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overhead shot of a bunch of tacos on a long cutting board with barbacoa beef, some topped with pico de gallo and some with onion, avocado and jalapeno peppers
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4.44 from 23 votes

Barbacoa

This homemade Barbacoa Beef is fall-apart-tender, flavorful, and made with simple ingredients. Spice up your next taco night and blow your family's mind with this recipe! This recipe comes complete with instructions on how to cook this 3 different ways!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: barbacoa, barbacoa beef
Servings: 10
Calories: 285kcal

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 pound chuck roast cut into 2" cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper or to taste
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • ¼ cup lime juice 3-4 limes
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 ounce lager beer 1/2 bottle, or 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon cumin ground
  • 1 tablespoon oregano dried
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves ground
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 bay leaves

Instructions

Instant Pot Barbacoa

  • Sear the beef: Heat the olive oil in you Instant Pot on the sauté setting. Season the beef cubes generously with salt and pepper. Sear the beef for 1-2 minutes per side, working in batches if needed.
  • Blend: Add the onion, garlic, chipotle, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, lager, cumin, oregano, cloves, and brown sugar to a blender or food processor. Pulse until everything is smooth.
  • Cook: Pour the mixture over the beef, add the bay leaves, and stir to coat the beef. Secure the lid of your Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 60 minutes, then quick release the pressure.
  • Finish: Remove the bay leaves and discard. Take the beef out of the Instant Pot and shred it with 2 forks. Add the beef back to the pot and mix it well with the sauce. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Slow Cooker Barbacoa

  • Sear the beef: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the beef cubes generously with salt and pepper. Sear the beef for 1-2 minutes per side, working in batches if needed.
  • Blend: Add the beef to your slow cooker. Add the onion, garlic, chipotle, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, lager, cumin, oregano, cloves, and brown sugar to a blender or food processor. Pulse until everything is smooth.
  • Cook: Pour the mixture over the beef, add the bay leaves, and stir to coat the beef. Secure the lid of your slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or low for 8-10 hours.
  • Finish: Remove the bay leaves and shred the beef with 2 forks. Taste for seasoning. Mix the beef with the sauce and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Braised Barbacoa

  • Sear the beef: Preheat the oven to 325F. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or oven safe pot over high heat. Season the beef cubes generously with salt and pepper. Sear the beef for 1-2 minutes per side, working in batches if needed. Transfer the beef to a large braiser.
  • Blend: Add the onion, garlic, chipotle, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, lager, cumin, oregano, cloves, and brown sugar to a blender or food processor. Pulse until everything is smooth.
  • Cook: Pour the mixture over the beef, add the bay leaves, and pour in enough beef broth to just cover the beef cubes if not enough spice mixture. Stir to combine everything. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the pot with a lid and transfer the pot to the oven. Braise for 3 - 3 1/2 hours, or until the beef is tender.
  • Finish: Remove the bay leaves and discard. Take the beef cubes out of the pot and shred them with 2 forks. Transfer the braiser to the stovetop over medium-high heat. Let the sauce reduce for 5-10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Add the beef back to the pot and toss well with the sauce.

Video

Notes

  1. Recipe time is for the Instant Pot version.
  2. Don't skip the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, in my opinion they make they dish. They can be quite spicy but use as many or as few as you like, but do use at least one of them.
  3. Cut the chuck roast into even size pieces, this will ensure that they all cook evenly. Also cut against the grain, this will shorten the fibers, making the beef more tender.
  4. Doubling the recipe - if your slow cooker or instant pot are large enough to hold double the ingredients, go for it. Otherwise make it in two batches.
  5. Leftovers: Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat either in the microwave, back in your slow cooker over low, or you can reheat in in a skillet over medium heat.
  6. Freezing: Make sure the beef has full cooled down to room temperature before sealing in an airtight container. It'll last 4-5 months frozen. You can let the beef thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating, or put it straight from the freezer into the microwave or the slow cooker.

Nutrition

Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 446mg | Potassium: 520mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 136IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 4mg