Slow cooked barbacoa beef that is just exploding with flavor! It’s simple to make, requires no babysitting, and the meat is just fall-apart tender and delicious. Use this shredded beef on tacos, burritos, salads or anything else you please!
Is this too up in your personal space? Like so close you kind of want to jump through the screen and take a virtual bite?
Shredded beef in the slow cooker is such a total sweat-proof kind of recipe. You know, the kind of recipe that requires very little work but gives you big, and I mean BIG results. Ohhkay, yeah, that sounded so much better in my head. And now, i’m thinking why did I say the word ‘sweat’ in the same sentence as the words ‘easy slow cooker recipe’. Sometimes I get too caught up in the recipe to think that hey, you may or may not find it appetizing after the way I just described it.
But yes, we’re making easy, breezy barbacoa beef in the slow cooker, loaded with a chipotle sauce that will sit, simma, and hug the beef until it’s all just fall-apart delicious.
I swoon over food like this.
I have got to ask you. When you go to Chipotle, are you the kind of person that asks for every topping or just a few? Do you venture out and try different meats every time or is it the same cookie-cutter meal for you? The most i’ve ventured is going from a veggie burrito to a veggie burrito bol (bowl). Only now, i’ve gotten wiser and I ask for less rice and extra black beans. Because, you already know about my OBSESSION with them.
Btw.. did you know that guac is free on veggie meals? SAY WHAT? I had been ordering it all this time thinking I was paying for it. If only i’d stopped and checked the receipt. It totally reminds me of this meme:
 Barbacoa is actually the word used to describe meat that’s been slow-cooked over an open fire or what’s more traditional, is in a hole dug in the ground covered with maguey leaves. And although that sounds great and all, I live in an apartment complex on the third floor. I don’t think they’d like it very much if I was to say, start a huge open fire in my apartment. No, no. I don’t think the neighbors would be too happy about that one. Maybe if I offered them some shredded beef burrito bowls? No? You don’t think so?
Luckily for us, barbacoa can be made in the slow cooker and no fire pits, matches, or charcoal lighter fluid needed. Some people insist on searing the meat before adding it to the slow cooker. This will definitely give you crisper edges and will still result in tender, fall-apart shredded beef. But it’s an extra step that not everyone will want to take, so do it or don’t, totally up to you.
I’m adding in chunks of onions because I like to have a little variety in texture with my beef. You can add the onions into the blender with the rest of the ingredients if you don’t want to see those floating around in your barbacoa.
For the chipotle mixture, we’re blending together the apple cider vinegar, garlic cloves, chipotle peppers, lime juice, beef broth, cumin, mexican oregano, salt, pepper, ground cloves, a hint of tomato paste, and a little oil. Blend it all up until it’s smooth and into the crockpot it goes. This step ensures the chipotle peppers along with the spices are all nice and blended for even flavor throughout. Some people like to skip this step and just add everything into the slow cooker all at once. It’s totally your call.
As much as you love ordering that barbacoa burrito bol and Chipotle, you’re going to love this so much more. It’s so much more flavorful, tender, and perfect on just about anything you can imagine. You can serve it up on a bed of greens, or quinoa for a much healthier alternative. Also, all you need to do is blend a few ingredients and toss everything into the slow cooker, and let it do it’s work for you. Oh, did I mention it’s so much more wallet friendly to make homemade barbacoa? It’s a fraction of the cost to make this at home than to order out for a large family. And you’ll have left over for days! I’ve had this on tacos, burrito bowls, and will probably sneak it into something else really soon. It’s just so gosh darn good.
This recipe makes well seasoned barbacoa. We’re talking the real deal, Mexican foodtruck style street food. I love serving shredded beef in tacos kinda simple. With just a hint of chopped red onions, cilantro, and a twist of lime. For a little variety a little angel-hair shredded cabbage adds so much crunch! But on a burrito bowl this barbacoa beef gets all the fixings. A little sauteed corn, some sauteed peppers and onions, chopped avocados, along with *blackbeans*. And if I want to be kinda bad, i’ll add some cheese and a little sour cream. It’s pure heaven I tell you.
Also, this shredded meat freezes well. Which is perfect for us because there’s only 2 of us and 2 1/2 – 3 pounds of barbacoa to get through. Did I mention it’s great on nachos? So so good.
The ways to use the Mexican shredded beef in this recipe are endless! How are you going to serve this up?
- 2 ½ - 3 pounds chuck roast with fat trimmed cut into 2 inch pieces (or a bottom round roast)
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2-4 chipotle peppers (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime)
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 4 teaspoon cumin
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Mexican oregano (regular is fine too)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- In a blender, blend together the apple cider vinegar, garlic, chipotle peppers, lime juice, beef broth, cumin, oregano, cloves, tomato paste, oil, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.
- In the slow cooker, add the beef, bay leaves, and sliced onions. Add the sauce from step one. Toss to combine. Cover and cook on the low setting for 6-8 hours or on the high setting for 3-4 hours or until the beef is tender and is falling apart easily when shredded with two forks.
- Discard the bay leaves. Use two forks to shred the beef into pieces. Toss the beef in the juices, cover and allow the barbacoa beef to sit and soak up the juice for another 10-15 minutes. Serve over tacos, burritos, nachos, burrito rice bowls, or however you please.
- Leftover beef should be refrigerated in an sealed container with the juices for up to 4 days. This recipe can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Blending the ingredients together in the blender is optional but I believe it provides more impactful flavor if you do blend it.
- The meat can be seared with a few tablespoons of oil in batches in a dutch oven prior to placing it in the slow cooker, but again that's optional.