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5 from 4 votes
Beef Barbacoa in a slow cooker
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs
Total Time
8 hrs 20 mins

This Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa is a traditional Mexican dish that never fails to impress. Add everything to your slow cooker and set it and forget it! Beyond easy and flavorful!

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chuck roast, Comfort Food, Slow Cooker
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 414 kcal
Author: MaryAnn Dwyer
  • 3-3 1/2 lb. chuck roast, cut into 6-8 large pieces
  • kosher salt and pepper, for seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 bay leaves
Barbacoa Sauce
  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, 2 if you like things less spicy
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  1. Heat two tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Pat chuck roast pieces dry with a papper towel. Season pieces generously with salt and pepper. Sear pieces on all sides and then place pieces in slow cooker.

  2. Add all the ingredients for the barbacoa sauce to a small food processor or blender. Puree until smooth.

  3. Pour the sauce over the meat in the slow cooker. Add the bay leaves. Cook, covered for 8 hours on low.

  4. Shred the meat with two forks in your slow cooker. Serve the barbacoa with warm tortillas and all your favorite taco fillings and/or with some Mexican rice with beans.

Recipe Notes

For best results, I always make my barbacoa with a chuck roast that has a little bit of fat. The fat will cook down and then give your meat superior flavor and juiciness.

You can shred your meat right in your slow cooker using two forks.

I like to serve my barbacoa with some rice with red beans or as a taco filling with tortillas and all the taco fixings.

I added three chipotle peppers to my sauce which gave it significant heat, add two if you enjoy things less spicy.

Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
Amount Per Serving
Calories 414 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Cholesterol 137mg46%
Sodium 293mg13%
Potassium 804mg23%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 39g78%
Vitamin A 377IU8%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 92mg9%
Iron 7mg39%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.