Balbacua Recipe

This collagen-rich stew is sticky, fatty, and absolutely perfect!

IMAGE Stephanie Cueva

A rich and sticky stew made of oxskin is not a dish you think would be delicious but you'll discover you're wrong when you taste the balbacua

What is balbacua? 

You might think this is derived from the Spanish word "barbacoa", but that's a dish that's basically a barbecue which this is not. If you speak to someone from the Visayas region, you'll find out that the dish is a Cebuano ox skin and tail stew.

How to cook balbacua

The skin and the tails are tough parts so it requires a long cooking process to tenderize it and make it soft enough to eat. This cooking process, where the dish is commonly simmered for hours, is where the magic begins. Since the skin is stewed for hours until tender, the collagen in the skin, plus the oxtail if you're using this cut, break down into the simmering liquid. Collagen is similar to gelatin which results in a rich and sticky soup that you'll want to savor with every spoonful. 

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The process of using oxskin in a dish requires cleaning the skin through boiling. This not only removes the impurities or scum from the skin. This ensures your soup is clear and not murky so don't skip the step! Once that's done, you just need to add the ingredients that make your balbacua flavorful and wait the hours it needs to tenderize and become super soft. 

 
The soft and tender ox skin creates a rich, sticky stew.
Photo by Stephanie Cueva
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Prep Time
10 mins 
Cooking Time
7 hrs 
Ready In
7 hrs 10 mins 
Yield
4
Cuisine
Filipino
Cooking Method
boil and stew

Balbacua Ingredients

How to make Balbacua

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