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Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa - So easy and so flavorful! Cooked low + slow in the crockpot. Perfect for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more!

So easy and so flavorful! Cooked low + slow in the crockpot. Perfect for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more!

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa - So easy and so flavorful! Cooked low + slow in the crockpot. Perfect for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more!

Traditionally made in an underground oven (just saw this on 911 Lone Star), barbacoa meat (usually beef, sheep or goat) is a classic Mexican dish left to cook undisturbed overnight until the meat is very tender.

I have tried many variations throughout the years but I found that this slow cooker version is my absolute favorite. Cooked low and slow for 8-9 hours, the meat comes out incredibly melt-in-your-mouth tender, falling apart and shredding so easily.

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa - So easy and so flavorful! Cooked low + slow in the crockpot. Perfect for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more!

Now how is this served? Well, the possibilities are truly endless. You can serve them with burritos + burrito bowls, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, and even salads.

I personally like to serve them with a base of cilantro rice and chips for dipping purposes. But that’s just me. The world is your oyster and this can be served however you would like. I had a friend serve this in a Ziploc sandwich bag and it was the best “meat bag” I had ever laid eyes on.

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa - So easy and so flavorful! Cooked low + slow in the crockpot. Perfect for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more!

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa

So easy and so flavorful! Cooked low + slow in the crockpot. Perfect for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more!

15 minutes8 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 (4-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, excess fat trimmed and cut into 6 pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup beer, such as Modelo

Directions:

  1. CILANTRO MIXTURE: Combine cilantro, vinegar, lime juice, chipotle peppers, garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder and cloves in the bowl of a food processor until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.
  2. Season beef with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
  3. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches, add beef and cook until evenly browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  4. Place beef into a 6-qt slow cooker; stir in beer and CILANTRO MIXTURE.
  5. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 hours, or until meat is fork-tender.
  6. Remove beef from the slow cooker and shred the meat using two forks before returning to the pot with the juices; season with salt and pepper, to taste, if needed. Cover and keep warm for an additional 30 minutes.
  7. Serve warm.

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18 comments

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Made it just like instructed but with a 2.5 lb chuck roast. It was amazing. I can’t believe I can make something this good. Thank you so much for the recipe. I was hungry all day while it cooked it smelled so delicious.

  2. Is there a substitute for the beer?

  3. Is there anything I can substitute for the cilantro that tastes like soap to me? I cannot use parsley as it contains too much K vitamin and I am restricted on the daily amount of it daily. I would really like to try this recipe.

    • SURYA-PATRICIA LANE HOOD- I also can’t stand cilantro, but I used it and didn’t taste the soap (Dawn Detergent) taste AT ALL! I ONLY used the leaves, no stems and it made a HUGE difference. I pushed the ends of the stems into my colander and pulled them out of the other side to strip the leaves off. I could smell the “soapy” smell on the stems, but not the leaves. I recommend using gloves to de-stem the leaves-the smell stayed on my hands even after I washed them a few times. This recipe was so easy and tasted SO DELICIOUS! Hope this helps!

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Made this for a few friends over the weekend. Love a good crock-pot recipe! Everyone enjoyed it very much and went back for seconds. I did prepare the sauce and meat the night before and stored them together in a tied up slow-cooker bag, then the next morning all I had to do was untie it and throw it into the crock-pot. Mine ended up cooking for around 10 hours because we were waiting on a friend but it was PERFECT. Will definitely make this again.

  5. Made this today with a few adjustments because of poor planning. Used a brisket as that’s what i had in my freezer. Added four peppers cause i love spicy. And used a different beer i had on hand. 

    Also used my instapot. I am POSITIVE the low and slow would have made this dish that much better but alas i didn’t plan well. So i sautéed my meat in the instapot, removed and deglazed with the beer (used the whole bottle as i wasn’t sure how much meat i had compared to the menu), added the meat back in and the sauce on top. I set the pot for low pressure, for 3 hours. Shredded the meat and left on “warm” for the time between the natural release and the time we ate. 

    Let’s just say: no one complained – on their first or second helping! 

    Additionally for anyone “counting calories” or looking at labels. I used an app plugging in the ingredients: 
    8 servings
    315 cal per serving 
    4.1 g carbs (.5G sugar) 
    10.3 g fat
    48.6 G protein 
    150 mg cholesterol 
    352.9 mg sodium
    Calcium 6.9%
    Iron 35.3%
    Potassium 37.6mg 

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Chungah you have not failed me yet! This is yet another fantastic recipe on this site. I followed this exactly – used Yuengling beer. My roast was just under 3 lbs. and after about six hours it was very tender and easy to shred. I served this on corn tortillas for my son and over rice for my husband. I had on cauliflower rice (as I’m on an eternal diet LOL). We all loved the complex flavors and tenderness of the meat. This is a keeper and will be added into weeknight rotation. Thanks for another big hit!

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    Made it yesterday for dinner last night.  I may never make a chuck roast any differently ever again.  I’m not sure what’s up with the 6 quart cooker recommendation.  My largest is a 5 quart and it worked perfectly.  The chilis in adobo I used was a 4 oz can that had three chilis and some delish sauce.  As per the recipe I used only the 2 chilis–next time I’ll use the whole can chilis&sauce combo to up the adobo-smokiness but it won’t overpower the recipe, which was superb as is.  The house smelled divine all day as the simmer continued.  Shredding the chuck roast and discarding the fat and grizzle made for amazing tacos, carnitas and burritos. Ground cloves just the right amount–no hint of excessive clove-ness.  I used a full cup of cilantro (lightly packed mostly leaves, before chopping) and after 9 hours simmering the resultant sauce was very “un-cilantro-y”–just a sauce of love!!  I’ll make this again and again!  Thank you for another great bake!!

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    This was AMAZING!!! I didn’t add the cloves since I don’t like the taste of them. But it turned out so damn good! I used it for burritos with rice, black beans, guacamole, and panella cheese. Will definitely make this again!

  9. Do you have a cook time in Instant Pot? Looks fantastic.

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    Do you have recommendations for making this recipe in an instant pot?

  11. Is it possible to make this without a slow cooker? If so, how do you recommend?

  12. What can I use as a substitute for the beer

    • Rated 5 out of 5

      This is great!! I did add a extra pepper as I do like hot! For the concern about cilantro, I didn’t really taste it. If you can’t use beer because of alcohol use a N/A , beef stock or half water and apple juice. I made a large batch and froze some for later! It Is So Good!!!

  13. Is there anything you can substitute for the cilantro? I have that defective “cilantro tastes like soap to me” gene and just can’t eat it!

  14. This sounds fabulous! Thinking this would be a PERFECT way to use the stew meat in my freezer, since we are not really in stew season here in CA anymore. Do you think it would be an alright substitute for the chuck roast?

  15. I was just about to make your slow cooker carnitas for the twentieth time and got this in my email! I’ll make this this weekend instead. Since I’m commenting: Can I add more adobo chilies to make it spicier? Can I make the sauce the night before or should I do it morning of? Thanks and I love all of your recipes!