have heard of. I don't expect many of you to be digging holes in your backyard, so we'll save the pits for later. Here I'm simply braising the meat in a flavorful chile rich broth until it falls off the bone.

Venison Barbacoa Recipe

Patatas Bravas is a classic tapas dish from Spain made up of crispy potatoes that's usually served with a spicy sauce and mayo. So I guess you've figured that this combination isn't classic at all, but I love corned beef hash and Latin food.....So my brain gave birth to this recipe. This dish is soulful enough that it can be served for dinner on a cold night and with its "hash" kind of vibe, it can be served for Sunday brunch as well (just don't forget the poached egg).


For the Barbacoa
  • 3-5 pounds - boneless venison shoulder, neck or shanks

  • 3 - guajillo chiles, seeded and torn into small pieces

  • 2 - ancho chiles, seeded and torn into small pieces

  • 1 tablespoon - chipotle chili in adobo

  • 1 teaspoon - cumin

  • 1/8 teaspoon - ground cloves

  • 1/8 teaspoon - ground allspice

  • 1/8 teaspoon - dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon - dried oregano (Mexican if you can find)

  • 1/4 teaspoon - cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon - salt

  • 1 tablespoon - dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon - cider vinegar

  • 3 - garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

  • 1/2 cup - negro modelo Mexican beer (Replace with chicken or venison stock if you don't have beer)

  • 3 tablespoons - corn oil, bacon fat or vegetable oil (for searing the meat)

For the Patatas Bravas

  • 4 - russet potatoes , cut into 1 inch cubes and soaked in cold water 1+ hours

  • pure olive oil or canola oil, enough to fill your frying pan 2 inches

  • salt and pepper to taste

For Avocado Aioli

  • 3/4 cup - mayonnaise

  • 1/2 - an avocado

  • 1/4 cup - fresh cilantro

  • 2 - garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1/2 - of a lime, juiced

  • a few dashes of Mexican hot sauce

  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional Toppings for serving

  • fresh cilantro

  • queso fresco

  • chopped onions

  • hot sauce


For the Barbacoa

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees.

  2. Place all of the ingredients for the barbacoa in a blender except venison, cooking oil and beer. Blend on high until smooth and strain through a mesh strainer and set aside. Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed oven-proof pot over medium-high heat and add the cooking oil. Season the meat with salt and pepper, then sear on both sides until golden brown. Remove the pot from the heat.

  3. Pour the strained chili mixture over the meat and add the beer if using. The liquid should come 1/2 to 3/4 ways up the meat. If not, try and use a smaller cooking vessel or use a slow cooker. You can add more stock if need be, but remember you will need to reduce the sauce a little at the end of cooking since you will be diluting it.

  4. Cover the cooking vessel tightly with aluminum foil or a heavy oven-proof lid. Cook in the oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat is shredding apart with a fork. Remove the meat from the liquid and shred. Reserve the sauce and set aside.

For the Patatas Bravas

  1. While the venison is cooking place the cubed potatoes in cold water and store in the fridge until ready to cook, at least 1 hour. Drain, rinse and dry the potatoes thoroughly, making sure they are very dry.

  2. In a heavy bottom pan or pot add two inches of high smoke point oil until it begins to shimmer over medium-low heat. Cook on all sides until golden brown and tender. Remove the potatoes and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the Avocado Aioli

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until very smooth. Scraping down the processor as needed to ensure smoothness.

To Serve

  1. On a large plate or bowl, place a handful of potatoes on the bottom.

  2. Take your shredded venison and moisten with a little of the cooking liquid in a separate bowl and scatter all around the potatoes.

  3. Top with a little of the aioli.

  4. I like to top mine off with hot sauce, sliced onions, fresh cilantro, queso fresco and a little extra broth.


Looking for other venison recipes? These are a few of my favorites:

Lastly, if you make this venison barbacoa, be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! Also, tag me on Instagram with some of your creations. I thoroughly enjoy hearing feedback and checking out the photos of recipes that you've made.


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Meet Larry White

Chef Larry White

Hey folks, I'm Larry. The recipes you'll find here are inspired by my years as a chef, travels as a hunter, and being a father. I cook from these experiences, so my food ranges anywhere from fun and creative to traditional and to what somewhat family style comfort food.     

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