Continuing the odyssey for barbacoa with Bill Esparza

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Food writer Bill Esparza continues his journey through California for barbacoa — the pit-roasted meat found throughout Mexico. In the Central Valley, he encounters the traditions of Oaxaca’s Mixteco communities, where the principle dish is yique, a mixture of broken corn and chiles that is served with the barbacoa and eaten with flour tortillas. In Pixley, a small town between Fresno and Bakersfield, Esparza meets a pitmaster who is raising his own lamb, seeing the process through from beginning to end. Finally, a discovery of a rare barbacoa made with chicken known as ximbò, is found in the Bay Area. Find all of the stops Bill Esparza made in his story for Eater LA.

Chicken is used for barbacoa in a traditional dish (bottom right) from Hidalgo at Barbacoa Mejia in Richmond, California. Photo by Wonho Frank Lee.

Gonzalo Ramirez raises lamb for the barbacoa he serves on Sundays in front of the Arleta Department of Motor Vehicles. Photo by Wonho Frank Lee.



Evan Kleiman