Barbacoa is the ancient tradition of slow-cooking meat over an open fire for hours until it falls off the bone or, according to the most conventional method, in a pit dug in the ground covered with agave leaves.
Lamb barbecue in adobo is a central Mexican dish and perhaps the most famous example of this ancient technique, as well as the most easily adaptable at home, as it can be made either in the oven or a slow cooker. Choosing a fattier cut of lamb is the key to success since the longer the meat cooks, the better, and you don't want dry meat. Both shoulder and leg work well.
Preparing the adobo (or marinade), with its pungent blend of Mexican chilies and spices, is by far the best part of this recipe. Any leftover marinade will keep for several days in the fridge and can be used for other Mexican recipes such as enchiladas, chilaquiles, tacos and tamales.
The banana leaves encapsulate the earthiness and grassy aromatics of the agave leaves used in a traditional barbacoa. Frozen banana leaves can be found in most Latin American or Thai shops, or you can find them online.