This Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa is cooked low and slow all day to get the perfect Mexican flavors and tenderness. It’s rich, spicy and perfect on tacos with cilantro and lime wedges!
My Favorite Beef Barbacoa Recipe
Achieve the ideal Mexican recipe with Beef Barbacoa prepared in the slow cooker. This delectable dish is prepared by slow-cooking the beef to perfection, allowing the flavors to meld and develop. The result is a rich, succulent beef that pairs perfectly with warm tortillas and a squeeze of fresh lime.
And speaking of (flour) tortillas, taco night is kind of a big deal in my house. I love tacos, the hubs loves tacos, and the kids love tacos, too. 🌮 We have our favorite go-to taco recipes, and this Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa is definitely one of them! The meat is spicy and rich, with a burst of brightness from the lime juice and chopped cilantro.
And best of all, it’s made right in your crock pot – so no fuss, and it’s crazy easy. Mom’s happy, dad’s happy, and the kids are happy. What’s better than that?! CHIPOTLE! 😁
What is Barbacoa?
Barbacoa is an authentic Mexican recipe usually made with beef, lamb, or goat. I like to compare beef Barbacoa to a Mexican shredded pot roast. The beef is seasoned with a flavorful blend of spices and seasonings, then simmered over low heat until it becomes tender and easily shredded.
Then, to finish it off, you shred it and add it back to those spicy and rich juices to sop up all the goodness. I love using it for everything from tacos and tamales to enchiladas and quesadillas.
Why Make Barbacoa in the Slow Cooker?
Like any tougher meat, you’ll want to cook this chuck roast low and slow. Cooking a tough meat this way makes it incredibly tender.
The simplest way to cook something “low and slow” is in your slow cooker. Of course, you could do this using a Dutch oven, too, but it’s so easy to pop the ingredients in the slow cooker and walk away rather than having to keep an eye on it.
Not only is using your slow cooker almost completely hands-off, but you can also head outside for a walk or to play with the kids without any worry. When you come back, the aroma will knock your socks off!
- chuck roast
- onion & garlic
- green chilies & chipotles in adobo sauce
- cumin, dried oregano, salt, and pepper
- lime juice
- apple cider vinegar
- beef broth
- bay leaves
How to Make Beef Barbacoa
- In the bowl of your slow cooker combine prepped chuck roast, onions, garlic, green chilies, chipotles, ground cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, vinegar, and beef broth; pour the broth mixture over the ingredients in the slow cooker. Add bay leaves.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. Cooked beef should be tender and fall apart easily when shredded with a fork.
Remove beef from the slow cooker and transfer it to a cutting board.
- Using two forks, shred the beef into bite-size pieces. Even better if you have a pair of these shredder claws. It makes the shredding so much easier.
Transfer shredded beef back into the slow cooker; stir everything together until completely incorporated.
My favorite way to serve Beef Barbacoa is in tacos with low-carb flour tortillas. I like to top them with a sweet corn salsa, sliced avocado, and cilantro. You could also top the barbacoa tacos with sliced radishes and fresh parsley. Additionally, beef barbacoa is excellent as the meat in a rice-and-bean-filled burrito or a beef enchilada.
You can also serve it over rice or coconut lime riced cauliflower, quinoa, or mashed sweet potatoes. If you’re in the mood for more Mexican recipes, barbacoa makes an amazing tamale filling! I’ve even used it as an enchilada filling or added it to quesadillas.
Don’t miss the opportunity to have it over a salad with your favorite taco toppings for a filling beef taco salad meal!
Having said all of that, please prepare to savor the authentic taste of Mexico with every bite of this flavorful and tender Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa, a true delight for taco lovers everywhere. ❤️
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- If you end up with leftovers of this slow cooker Beef Barbacoa, let it come to room temp and then place it in an airtight container with the juices. Then, you can refrigerate the beef and juices for up to 5 days, or freeze them for 3 months!
More Slow Cooker Beef Recipes
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
- 3 to 4 pounds chuck roast, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (4-ounces) green chilies
- 2 chipotles in adobo, diced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ¾ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ½ cup beef broth, (try to use low-sodium beef broth whenever possible)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- juices from 2 limes
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish
- In the bowl of your slow cooker combine the chuck roast pieces, onions, garlic, green chilies, chipotles, ground cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the beef broth, vinegar, and lime juice; pour the broth mixture over the ingredients in the slow cooker. Add bay leaves.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours, or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours. Cooked beef should be tender and should fall apart easily when shredded with a fork.
- Remove the beef from the slow cooker and transfer it to a cutting board.
- Using two forks, or shredder claws, shred the beef into bite-size pieces.
- Transfer the shredded beef back into the slow cooker; stir everything together until completely incorporated.
- Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve.
- We use chuck roast in this recipe because it is a well-marbled, flavorful beef cut suitable for slow cooking.
- Season generously: Don’t skip on any herbs and spices to infuse the beef with robust flavors.
- For enhanced flavor and texture, sear the beef in a hot skillet before transferring it to the slow cooker.
- To keep the beef moist and tender during the slow cooking process, add flavorful liquids. I like lime juice, beef broth, and apple cider vinegar. You can also add orange juice. The liquid will help break down the collagen in the meat, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.
- When finished with the cooking process, reduce the liquid and use it as a dipping sauce or drizzle it over your tacos. Strain the cooking liquid and transfer it to a saucepan. Simmer the liquid on the stovetop until it reduces and thickens slightly.
- Use the beef barbacoa to create mouthwatering tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, or enjoy it over rice.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.