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
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 best of all, it’s made right in your crock pot – so no fuss and crazy easy. Mom’s happy, dad’s happy, and the kids are happy. What’s better than that?! CHIPOTLE! 😁 I digress…
What is Barbacoa?
Barbacoa is an authentic Mexican recipe usually made with beef, lamb, or goat. I like to compare Barbacoa to a Mexican shredded pot roast. You use the same, or a similar cut of meat, you cook it in the same way, but you throw some authentic Mexican spice into the mix and it’s dang amazing!
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, 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!
Barbacoa Recipe Ingredients
For your slow cooker Beef Barbacoa, you’ll need beef and lots of Mexican flavors.
This is what you’ll want to grab:
- chuck roast, cut into 6 to 8 chunks
- yellow onion
- green chilies
- chipotles in adobo sauce
- dried oregano
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- lime juice
- apple cider vinegar
- beef broth
- bay leaves
- fresh cilantro or parsley
How to Make Beef Barbacoa
- Prep: In the bowl of your slow cooker combine prepped chuck roast, onions, garlic, green chilies, chipotles, ground cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Mix: In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, vinegar, and beef broth; pour broth mixture over ingredients in slow cooker.
Add bay leaves.
- Slow Cook: 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 beef from slow cooker and transfer to a cutting board.
- Shred: Using two forks, shred the beef into bite size pieces. Even better if you have a pair of these shredder claws. Makes the shredding so much easier.
Transfer shredded beef back into the slow cooker; stir everything together until completely incorporated.
- Serve: Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve.
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 simply top your tacos with sliced radishes and fresh parsley. It’s also great as the meat in a rice and bean filled burrito or a cheesy 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 yummy and filling beef taco salad meal!
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
Tools Used in this Recipe
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
- 3 to 4 pounds chuck roast, cut into 6 to 8 chunks
- 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
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, for garnish
- 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 beef broth, vinegar, and lime juice; pour broth mixture over ingredients in 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 beef from slow cooker and transfer to a cutting board.
- Using two forks, or shredder claws, shred the beef into bite size pieces.
- Transfer shredded beef back into the slow cooker; stir everything together until completely incorporated.
- Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve.
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.
65 comments on “Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa | Chipotle Copycat!”
This is the best and easiest barbacoa recipe
Thank YOU! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Delicious and easy! Barely any fat.
Thank YOU! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
It says multiple times pit prepped meat in crockpot but I see no where that it says how to prep the meat.
The recipe card is located toward the bottom, right above the comments section. You can also click on “Jump to Recipe” found at the top of the post, underneath the title.
I just threw this in the crockpot for tacos tonight! Can’t wait to taste all these flavors mixed together
I hope you’ll enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂
Absolutely no flavor at all!! Beef was tender but no flavor
You may not have added enough salt. Some people prefer more, some less. I suggest you add some salt, stir it around, taste it, and see if the flavor improves.
Can I use lemon juice instead of lime juice?
You can, but the flavor won’t be as intended.
Excited to try this tonight! I do not have bay leaves. Suggestions for replacements or is it fine to leave out? Looks delicious, thanks for the recipe!
You can add a couple teaspoons of dried thyme, instead.
Hi! I made this recipe last week and it is really good, leftover too!! I am wondering approx how much meat would be in a serving? Thanks!
A 4-pound chuck roast divided by 10 servings is 6.4 ounces per serving. Add in some of the extras that are in the recipe and you can round it off to maybe 7-ish ounces.
Hi Katrina, would you follow the same cooking time if this is being made for 3 people? Thank you so much!
If I do this in the instant pot how long does it take plus what do I set it at
I have a recipe for that on my other site: https://easyweeknightrecipes.com/instant-pot-beef-barbacoa/