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

Photograph of barbacoa beef on a tortilla.

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 barbacoa may be readily available in most areas, they are few and far between in my neck of the woods. I’d have to drive about 40 miles to the nearest one. I have to say, my easy homemade barbacoa rivals that restaurant favorite! I hope you enjoy it, too!

Barbacoa Beef Recipe

Making this tender, delicious barbacoa beef in the slow cooker is so easy and so incredibly delicious!

Ingredients

Photograph of recipe ingredients for how to make barbacoa.

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

  • Beef – I prefer to use a chuck roast for this recipe. It becomes incredibly tender and flavorful in this recipe. Note that you can just place the whole chuck roast into the slow cooker without cubing, or cube it if you prefer.
  • Beef broth – Adds moisture to the beef as it cooks.
  • Apple cider vinegar – Helps to balance the recipe.
  • Garlic – You can use fresh garlic that has been finely chopped, or you can use Stone House Seasoning in place of the garlic and salt in the recipe.
  • Chipotle chilis – You’ll use canned chipotle chilis that are canned in adobo sauce. Remove the chilis from the sauce and chop them to use in the recipe. 
  • Adobo sauce – You will also use a portion of the adobo sauce from the canned chipotle chilis. This adds incredible flavor to the recipe.
  • Seasonings: Cumin, Chili powder, and Salt – Adds depth of flavor to the recipe. In place of the salt and garlic, use Stone House Seasoning.
  • Optional toppings: Red Onion, Cilantro, and Lime

How to Make Barbacoa Beef

Photograph of beef ready to be cooked.

Add chuck roast to the insert of the slow cooker.

Photograph of seasonings to be added to beef for barbacoa.

Stir together beef broth, apple cider vinegar, garlic, chilis, adobo sauce, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and salt. Pour into the slow cooker.

Beef with sauce in a pot ready to cook.

Cook on low setting for 8 hours.

Photograph of barbacoa beef shredded in a pot with two forks.

Shred the barbacoa beef in the slow cooker using two forks. It absorbs even more of the delicious barbacoa sauce as it is in the slow cooker.

Barbacoa on a platter with cilantro, lime slices, and two forks.

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!

Barbacoa on soft tortilla with lime, cilantro and red onion.

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!

Storage Tips

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

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!

Easy Barbacoa Recipe

5 from 17 votes
The Best Barbacoa recipe! Tender, deliciously seasoned beef cooked low and slow in the slow cooker. Perfect for tacos, burritos, and salads.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 6

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 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 ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Optional Toppings:

  • red onion
  • cilantro
  • lime

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

To make ahead, prepare it according to the recipe instructions. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze, store in an airtight, freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Video

Nutrition

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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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Recipe Review




53 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for a beautiful barbacoa recipe. Made this tonight for my family and the kitchen smells divine. It tastes even better.

  2. 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!!!

    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!

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

  4. 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

  5. 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!

    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!

  6. 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.