We may earn money from the products/companies mentioned in this post. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
This slow cooker barbacoa recipe includes tender, succulent mexican beef, infused with an aromatic blend of spices and delicious ingredients that will transport you straight to the colorful streets of Mexico.
And the best part? This recipe is a breeze to make in your trusty slow cooker, resulting in a mouthwatering, melt-in-your-mouth easy Mexican recipe that will be perfect for weeknight family dinners!
Whether you're having a family dinner or hosting a fiesta with friends, our slow cooker barbacoa recipe is sure to be a hit and doesn't take a lot of time.
So go ahead, gather your ingredients, set up your slow cooker, and let the flavors of Mexican barbacoa come alive in your kitchen!
Plus, this recipe is naturally gluten-free recipe, keto-friendly, low-carb, and a Trim Healthy Mama-friendly THM-S recipe.
What does barbacoa taste like?
Barbacoa recipes have tender meat, flavorful spices, a touch of spiciness, and a tangy zing that makes them absolutely delicious.
Easy steps to make tender Slow Cooker Barbacoa
Making tender and flavorful barbacoa meat in your crock pot is a breeze.
With just a few simple steps, you'll have a mouthwatering chipotle barbacoa recipe that will impress everyone at your table.
Let's dive into the easy process of creating this delicious dish!
Gather Barbacoa Ingredients:
Beef chuck roast, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper
Chipotle peppers, with adobo sauce from the can
Apple cider vinegar
Season and Prepare the Beef:
Spray the slow cooker crock with nonstick cooking spray.
Place the beef chunks in the slow cooker.
Sprinkle the garlic powder, taco seasoning, cumin, salt, and black pepper over the meat.
Add the chopped chipotle peppers with the adobo sauce for a spicy kick.
Create the Flavorful Sauce:
In a separate bowl, mix together the apple cider vinegar, lime juice, and beef stock.
Pour the sauce mixture over the seasoned beef.
Cook and Let It Simmer:
Cover and set it to low heat.
Allow the beef to cook for 6 to 7 hours, giving it enough time to become tender and infused with flavors.
Resist the temptation to peek too often, as it will slow down the cooking process.
Shred the Beef and Serve:
Once the beef is cooked and fork-tender, remove the lid.
Using two forks, gently shred the meat into smaller pieces. It should effortlessly fall apart.
Build Your Perfect Barbacoa Dish:
Serve the tender beef on crisp romaine lettuce leaves for a refreshing touch.
Now comes the fun part! Customize how you serve chipotle beef barbacoa by adding your favorite toppings.
Consider diced tomatoes for freshness, shredded cheese for a creamy texture, cubed avocado for richness, sour cream for tanginess, or guacamole for that extra burst of flavor.
Elevate the Flavors: Customizing Your Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Recipe
One of the best things about crock pot beef barbacoa is its versatility. While the base recipe is delicious on its own, you can easily customize and change the flavors to suit your preferences. Here are some creative ways to elevate the flavors of your barbacoa:
Experiment with Different Spices:
Feel free to play around with the spice blend in the recipe. Add a touch of smoked paprika for a smoky undertone, or sprinkle in some dried oregano and coriander for an herbal twist. For a hint of sweetness, a pinch of cinnamon can work wonders.
Adjust the Heat Level:
If you love spicy food, consider adding additional chipotle peppers in adobo sauce or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.
Conversely, if you prefer milder flavors, reduce the amount of chipotle peppers or omit them entirely.
You can also remove the seeds and membranes from the peppers to reduce the heat.
Enhance with Fresh Herbs and Citrus Zest:
To brighten up the flavors of your barbacoa, add some fresh herbs and citrus zest.
Finely chop some fresh cilantro or parsley and sprinkle it over the shredded beef before serving.
For a burst of citrusy freshness, grate the zest of a lime or orange and mix it into the meat.
Introduce Liquid Smoke:
For a smoky flavor reminiscent of traditional outdoor barbecues, you can incorporate a few drops of liquid smoke into the sauce mixture.
This will give your barbacoa a delicious, charred aroma that will transport you to a Mexican street food feast.
Consider Marinades and Salsas:
Before cooking the beef, you can marinate it overnight in your favorite Mexican-inspired marinade.
This will infuse the meat with additional flavors and tenderize it even further.
You can also serve your barbacoa with a variety of homemade salsas, such as salsa verde, pico de gallo, or roasted tomato salsa, to add vibrant flavors and a touch of heat.
Remember, the beauty of cooking at home lies in its adaptability. Don't be afraid to get creative and experiment with different flavors and ingredients.
