Enjoy tender and juicy barbacoa beef that's full of savory and spicy flavors. Marinated and slow-cooked in a blend of herbs and spices that infuse beautifully into the meat. Whether served over rice or in tacos and burritos, each bite is a delicious explosion. From the first to the last bite, slow-cooked barbacoa beef is a Whole Lotta Yum!
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Crock Pot Barbacoa Beef
Indulge in one of the most mouthwatering recipes that will leave you craving more. Imagine eating warm barbacoa tacos with tender barbacoa beef that melts in your mouth. The warm tortilla soaks up some of the juices while the rest runs down your face. Good luck eating just one!
This is a great recipe if you love Chipotle's barbacoa beef. Serve in a burrito, bowl, taco, or quesadilla there is no wrong answer. Keep it simple by serving in warmed corn tortillas topped with diced white onions and fresh lime cream. Make a simple wrap with beef barbacoa, cilantro lime rice, pickled red onions, pico de gallo, and sour cream.
Slow cooker recipes come in clutch when meal prepping. With little effort and minimal supervision, they're a great option if you're busy but still want to enjoy a meal that tastes delicious. Try this barbacoa recipe in our Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps, or our Turkey Taco Bowl.
Why You'll Love This!
- Great for meal prep - Making a batch of barbacoa beef for the upcoming week will make it easy work of meal prep.
- Super yummy - Boldly flavored, juicy, hints of spice, and guaranteed to add another layer of flavor to any dish you pair with it.
- Quick and easy! - Make this recipe even easier by prepping the night before and pop it in the crock pot in the morning.
- Healthy - A great source of protein and flavor you can add to any bowl, wrap, or salad.
🥘 Beef Barbacoa Recipe Ingredients
A delicious variety of bold spices and a beautifully marbled piece of beef to make our tender beef barbacoa recipe.
- Chuck Roast - Other great cuts of meat that are perfect in a slow cooker are beef brisket, rump roast, or beef cheeks. The best practice is to find a cut of meat with a good amount of marbling.
- Beef broth - Better than bouillon is one of the tastiest beef stock concentrates I've come across. Worth the try! Chicken Broth or dark ale beer is another option to add for flavor.
- Chipotle pepper sauce - If all you have is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, just puree the chipotle peppers in the sauce in a food processor until smooth and use that.
- Garlic - Minced garlic. Garlic powder or freeze-dried garlic would also work but doesn't provide as much garlicky flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar - While apple cider vinegar is the tastiest option, other kinds of vinegar like white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, or rice vinegar would all be great.
- Lime juice - Fresh lime juice is best, but bottled works just as well. Use an acidic juice other options would be to use lemon or orange juice.
- Herbs & Spices - A savory blend of dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt & ground black pepper.
** Please see the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the exact quantities **
- Spicy Barbacoa: Spice it up by adding a can of diced jalapenos or serrano peppers. Only you know the level of heat you can tolerate.
- Smoky Barbacoa: Add a touch of liquid smoke to emulate having your chuck roast cooked over wood in a smoker.
- Sweet & Tangy Barbacoa: For a sweet and savory vibe add brown sugar, honey, or diced pineapple.
- Toppings & Additions: Some toppings we like to add and eat with barbacoa are black or pinto beans, queso fresco, pickled red onions, lime creme, or sour cream.
- Slow Cooker or Crockpot
🔪 How to Make Beef Barbacoa
Crockpots or slow cookers make creating delicious and juicy dishes so easy without too much hands-on. Simply mix the ingredients, slow cook, shred and eat!
Place the chuck roast in the slow cooker.
In a small bowl, combine the beef broth, chipotle sauce, minced garlic, vinegar, lime juice, and spices. Pour the mixture on top of the beef.
Cover securely and cook on low for 8 hours.
Remove beef from the crockpot and place it on a cutting board. Shred beef with two forks.
Add back the shredded beef in the slow cooker and mix with the rest of the barbacoa sauce.
Serve on top of rice or use it for filling tacos. Enjoy!
🥗 Dietary Substitutions
As written our Barbacoa beef recipe is keto-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free
- Whole30: Check to make sure your chipotle pepper sauce doesn't contain sugar or other ingredients not welcome on the whole30 plan.
💡 Recipe Tips
- For delicious crispy browned beef bits, briefly sear beef chuck roast in a pan before adding to the slow cooker.
- It might be tempting to remove the beef before time is up, but for tender juicy beef, cook for the entire time mentioned.
- Slow-cook beef barbacoa in a dutch oven as well. Season and sear the beef on the stovetop before adding the rest of the ingredients. Coat the meat well in the sauce, cover, and slow cook in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 2.5-3 hours or until the meat is fall apart tender.
- In a time crunch? Use your Instant Pot! Use the saute function to brown beef before adding the rest of the barbacoa ingredients.
🥡 Storing and Reheating
- Storing: Let the shredded beef cool completely before storing. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freezing: Let the shredded beef cool completely before storing. Place in a freezer-safe airtight container or bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: To reheat, thaw the beef overnight in the fridge. You can reheat beef barbacoa in the microwave, stovetop, or in the oven. Whichever you choose make sure to stir often until heated through.
Barbacoa can be served in a huge variety of ways. On its own, on top of rice, nachos, tacos, salads, and bowls. Wrapped up in burritos, enchiladas, and sandwiches. Not only that it's perfect as part of your meal prep plan.
Barbacoa is an absolutely delicious Mexican dish made with slow-cooked meat, usually beef. It's seasoned with yummy spices like garlic, cumin, and paprika and cooked until it's really tender and falls apart. You can enjoy it on tacos or in burritos or even on its own, it's super tasty!
Barbacoa beef is slow-cooked beef that is seasoned with spices like garlic, cumin, and smoked paprika, while carnitas is slow-cooked pork that's usually cooked with orange juice and garlic. They both have a tender texture, but barbacoa has a spicier flavor where as carnitas is on the sweeter side.
😋 More Slow Cooker Recipes
Let the slow cooker cook for you and try any of our new recipes using your slow cooker.
- Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken
- Cajun Slow Cooker Kielbasa
- Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps
- Shredded Buffalo Chicken Dip
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