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Balbacua Recipe

Balbacua Recipe

Balbacua Soup or in English you may call it as “Ox tail and Beef Rind Soup”. The meat is incredibly delicate and the skin is gelatinous, and the soup has a velvety texture and great flavor. It’s really yummy!

This Cebuano dish was long ago passed down from the Spaniards. However, in other provinces like Cagayan de Oro, Bohol, and Davao, there are other variations. The word “balbacua” for this dish is derived from the Spanish word “barbacoa,” (baar-bak-wa) which refers to cooking tougher meat slowly over a wood fire for number of hours.

Imagine a kind of cuisine that took almost a day to prepare cooking it. It’s absolutely tender and yummy for sure. To save on gas, this is best cooked in a wood fire and slow cooking for 7-8 hours.

But don’t worry, our modern time can cook it more quickly using a pot in a gas stove or with the use of Pressure Cooker.

Cooking Notes:

  • Aside from “Pork & Beans” in can: You may also use baked beans or 150 grams raw peanuts, shelled and peeled or ground peanuts.
  • For the Beef Rind, Tendons and Bones: You can select Beef tendon & any tough beef meat with bones. Beef knee, cow skin, beef skin cheek part or beef shank, or beef brisket. 
  • If you don’t have access to Oxtail, you can use the mix of ox/beef skin and beef ribs to replicate the oxtail, which is largely made up of skin and bones. 
  • For ox/beef skin, use the cheek part. The broth will get slightly sticky as a result. When cooked properly, it becomes incredibly gelatinous and tastes fantastic.
  • If the ingredients you’re using lack tendons/”litid” (gelatinous), you can thicken them with a cornstarch slurry, but the gelatin from the bones and soft bones should still make them sticky.

Balbacua Recipe


  • ½ kilo oxtail, cut in serving size
  • ½ kilo Beef Skin (cheek part)
  • 1 knob fresh ginger, sliced (or turmeric/luyang dilaw)
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt and peppercorns, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf (dahon ng laurel)
  • 1 small can Tausi or black salted beans (drain and rinse in running water then drain again)
  • 2 red onion bulbs, peeled and quartered, divided
  • 2 stalks baby leeks, sliced (optional)
  • 5 stalks Lemongrass, pounded, tie in knot
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 2 pcs long green peppers or Siling Haba, (alternatively red bell pepper)
  • 3-4 Tbsp. Atsuete oil/Annato 
  • 1 can “Pork & Beans”
  • Patis or fish sauce to taste
  • Peppercorns
  • 10 cups of water or more


  1. In a pot, add water, ginger, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf, oxtail and beef skin. Boil for 15 minutes and then drain. Repeat this twice.
  2. Boil oxtail and beef skin again in water with ginger, anise, lemongrass, onions and peppercorns. Simmer for about 3-4 hours, or until very tender.
  3. In another pan, saute onions, garlic, in atsuete oil. The atsuete oil will give color to the broth. Set aside.
  4. When tail and beef skin are almost tender, add in tausi, “pork & beans”, siling haba, the sauteed onions-garlic mixture, and lemongrass  to the boiling oxtail and skin broth.
  5. Cook for another 30 minutes to 1 hour and add chopped leeks, season with patis to taste. Serve hot with a side of calamansi and extra siling labuyo. Enjoy!

For Pressure Cooker:

  1. In a pot, add water, ginger, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf, oxtail and beef skin. Boil for 15 minutes and then drain. Repeat this twice.
  2. Transfer oxtail and beef skin in a pressure cooker. Add water and cook until tender for about 45 mins to 1 hour. 
  3. Once done, separate the meat. Set aside and reserve the broth.
  4. In another pot, add Annato oil and saute ginger, garlic and onions. The Annato oil will give color to the broth. Add the oxtail and beef skin. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well till the meat are fully coated with the Annato oil.
  5. Pour the broth, add star anise, lemongrass, and long green peppers. Cover and let simmer till the herbs/spices fully flavors the broth.
  6. Add the “pork & beans” and tausi. Stir and simmer again. Garnish with chopped leeks. 
  7. Serve hot with a side of calamansi and extra siling labuyo