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Spicy beef Barbacoa, ready to serve
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5 from 5 votes

Beef Barbacoa Recipe

This beef barbacoa recipe is big on flavor and easy to make with seasoned shredded beef cooked low and slow in a slow cooker or crock pot until fork tender. Perfect for tacos! 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: adobo, beef, beef tacos, chipotle, crock pot, shredded beef, slow cooker
Servings: 6
Calories: 504kcal


  • 3 pound beef chuck roast or use beef brisket, sliced into 2 inch chunks
  • 2 guajillo peppers
  • 2 ancho peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 ounce can chipotles in adobo optional, for extra saucy and tangy-smoky flavor
  • 12 ounces beef stock
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from 1 large lime about 1/4 cup
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano or use oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste


  • Remove the stems from the guajillo and ancho peppers and remove the seeds. Place the dried chiles in a large bowl and cover with very hot or boiling water. Soak them for 15 minutes, or until they become very soft and rehydrate. Drain and discard the water. Add them to a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Add the beef chunks to a bowl. Add the ancho-guajillo paste and toss to even coat.
  • Heat the oil in a large cast iron pan to medium-high heat. Sear the beef chunks a few minutes per side to get a nice coating. Transfer to a slow cooker or crock pot.
  • Deglaze the pan with a bit of beef stock, water or wine and scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour it into the crock pot.
  • Add the chipotles in adobo, beef stock, vinegar, lime juice, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Stir.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours, or until the beef is fork tender. It should easily break apart with a fork. It could take a bit longer to cook, depending on your slow cooker.
  • Shred the beef with 2 forks and serve as desired.


Heat Factor: Mild-Medium, though you can easily spice things up with hotter peppers or spicy chili flakes.


Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 720mg | Potassium: 966mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2324IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 7mg