Go Back
+ servings
beef barbacoa recipe.
5 from 11 votes

Slow-Cooker Barbacoa

Have a craving for Chipotle Barbacoa? Try making this juicy Mexican pulled beef at home today. The beef chuck is cooked slowly in a slow cooker. It's made of simple ingredients and easy to put together.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican, Tex-Mex
Servings 8
Calories 355 kcal


  • 3 pounds beef chuck, (pat the beef chuck dry with paper towels. Trim some but not all of the fat)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and black pepper , (to taste)
  • 1 small onion, (sliced)
  • 6 garlic cloves, (peeled and smashed)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 3 pieces of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, (small size)
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 3 bay leaves


  • Cut the meat into 6 portions and season all sides with salt and black pepper.
  • In a large Dutch oven or skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat until simmering. Cook 3 pieces of beef chuck until well-browned on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer the meat to a slow cooker. Repeat process with remaining 3 pieces.
  • Add onion and garlic into the pot. Stir frequently for 5-6 minutes over medium heat. Add cumin, cloves, oregano, chipotle peppers, and stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, except bay leaves. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half over medium-high heat. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree it.
  • Pour the sauce over the meat then stir in bay leaves. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or 3-4 hours on high.
  • Remove the meat from the slow cooker then shred. Put the shredded meat back into a slow cooker. Toss the meat with juices and let it soak for at least 10 minutes on warm before serving. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper if needed.


Cooking alternative: If you're running out of time, use only ½ cup of beef broth and throw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low. 
Meat alternatives: You can use brisket, oxtails, short ribs, or beef cheek.
Storing and reheating: Divide the leftover into small portions then place the leftover in small airtight containers. Properly stored, it can last up to 3 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer. 
To reheat, transfer the leftover barbacoa to a pot, a small amount of broth, or water. Cook on medium-low heat until the internal temperature reaches 165°F before consuming.


Calories: 355kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 33gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 257mgPotassium: 645mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 68IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 4mg
Keyword barbacoa, slow cooker barbacoa
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!