Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Barbacoa is a tender, juicy, shredded meat cooked in a slow cooker with lime juice, garlic, onion, chipotles in adobo, and other delicious Mexican flavors. Perfect filling for tacos, burritos, and more!
My family loves Mexican food. We make everything from grilled meats like carne asada and pollo asado to enchiladas, chicken tortilla soup, and many things in between. Adding to the list of favorites is Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Barbacoa. Chipotle has a great barbacoa, and you know I like to re-create my restaurant favorites at home, so Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Barbacoa is my take on a delicious, tender, easy-to-make barbacoa. This meat has a great smoky flavor from the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce as well as some smoked paprika. It also has chili powder, cumin, onion, garlic, tomato, and green chiles. One thing this meat is not, is dry. This meat is so juicy and moist, you can see it swimming in its flavor bath in the pictures.
Barbacoa can mean five different things to five different people. Depending on where you live, barbacoa can be an animal roasting underground or it could be meat cooking long and slow on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. It also varies by what type of meat is used. It can be goat, lamb, beef, and even body parts not typically found on American menus (the head, cheeks), it all depends on what is popular in that region. One thing is for sure, barbacoa should be cooked low and slow and end up as moist, tender, juicy meat.
I like to bust out my slow cooker any chance I get, especially when I need a cooking environment that creates moist, juicy meat, which is exactly how barbacoa should be.
Just brown the meat in a pan and then throw it in a slow cooker with all the other ingredients.
Let it cook in the slow cooker for about 5-6 hours, shred it, and you’ll have a delicious multi-purpose, recipe-ready meat that’s perfect for all your Mexican meals.
Our favorite way to eat Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Barbacoa is either in a burrito with salsa, sour cream, and shredded cheese or in a taco with cilantro, salsa, and grated cotija cheese, but it makes a great filling for enchiladas, nachos, and burrito bowls, too.
- My family likes spicy food, so the 2 chipotles in adobo is perfect for us. If you want a milder version, use only one chipotle. Besides spiciness, they provide a great smoky flavor that I find essential in barbacoa.
- Barbacoa is traditionally served with chopped onion and cilantro, but make it your own with guacamole, Easy Homemade Salsa, sour cream, or pickled jalapenos.
- Tomatoes aren’t a typical additon to barbacoa, but I like to sneak in healthy stuff wherever I can.
- 3-4 lb. chuck roast. If it's super fatty, get a 4 lb. since you'll lose a lot when you trim it.
- 1 large tomato
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 (4.5oz) can green chiles (don't drain juices)
- 1-2 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo (2 for spicy)
- 1 tbsp. cumin
- ½ tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tbsp salt
- several grinds of black pepper
- ¼ cup water or beef broth
- fresh cilantro (garnish)
- Trim large chunks of fat off roast. Cut roast into large chunks. Season meat with salt and pepper and sear in a hot pan until all sides have browned. Add meat to slow cooker.
- Add to slow cooker the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until the meat is pull-apart tender. Garnish with fresh cilantro.