Barbacoa-style meat originated on the Caribbean island of Barbados, but the dish is now considered a Mexican specialty. Barbacoa refers to meat slow-roasted over an open fire.
The barbacoa style of preparing meat dates back centuries to Barbados. The Taino people of the West Indies used to marinate meat in tropical spices and herbs. They then cooked the meat over green, fire-resistant fig branches, which was a slow-cook method. They called this method of preparation "barabicu." Eventually the style of cooking became popular in Mexico. Traditional barbacoa is slow-roasted in a fire pit covered with the leaves of the succulent agave plant. Original barbacoa from Mexico makes use of the traditional mole sauce as a marinade.