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pulled beef barbacoa served in a bowl with lime wedges

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa

Katerina | Diethood
Every bite of our tender, juicy, slow cooker beef barbacoa is a fiesta of flavors, perfectly complemented by warm tortillas, zesty lime wedges, and your favorite toppings.
Servings : 10
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes


  • 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. 


Calories: 262 kcal | Carbohydrates: 3 g | Protein: 27 g | Fat: 16 g | Saturated Fat: 7 g | Cholesterol: 94 mg | Sodium: 559 mg | Potassium: 514 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 1 g | Vitamin A: 184 IU | Vitamin C: 3 mg | Calcium: 41 mg | Iron: 4 mg | Net Carbs: 2 g

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.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: barbacoa recipe, beef barbacoa, beef taco meat, beef tacos, mexican food