This easy recipe for Chipotle Barbacoa is earthy, spicy, and full of authentic flavor. It is so easy to make, simmered to juicy perfection in the slow cooker.
This tender, flavorful barbacoa is packed with spicy, earthy, and bright flavors. It is simmered in the slow cooker to juicy perfection, making a delicious, saucy dish.
It's so easy to make, and even better than your favorite restaurant!
What is Barbacoa?
Barbacoa actually originated in the Caribbean, but I'm sharing the Mexican variation because it's the one that most are familiar with.
Mexican barbacoa is typically made with beef, goat, or lamb, traditionally steam-cooked in a brick oven. This recipe uses beef in a slow cooker to make it more home-kitchen friendly.
Barbacoa is seasoned with chiles and spices and cooked until tender. Then used in favorite dishes such as tacos or burritos.
What cut of meat is best?
Typically, chuck or brisket cuts will work best for barbacoa. These cuts will turn out most tender as the fat and connective tissue melt in the slow cooker for the perfect juicy, tender bite.
Why don't you brown the meat first?
I've tried both browning the meat before putting it in the Crock Pot and skipping it all together, and honestly, I can't tell that much of a difference after slow cooking all day.
Since there's not much taste difference, I'm all for the equally yummy but less work option!
If you'd like to quickly sear the meat before cooking, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a hot skillet and brown on all sides.
Why do you cut the meat first? Do I have to?
I like to cut the roast into smaller pieces so that more surface area of it can cook and soak in the seasoning. That way there is SO MUCH more flavor.
You can put in the whole roast if you're in a hurry, but it will cut the flavor a bit.
How to Serve Chipotle Barbacoa
Serve Barbacoa like you would serve any kind of taco meat! On a tortilla with your favorite toppings! Mine are homemade guacamole (this is my all time favorite guac recipe!), cilantro, and a little queso fresco with a squeeze of lime juice. So good!
You can also serve it in a burrito with some cilantro lime rice (just like Chipotle!), over tortilla chips as nachos, in a burrito bowl, taco salad, enchiladas, or even tamales!
It's great for meal prep because you can put it on or in anything and everything. And you should definitely do that, because it's delicious.
More Chipotle Inspired Recipes You'll Love
- Copycat Chipotle Carnitas - another super easy favorite from Chipotle!
- Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice - bright, zesty, healthy, and perfect for burritos or burrito bowls
- Refried Black Beans - the best refried beans EVER.
- Best Ever Authentic Guacamole - creamy, flavorful, and downright delicious. You'll lick the bowl clean.
- Easy Restaurant Salsa - super easy with just the right amount of heat, just like at your favorite restaurant.
- Easy Skirt Steak Fajitas - a classic Mexican favorite. Make it at home with this easy, delicious recipe.
- 3 pounds beef roast trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 bay leaves
- ½ cup beef broth
- ½ white onion diced
- 6 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 can green chiles (4 ounces)
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (2 actual peppers not 2 cans!)
- 4 teaspoons adobo sauce (from the same can)
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- In a food process or blender, add all seasoning ingredients and blend until smooth.
- Place beef in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour seasoning mixture on top. Top with bay leaves.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours, until beef is fall-apart tender.
- Remove beef from juices when done cooking. Shred with 2 forks, then return to juices for serving.
- This recipe is gluten free and dairy free.
- Alternate cooking: 4-6 hours on HIGH.
- Shred meat quickly by placing in a stand mixer on low for about 30 seconds.
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