For these Barbacoa Beef Bowls I use chunks of beef chuck that were simmered in chipotle, adobo, vinegar, citrus juice and spices with black beans, corn and pickled onions served on top of salad greens. To go the authentic route, typically beef cheeks would be used, although not always found in most markets beef chuck works as a good substitute.
The slow cooker is perfect for when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen, especially with this recent heat wave and Summer officially being here. Another kitchen tool I like to use is my pressure cooker. It’s quick and makes these Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Bowls come together in no time!
Many of the recipes you see on here are made through trial and error and not put up until I feel they’re worthy. I have been playing around with a Barbacoa Beef recipe for a while now trying to nail it and I believe this to be it!
What type of Beef is Barbacoa?
Barbacoa beef is made using beef chuck roast.
What’s in Barbacoa Beef?
Barbacoa is probably best known here in the States from the food chain Chipotle, not too sure if they are elsewhere out there like Europe and Australia. If you’ve tried it, or are interested, this slow cooked beef is simmered in chipotle, vinegar, citrus juice and spices for a fall apart delicious shredded beef. It can be used in tacos, burritos and tostadas. I felt like a salad so that’s what did the other evening.
The cooking technique is the same, just how you serve it up can vary.
I have finalized my ingredients and am super happy with the outcome. Dave had a gang of friends over the other evening for dinner when I had an appointment. The 4 pounds of Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef I left him were about all gone when I returned home. There were 5 people. See where I’m going?
This is perfect for the slow cooker, or in a time crunch, the highly under used pressure cooker. I use my trusty Instant Pot. After getting the seasoning and ingredients right where I like them, I made the same recipe in both the slow cooker and pressure cooker to see the differences and have included directions for both of them for you. I like the crispy edges so I usually pan sear on all sides prior to putting the beef in the slow cooker or pressure cooker. It’s up to you, but I’ve also skipped this step before and it is still on point.
What’s in a Barbacoa Beef Bowl?
These Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Bowls are easy to put together and you can use any of your favorite salads fixings. I kept the flavor Mexican and added black beans, corn and pickled red onions and cilantro. The Barbacoa beef is so tasty, full of flavor and tender. Served with chopped salad greens and healthy toppings this is a great lunch or dinner. Plus you won’t be heating up that kitchen with the oven. I don’t dress the bowl (salad greens), but feel free to whisk a little lime juice, oil and S & P to wet the greens if you like!
What Can I Do with Barbacoa Beef?
This is also great for make ahead dinners and lunches. Already cooked, just keep it in the refrigerator to fill tacos, enchiladas, burritos and in quesadillas. Trust me, I’ve done it with all. Flatbreads are great too, or scrambled up with eggs for this Sunday brunch Barbacoa Breakfast Burritos.
Barbacoa Beef Bowls
- 4 lbs chuck roast
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 cup beef broth
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 limes juiced
- 6 garlic cloves
- 4 chipotle chiles adobo sauce
- 4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp Mexican oregano (See Note 1)
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 4 bay leaves
For the Bowls:
- Barbacoa Beef
- lettuce greens
- black beans cooked and room temperature or chilled
- pickled red onions (See Note 2)
- Cilantro chopped
- Slow Cooker Method - Barbacoa Beef:
- Cut the beef into about 4-6 chunks and season with salt and pepper. Sear on all sides in a hot pan with oil (optional) and add to slow cooker.
- In a blender add all other ingredients except bay leaves and puree. Pour sauce over beef, add the bay leaves and slow cook for 6 hours.
- Remove lid and shred beef with forks. Serve as is or allow to cool and keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
- Pressure Cooker Method - Barbacoa Beef:
- Cut the beef into about 4-6 chunks and season with salt and pepper. Sear on all sides in a hot pan with oil (optional, See Note 3) and add to pressure cooker that has been sprayed with cooking spray to not stick.
- In a blender add all other ingredients except bay leaves and then puree. Pour sauce over beef, add the bay leaves and close lid. Cook for 35 minutes on low after pressure cooker value starts ticking, keeping steady pressure. (See Note 4)
- Remove lid per manufacturer's instructions and shred beef with forks. Serve as is, or allow to cool and keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
- For Barbacoa Beef Bowls:
- Chop lettuce greens and line a salad bowl.
- Add shredded Barbacoa beef, corn, beans and top with pickled red onions and chopped cilantro.
2. For pickled red onions: Slice 1/2 red onion thinly and cover with rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar for at least 1 hour.
3. Searing the beef on all sides first allows for a level of flavoring with caramelization. This is optional, I like the crunchy texture on the edges.
4. I use a Instant Pot that is basically a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and more all in one machine. It's awesome! Please read your pressure cooker instructions for exact cooking time as time may vary.
If you're converting meat from a slow cooker to an Instant Pot, follow this rule: if the meat dish cooks in eight hours on low or four hours on high in the slow cooker, it will cook in 25-30 minutes in the Instant Pot. Make sure the Instant Pot setting reads "sealing" and not "venting" to ensure it's cooked properly.