Cordero a la barbacoa en adobo – Mexican slow-cooked lamb

2 hours


Lamb shoulder

  • 500g of lamb shoulder
  • banana leaf, or foil

Mexican adobo

  • 1 serrano chilli pepper, de-seeded
  • 3 ancho chillies, de-seeded
  • 3 guajillo chilli peppers, or California chillies, de-seeded
  • 1 tbsp of canola oil
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 230ml of water
  • 1 tbsp of white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of chicken stock granules
  • 2 tbsp of cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp allspice powder, or cinnamon
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt
  • black pepper


Start by making the adobo or marinade. In a shallow frying pan, dry-fry the de-seeded chillies for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not burn them. Set aside
Add some oil to a separate pan and cook the tomato, onion and garlic for 15 minutes until the mixture turns a light golden brown colour
Reduce the heat, add the fried chillies and water and cook for a further 5 to 7 minutes. Leave the mix to cool
Blend the tomato and chilli mixture, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend again at a fast speed. If the sauce is too thick, add some more water
Season and allow to cool completely. At this point, the adobo paste can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or 4 months in the freezer
Smear the adobo paste all over the lamb shoulder and leave to marinate overnight, covered with cling film
After that time, lay the meat out on the kitchen counter and let it reach room temperature, which should take about 1 hour
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Place a metal rack over a deep oven tray filled with water or stock and put it in the oven
Wrap the meat in banana leaves (or foil) and place on the rack in the oven. Lower the heat to 160°C/gas mark 3
Cook the lamb for about 3 and a half to 4 hours, until cooked and tender