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The Best Barbacoa recipe! Tender, deliciously seasoned beef cooked low and slow in the slow cooker. Perfect for tacos, burritos, and salads.

Photograph of tender barbacoa beef on a tortilla topped with red onions, cilantro, and served with lime. //

One of my favorite things to order when we happen to be in an area where we can visit a certain restaurant has always been their barbacoa. It always makes for a meal that is out of this world. But, even though restaurant barbaco may be readily available in most areas, they are few and far between in my neck of the woods. As in, I’d have to drive about 40 miles to the nearest one. I have to say, my easy homemade version rivals that restaurant favorite! I hope you enjoy it, too!

Barbacoa Beef Recipe

To make this recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 (4-5 pound) chuck roast
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2-3 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce chopped
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt

How to Make Barbacoa Beef

Making this tender, delicious barbacoa beef in the slow cooker is so simple.

  • Add chuck roast to the insert of the slow cooker.
  • In a 2 cup measuring cup stir together beef broth, apple cider vinegar, garlic, chilis, adobo sauce, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and salt. Pour into the slow cooker and cook on low setting for 8 hours.
  • Shred the barbacoa beef in the slow cooker using two forks. It absorbs even more fo teh delicious barbacoa sauce as it is in the slow cooker.
  • Use a pair of tongs or a fork to easily serve the barbacoa with a drizzle of additional sauce.

How to Serve Barbacoa Beef

Barbacoa beef is delicious in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, soups, and salads. That spicy kick is unmistakably delicious!

We especially love to toast tortillas and then pile on our barbacoa with our favorite toppings of red onion and additional cilantro.

Served with a side of salsa and a fresh squeeze of lime, it is a meal my whole family loves!

How to Make Ahead

To make ahead, prepare it according to the recipe instructions. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can You Freeze Barbacoa?

To freeze, store in an airtight, freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Other Favorite Beef Recipes

Pot Roast Recipe

Beef Stroganoff Recipe

Swedish Meatballs

Here’s my Easy Barbacoa recipe. I think you are going to make this again and again!

5 from 16 votes

Easy Barbacoa Recipe

Dinner 8 hrs 5 mins

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Servings 6
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Author Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
The Best Barbacoa recipe! Tender, deliciously seasoned beef cooked low and slow in the slow cooker. Perfect for tacos, burritos, and salads.


  • 1 (4-5 pound) chuck roast
  • 1/2 cup beef stock or broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2-3 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce chopped
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Optional Toppings:

  • red onion
  • cilantro
  • lime


  • Add chuck roast to the insert of slow cooker. In a 2 cup measuring cup stir together beef broth, apple cider vinegar, garlic, chilis, adobo sauce, cumin, chili powder, oregano and salt. Pour into slow cooker and cook on low setting for 8 hours.
  • Shred beef in the slow cooker using two forks. Serve barbacoa with a drizzle of additional sauce.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator or in the freezer for a few months.


Nutritional Information

Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 153mg | Sodium: 343mg

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Robyn xo

Slow Cooker Recipes

Robyn Stone

Robyn Stone is a wife, mom, blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. Welcome to Add a Pinch where I share thousands of delicious, tested and perfected easy recipes that the whole family will love.

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Recipe Review


  1. We don’t have a Chipotles either and I have never had a chance to try it so I really appreciate this recipe. I love using my slow cooker and any kind of beef recipe so I am sure this will be a hit!

    1. In the groc. Isle where the canned hot peppers are there are small cans of chipotle.

  2. Hello! Any ideas on what method to cook the chuck in, if you don’t have a crockpot? Maybe a dutch oven in the oven?

    1. A dutch oven in the oven would work great! You might need to add just a bit more liquid during the cooking time as a slow cooker doesn’t allow as much evaporation during the cooking process.

  3. I am with you on barbacoa! So crazy good! I need to make this slow cooker version this week!

  4. This is one of my favorite things to make for a crowd! Instead of the adobo sauce and then the chili.. I buy a small chile de adobo in the can.. Yup, open it and add about 3-5 with the sauce.. If you like it spicy.. Add the rest of the chiles.. Also, I add 3 bay leaves just before I close the crockpot..

  5. I’ve never eaten at a Chipotle. No idea what barbacoa is.But those pictures certainly do the job of making me want to make this soon.

  6. We don’t have a Chipotle close to us. . and even if we did, I’d want to make this at home anyway. . this looks sooooo good!!! can’t wait to try this!!!

