Since I'm going to be doing some of my first batches of smoking on my own smoker soon (as opposed to leeching of friends with smokers), once I've done a couple chicken and such to ensure I have a feel for the MES, my plan is to go back in time to the origin of the word barbeque, Mexican Barbacoa. Seems proper that as I start smoking seriously, to start at the beginning. Now, I don't have maguey leaves (think the agave plant used to make mezcal) to wrap around the meat but I can get banana locally which will be close. I also will be using a smoker primarily rather than burying it with the wood and so forth as is traditional. That has gotten me hunting for recipes though. Here is one I found. I'm curious people's thoughts. Obviously I won't be doing it in an oven, but I'm curious the reason for the tinfoil around the meat. Wouldn't that limit the smoke intake? Also temperature wise, does the 275 seem high? And now without more ado, a barbacoa recipe apparently originally written up in the New York Daily News in 2004 (for proper attribution): In Oaxaca, the meat typically cooks underground, or in cone-shaped pits. Sophistication aside, there is something caveman-like about the broad cuts, big bones, and huge portions - all the better to devour on a tortilla, with a cold Mexican beer. For those without fire pits, wood-burning ovens or backyards, DiCataldo has adapted the following recipe, which he calls "Weekend Barbacoa." To replicate a real fire, the recipe calls for an applewood smoke-stick, a small (roughly 12 by 2 by 2 inches), odorless, foam-like stick that DiCataldo obtains from Korin Japanese Trading Company (57 Warren Street; 212-587-7021; www.korin.com). A word of caution: The applewood smokestick will cause smoke to emanate from the oven, so keep your hood turned on. The barbecue is served with tortillas and accompaniments (salsa, lime, guacamole) so you can roll it up, but you could eat it with a fork, too. The stock becomes an intensely flavored "soup," also served on the side. Any way you do it, it's good. Equipment needed Blender Roasting rack large enough to hold meat Deep (4-inch or more) roasting pan compatible with above roasting rack Oven with ventilation hood Aluminum foil 2-inch segment of applewood smokestick 2 32-inch lengths of thick butcher's twine Lamb Barbacoa Serves 12 For the chili adobo: (Makes enough for 5-pound barbecue) 8 to 10 dried guajillo chilis, stems removed but seeds intact 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 1 teaspoon whole cloves 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries 2 tablespoons oregano (the citrus-y, Mexican kind preferred) 2 cups hot water 4 cloves garlic, peeled 8 to 10 sprigs of thyme 1 medium white onion, diced into 2-inch pieces 1/2 cup white vinegar 3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt For the lamb: 4-5 lb. lamb shoulder, leg or butt Wet spice rub (recipe above) Coarse kosher salt Thawed banana leaf, available frozen at Asian or Latino markets 10-15 dried bay leaves (or avocado leaves if you can find them) For the stock (caldo de barbacoa): 3 sprigs celery, leaves and ends trimmed, diced into 2-inch pieces 2 large carrots, diced into 1-inch pieces (about 1 =BD cups) 1 medium white onion, diced into 2-inch pieces 5 sprigs thyme 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled 4 plum tomatoes, quartered 2 quarts chicken stock 1 quarts water 1/2 cup chili adobo FOR THE CHILI ADOBO: The dish can also be made with other meats: beef short ribs, chicken, turkey, duck, whole fish, and for the really ambitious, suckling pig. Cooking times are adjusted accordingly: For example, a 3- to 4-lb. chicken would take 2 1/2 hours to roast at 275 degrees. Place an ungreased skillet over high heat. Add chilis and toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Shake skillet vigorously, and add peppercorns, cloves, cumin and allspice. After another 2 minutes, add oregano and heat through. Put contents of skillet into blender. Add remaining ingredients, stripping thyme leaves from stems directly into blender. Cover and blend, increasing speed until contents are smooth and foamy. Adobo can be used immediately or refrigerated for a firmer texture, making it easier to use. FOR THE LAMB: Rub lamb generously with adobo, saving excess for future use. Sprinkle with salt. Set meat fat-side up over one or more banana leaves, trimmed to wrap around meat. Do not close. Arrange bay leaves on fatty side of meat. Fold banana leaves to close packet, and secure with twine. Leave short ends open. FOR THE STOCK (CALDO DE BARBACOA): Place all ingredients in the roasting pan. There should be 1 inch remaining at the lip of the pan for drippings. Method of assembly: Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place lamb packet onto roasting rack, and fit rack over filled pan. Wrap foil, shiny side in, around top and sides of packet, leaving bottom (side resting on rack) uncovered. With 4-inch length of foil, make a loosely crumpled ball, or nest. Light the 2-inch segment of smokestick (use either a match or your gas burner). The stick will immediately begin to emit fragrant smoke. Place smoking stick into foil nest (4). Place nest next to meat packet, and put the roasting pan and rack into oven. Turn on ventilation. Roast for 8 hours (to adjust according to your schedule, raise or lower heat). Remove from oven, and press on meat with spatula. If meat yields, it is done. Strain stock and skim off grease with a separator or, if time allows, by refrigerating. Unwrap meat, remove bay or avocado leaves and discard them. Coarsely shred meat with a fork. Ladle stock into pot, and serve it and meat with accompaniments: corn tortillas, minced onions, guacamole, lime wedges, cilantro, salsa and cold beer.