Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef
Tender, flavorful, slow-cooked beef with onions, jalapenos, and spices make this the perfect barbacoa beef for burritos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, on a salad, or just on its own with a few side dishes.
This is our go-to Mexican Barbacoa Beef recipe. Since I have two boys who are trying to get more protein in their diet, I like to make this ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator so they can quickly whip up a barbacoa and cheese quesadilla, a burrito, or a few tacos. This only lasts a few days in our home because they eat it up so fast!
If you have teenagers in your home right now or ever have, you know how much food they can eat! They are always saying, "Mom, there is nothing to eat." How in the world with a pantry full of food and a stocked refrigerator (it is my job to basically have a grocery store in our home), can they still not find something to eat? So this is my solution. Since they are always looking for protein, making this ahead of time and having it ready to go is a game-changer in our home.
If you have been following me on Modern Honey, you know how much I love my slow cooker crockpot. It is my go-to kitchen appliance for dinner recipes. The amazing thing about this barbacoa beef recipe is that it takes about 5-10 minutes start to finish in preparation. It doesn't get any easier than this! It is a "throw everything in a crockpot and forget about it" kind of meal.
What ingredients are in Barbacoa Beef?
This Barbacoa Beef recipe calls for a beef roast (chuck, rump, sirloin, et.), onion, chipotle or jalapeno chilies, chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and some beef broth to slowly braise the beef roast in to keep it super juicy.
I have used this recipe for years and I do change it up depending on what I have on hand. There are times that I use smoky chipotle chilies in adobe sauce (from a can) and other times I use fresh jalapenos. My husband doesn't love the flavor of chipotle chilies as much as jalapenos so I will switch it up sometimes. You can also add some red, orange, or yellow peppers for a machaca beef flavor.
This Machaca Beef recipe can be cooked in the crockpot on high for about 5 hours or on low for about 8 hours. I cooked it on Sunday to meal prep for the week and cooked it on high for about 5 ½ hours and it came out so tender and was so easy to shred.
We like to put this barbacoa beef in burritos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, tostadas, on top of salads, or served on its own with a few vegetable side dishes.
How to make the Best Barbacoa Beef:
- Start by picking out your favorite type of beef roast. I look for a roast with minimal fat (but enough to make it juicy). If you want to create a sear on the beef roast before placing it in the crockpot, I suggest heating a skillet over high heat. Add a little bit of oil (do this before it gets too hot). Place the roast in the skillet and sear it for about 2 minutes per side. Be careful of hot oil as it can splatter!
- Place the roast in the crockpot and set it on low or high, depending on how much time you have. I suggest a low heat. Add onions, chipotle chilies or jalapeno peppers, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour over a can of beef broth. This helps to braise the beef.
- After it is tender and done cooking, use two forks to shred the meat. If it is done cooking, it should shred easily. If it doesn't shred easily, cook a little longer on a low setting. I like to take as much of the fat as possible off of the roast.
- Test for seasoning and add more salt or chili powder if needed. To keep the beef moist, keep adding the cooking liquid to it. Store in the refrigerator.
You can find my recipe for Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos with a fresh Tomatillo Salsa by clicking HERE.
Nice recipe, but true barbacoa is NOT chuck roast. It comes from the cheek of the cow.
I put this together in my crockpot in the morning and turned out just as delicious as it looks.....I will use it this week for several other meals. My kind of easy dinner and it is so flavorful!
I made this into tacos and it turned out SO GOOD! Has so much flavor so I barely needed any toppings!
Absolutely love this! I serve it over garlic smashed potatoes or as a taco/burrito dish. Scrumptious!
This was a BIG hit! I just started back to work, so we've had to resort to the slow cooker to help with our meals. Used this recipe and it was fantastic for tacos. I'm thinking of the leftovers to make nachos with some Coronas this weekend! The spices are all up to you. Make it as hot or mild as you like it. You'll be happy!
So good! I seared it in my Instant Pot this morning at 3 a.m. and then put everything in the pot on slow cooker for 8 hours and went back to bed. Made your stacked beef enchilada recipe for lunch, only I made a small batch in a loaf pan, then served with all the usual suspects. Thanks so much for the wonderful recipes Melissa. Your website is absolutely awesome!!
My kids loved it and it took 5 min to make. I put together at 9 am and it made my life so easy to have dinner ready when we came home after sports in the evening.
Donna A Pollock
I got your email this morning before going out on chores duty. I have a lot of errands to run today. Any way I put my roast in the crock pot followed your recipe to the letter left and went running all over town today and I came home, and it done cooking I have put it all together and I going to serve it with warm flour tortilla, green salsa, some refried beans, shredded lettuce, diced up tomatoes, diced up onions, sliced peppers cheese, olives, cilantro and lime wedges. I just waiting for my son to get here so we can eat. He is going to love this, Mexican food is his favorite.
You are so wonderful, Donna! You are always taking care of everyone. I love it! This all sounds so heavenly. I hope you love it. -- Melissa 🙂