The Story Behind A South Philly Barbacoa Food Cart Set To Launch This Sunday

“She’s the person behind it. She’s dedicated to it. I’m just here to help her find the best ingredients and to help her execute it the way she wants,” he says.

They’ll be introducing all newcomers to a tradition going way back, via recipes that Martinez says are about 150 years old.

“My desire is to bring the soul of my village and the traditions of my family to the community in Philadelphia,” she says, with Miller translating after me and Martinez come to a halt with our respective broken Spanish and English.

That’s after me and Miller cruise a few blocks north to Tortillaria San Roman, where he makes a massive purchase, each steaming bundle of corn tortillas wrapped in linen and stowed safely in a Styrofoam cooler mere seconds after being churned out from the conveyor belt of a machine that receives a mound of dough via a yawning chimney funnel.

Tortilleria San Roman.

Tortilleria San Roman.

“We’ll make our own—that’s one of the many things we’ll do once we get a place,” he says.

His vision is to replicate the experience he had helping Martinez’s family make barbacoa in their hometown of Capulhuac where he estimates that 95% of the community has a hand in the barbacoa trade.

Yes, the barbacoa trade.

Miller tells me how on Wednesdays, trailers of semis laden with lamb will rumble into the middle of town, their trailer doors to be thrown open to instant sales. On Thursdays, open-air markets spring up, with heaping piles of onions abutted by bushels of cilantro and mounds of garbanzo beans of various grades. The butchering and cooking takes place all day Friday, ahead of a mass exodus early in the morning in the wee hours Saturday as residents make the hour drive to Mexico City to sell their take on a cherished tradition.

“Everyone is involved in the process, from family to people who work for the family,” Miller says, alluding to the Martinez family restaurant that specializes in the slow cooked meat.

One response to “The Story Behind A South Philly Barbacoa Food Cart Set To Launch This Sunday

  1. Pingback: Crispy Brain Tacos From South Philly Barbacoa | Food Junkets·

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