For my Barbacoa Beef I start with chunks of beef chuck that get seared and browned on all sides then simmered in beef broth, chipotle, adobo, vinegar, citrus juice and spices for fall apart delicious shredded beef that’s perfect in tacos and burritos.
The slow cooker is perfect for when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen, especially with this recent heat wave we’ve been having. Another kitchen tool I like to use is my Instant Pot, which is basically an electric pressure cooker. It’s quick and makes this Tex Mex Barbacoa Beef dinner ready in no time!
WHAT TYPE OF BEEF IS BARBACOA?
Barbacoa beef is authentically made using beef cheeks although some may find that hard to find. For this recipe I made it 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 even salad bowls.
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 Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef recipe for a while now trying to nail it and I believe this to be it! Authentic flavors and I give you two ways to prepare it. In the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker.
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 edges crispy 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 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.
Tex Mex Barbacoa Beef
- 4 lbs chuck roast
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp 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
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.
- The herb that makes this is Mexican oregano, but regular oregano works just as well.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.