The restaurant responded to Aguilar’s claim on Facebook, saying they get their barbacoa from a vendor. The vendor in turn responded clarifying that what the woman saw was actually cow lips.
“Barbacoa is one the few items that we buy pre-made from an approved FDA vendor, and we are no longer going to buy from that vendor,” the post reads. “Barbacoa is cooked with different parts of the cow, but mostly from the head or cheek of cattle. El Rincon will stop selling barbacoa until we get a new vendor.”
“The reality is this: Barbacoa is a rough business. It starts with a whole skinned cow’s head, wrapped in burlap and baling wire and buried in a smoking hole in the ground overnight,” the San Antonio Express News’ food writer Mike Sutter wrote. “In the morning, somebody with a sledgehammer opens up that skull and the harvesting begins: all the fatty and lean soft tissue from lip to crown. Sometimes the brains, sometimes the eyes, sometimes the tongue if it’s not being held out for lengua.”