Beef Head: Cabeza from Andale Mexican Food
|Cabeza de vaca, burrito style. Served up by Andale Mexican Food.|
The Ick Factor: As any high school Spanish student can tell you, cabeza means head. So right there on the menu it clearly states that you have your choice of any head taco or burrito combo.
To those uninitiated in the mystery that is cabeza, this can conjures up all sorts of ghoulish scenarios of just how that head ended up on the menu. Courtesy of too many late night monster vision marathons and B-movies, probably. Granted, the picture of a skinned cow head ready to be rendered into shredded beef is pretty gruesome, but that's the reality of being a meat eater.
Warning: There is a raw cow head after the jump. You've been warned!
(all the juicy details after the jump)
|Cabeza in the raw. It ain't pretty, folks.|
Tastes Just Like: Moist, tender, greasy shredded beef. If you like machaca burritos, the shredded variety of its carne asada brethren, then you will more than likely enjoy cabeza. (For all you know, you may have been eating cabeza all these years anyway. There's no telling once it's been shredded!)
If you can make peace with the fact that cabeza was indeed at one time a head (as opposed to a leg, arm, back or any other equally oogy part of the animal) then you're in for a treat. Cabeza de vaca is a staple of any Mexican taqueria worth its salt, and with good reason. Despite being any combination of cheeks, lips, eyes and other unmentionables-- no brains, don't worry-- cabeza tastes just like any other cut of beef and has the added benefit of being some of the most tender barbacoa you could ever hope to savor.
It's also the perfect choice of meat to introduce the wary into the glories of offal dining. It lacks the strange textural associations that plague organ meat and other offal selections, and the beefy flavor is comforting in its familiarity.
|Barbacoa cabeza, ready to be shredded.|
Always been a DIY-er? Cabeza is available frozen from some carnicerias, and can be slow roasted until tender. This can be accomplished via the traditional bury coals in the ground method, or for a more modern twist, an electric turkey cooker. After slow roasting to perfection, scrape off all the meat from the skull (including the eyes- don't get squeamish now) and chop up the tongue. Viola! Barbacoa de cabeza.