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The Meat of It

Let the vast universe of succulent cuts, chewy entrails, and cooking techniques be a mystery to you no more.

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Meat Glossary animals

Adobado: Marinated.


Al pastor: Literally “shepherd style.” Usually sliced pork seasoned with an adobo (marinade) of chiles, achiote, and citrus juice and cooked on a vertical spit known as a trompo. Adapted from a cooking method brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants in the early twentieth century.


Arrachera: Marinated skirt steak, usually grilled.


Barbacoa: From the same root as “barbecue.” Refers to both traditional earthen-pit cooking and the meat so cooked. In Texas today, barbacoa is usually steamed or braised portions from the cow’s head.


Birria: Highly seasoned stewed lamb, goat, or other meat. Typical of Jalisco.


Bistec: From the English word “beefsteak.” A thin cut that’s either grilled or cooked into stews.


FEATURES--TACOS--1215Borrego: Lamb. Often steamed.


Buche: Pig stomach.


Cabeza: Cow’s head. A “taco de cabeza” can include any part, such as cachete, or be served as a mix (“surtida”) of head meats, including sesos, ojo, and lengua.


Cabrito: Kid goat, specifically milk-fed, less than 25 days old.


Cachete: Beef cheek.


Carne asada: Grilled meat, usually beef, sliced thin.


Carnitas: Literally “little meats.” Usually pork butt simmered and fried in its own fat.


Chicharrón: Fried pork skin. Often stewed in tomatillo or other sauce.


Chivo: Goat.


Deshebrada: Means “shredded.” Usually beef or chicken.


Guisado: Homey, slow-cooked stew.


Lengua: Beef tongue, usually braised and chopped.


Machaca: Shredded dry beef, also known as carne seca. Becomes machacado when mixed with egg, etc.


Mollejas: Sweetbreads.


Ojo: Eye.


Picadillo: Ground meat, usually beef, often cooked with onions, potatoes, carrots, and chiles.


Pollo: Chicken.


Puerco: Pork.


Meat Glossary animals

Res: Beef.


Sesos: Brains, usually calf.


Suadero: A smooth beef cut cooked in fat and finished on a griddle. May be mixed with tripe or other offal.


Tinga: Shredded meat, usually chicken, prepared in a chipotle or other sauce.


Tripas: Small intestine, usually of a cow, fried or stewed. Also known as tripitas.

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