How to make Barbacoa without a slow cooker
If you don't have a slow cooker, don't worry! You can still enjoy the mouthwatering flavors of barbacoa by using alternative cooking methods:
Barbacoa recipe Dutch oven method:
Start by cutting your beef chuck roast into smaller chunks or use beef stew meat.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat some oil over medium heat.
Sear the beef on all sides until browned and caramelized.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and add your seasonings, chipotle peppers with adobo sauce, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, and beef stock to the pot.
Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and let it simmer for about 2 to 3 hours, or until the beef is fork-tender. Stir occasionally and ensure there is enough liquid to prevent it from drying out.
Once the beef is tender, use two forks to shred it into smaller pieces.
Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).
Season and sear the beef in a skillet over medium-high heat, just like in the stovetop method.
Transfer the seared beef to a baking dish or Dutch oven.
Add the seasonings, chipotle peppers with adobo sauce, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, and beef stock to the dish.
Cover the dish with foil or a tight-fitting lid and place it in the preheated oven.
Allow the beef to cook for approximately 3 to 4 hours, or until it is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.
Once the beef is done, shred it using two forks.
Common questions about Slow Cooker Barbacoa recipe answered
When it comes to making this easy barbacoa recipe, you may have some questions in mind.
Don't worry, we've got you covered!
Here are answers to some common questions that will help you navigate the process with ease:
Can I use a different cut of beef for barbacoa?
While beef chuck roast is the recommended cut for its tenderness and flavor, you can experiment with other cuts, like beef stew meat.
Just ensure that the meat is suitable for slow cooking, as it will need to become fork-tender during the cooking process.
What if I don't have chipotle peppers?
If you don't have chipotle peppers on hand, don't worry! There are still ways to make a delicious barbacoa-inspired dish without them. Here are some alternatives you can consider:
Smoked paprika can add a smoky flavor similar to chipotle peppers. It won't provide the same level of heat, but it will contribute a nice depth of flavor.
Start with a teaspoon of smoked paprika and adjust according to your taste preferences.
Increase Other Spices: Without chipotle peppers, you can amp up the other spices in the recipe to add more flavor.
Increase the amounts of garlic powder, cumin, or any other spices called for in the recipe to make up for the absence of chipotle peppers.
Can I adjust the spice level in the recipe?
Absolutely! The spice level in the recipe can be tailored to your taste preferences.
If you prefer a milder version, you can reduce the amount of chipotle peppers or omit them altogether.
On the other hand, if you like it spicier, feel free to add an extra pepper or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes! This is an excellent dish to prepare ahead of time.
In fact, it tends to taste even better the next day as the flavors have a chance to further develop.
After cooking, allow the beef to cool and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
When ready to serve, gently reheat the beef in the slow cooker or on the stovetop.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Absolutely! Slow cooker beef barbacoa freezes well, making it a convenient option for future meals.
Allow the beef to cool completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or zip-top bags.
Label the containers with the date and freeze for up to three months.
When you're ready to enjoy it again, simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat as desired.
What are some creative ways to use the leftover barbacoa beef?
Leftover barbacoa beef is incredibly versatile and can be used in various delicious ways. Here are a few ideas to serve barbacoa when you have leftovers:
Fill tacos or burritos with shredded beef, along with your favorite toppings.
Layer the beef on low-carb nachos and top with melted cheese, jalapeños, and salsa for a flavorful snack.
Mix it into scrambled eggs or use it as a topping for a loaded breakfast hash.
Use this barbacoa as a replacement for the chicken in these chicken enchiladas.
Add it to soups, stews, or chili to elevate the flavors.
Now you can enjoy the amazing flavors of Mexico at home with our easy slow cooker beef barbacoa recipe.
It's simple to make and bursting with deliciousness. So gather your ingredients, set up your slow cooker, and get ready for a tasty meal that will impress everyone around the table. Enjoy!
More Mexican recipes:
More slow cooker recipes:
Slow Cooker Barbacoa Taco Lettuce Wraps
- 2 to 3 Pounds Beef Chuck Roast , cut into chunks, or beef stew meat
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 3 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 Chipotle Peppers , chopped, with 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from the can
- 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- Juice from 2 Limes
- ½ cup Beef Stock
- Romaine Lettuce Leaves for serving
- Choice of Toppings: Diced Tomato , shredded cheese, cubed avocado, sour cream, guacamole, etc.
- Prepare the slow cooker crock with nonstick cooking spray. Add the beef chunks.
- Sprinkle the seasonings and chipotle peppers over the meat and toss to blend.
- Mix together the vinegar, lime juice, and beef stock. Pour over the meat.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Remove the lid and shred the meat using two forks.
- Serve on lettuce leaves with your choice of toppings, or use any of the other ideas in the blog post above.