  7. making this right now! Just threw everything in the crockpot. The sauce mixture tastes sooooo good. Can’t wait for dinner tonight! Thanks for the recipe Robyn 🙂

    1. 5 stars
      *update…dinner was good last night! I was worried that it would be too spicy for the kids, so I put some meat in a tortilla and topped with shredded cheese and they gobbled it up with no problem! I will be making this again. Easy and yummy 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    This is absolutely delicious! I made a couple minor changes to the recipe, like searing the roast on the stove before adding it to the slow cooker. (I read somewhere that this deepens the flavor of the meat while it cooks. I don’t know if this is true or not. Maybe I just made more work for myself!) I also added a dash of cloves to the sauce. Finally, after I shredded the beef, I added 2 T lime juice. My daughter asked for the leftovers in her lunch tomorrow, which I take as a ringing endorsement. Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. Good kick. My son, who loves spicy food, was in heaven. We had it with your broccoli slaw on the side.

  10. 5 stars
    I was looking for something to feed a crowd and this fits the bill perfectly! There is no way we were going to get the hot grill going in August in Texas at NOON, and I was about to give up and have it catered in but this is perfect! Thanks for saving us $$$!

  11. I’m sorry that is not barbacoa that is shredded beef barbacoa is beef cheeks or a beef tongue also cooked in the slow cooker or in the oven the texture is totally different

  12. 5 stars
    Robyn – I absolutely LOVE your Easy Barbacoa recipe!
    I made it a couple of weeks ago and my husband just couldn’t stop bragging on it! He asked right then if I’d add it to my menu plan rotation. I have it in the slow cooker as we speak for tonight’s supper!
    I really appreciate how simple it is to make, yet it is melt-in-your mouth delicious!
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  13. 5 stars
    These sound awesome. Great for a cindo de Mayo fiesta. Thanks for sharing.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,

  14. I really love your recipes and your website! It’s such an inspiration for this Southern gal who has lived in Washington state now for many years. I’m eager to try the barbacoa, but wonder how you and others may rate the spicy index of the dish? Mild? Moderate? We enjoy more mild than moderate, so hope someone can clarify!

  15. Would you be so kind as to recommend a slow cooker. I want to get the right one. My family is small; but there are times when I may want to cook for 8-10. I don’t want to purchase one that isn’t satisfactory.

  16. 5 stars
    I made this last night in my slow cooker for a Cinco de Mayo potluck at work. It was so easy. Everyone enjoyed it, including me. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Chipotle chilis are a little spicy, but for that amount of meat I think they will only add flavour. Chili powder and adobo sauce aren’t spicy, so try it! Sounds yummy!

  17. Love your recipe. I make Mexican food all the time because my family loves it so much. I’m definitely going to have to try this. Thanks for sharing. It looks so much better than the restaurant version!

  18. Where would I find adobo sauce and chipotle chilis in the grocery store ? I know how to make Filipino adobo but don’t think that would work in a Mexican dish

    1. Hi Neta,
      I’ve not made it in my Instant Pot. I may have to give it a try soon, though! Thanks!

  19. I really enjoy all your recipes.  Unfortunately neither my husband nor I can eat spicy foods. If i left out all the spices do you think it would be good?

    1. Sasha, that would be a waste of your hard earned money. Barbacoa is a way of cooking a cheap cut of meat in a way that makes it melt-in-your-mouth tender instead of tough and flavorless. There are some GREAT prime rib recipes out on the webbernets, but they’ll all tell you the same thing- start your roast out at a high heat to lock in the juices, then turn down the temperature for the remainder of the cooking time. Good luck and happy cooking!

  20. 5 stars
    This recipe is absolutely wonderful! The only thing I ever so slightly modified was that I didn’t pull the beef completely because I wanted it to be a little more “homestyle” over some cilantro flavored jasmine rice. I had some reservations about that much cumin but it was SO GOOD with the adobo! I’ll definitely be making this one again and again! Many thanks!!!

  21. 5 stars
    Thank you for a beautiful barbacoa recipe. Made this tonight for my family and the kitchen smells divine. It tastes even better.

  22. 5 stars
    This was a hit on a blustery fall day. My husband said it does taste just like that certain restaurant’s version. Thanks for a really easy meal.

  23. 5 stars
    Easy, fast and delicious. It was great because it was a warm day and didn’t have to heat up kitchen. Made it exactly as recipe stated. My slow cooker runs pretty warm even on low so I cooked it for 7 hrs The flavor was amazing. Served with a big side salad. Yummy, will definitely be a repeater.

  24. 5 stars
    I saved this recipe several years ago and finally decided to make it. Ah, it is fabulous! I live in San Diego so chipotles in adobo sauce are readily available and really makes this recipe. I put only the beef on a flour tortilla, no toppings and it was so good. Thank you Robyn.

  25. 5 stars
    Awesome recipe, I cut it in half for a 2 lb roast, and it comes out perfect every time,…if some one wants salt they can add it to their own serving…but its perfect for me as it is…thank you so much for sharing this recipe