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white bowl of shredded slow cooker beef barbacoa with cilantro

Slow Cooker Barbacoa

This tender slow cooker barbacoa is the perfect recipe for your next dinner. Watch this recipe become your next family favorite.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword beef barbacoa, crockpot barbacoa, slow cooker barbacoa
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 332kcal


  • 3 lbs chuck roast
  • 1.5 cup chopped sweet onion 1 medium onion
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 2 TBSP lime juice 1 lime
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 3 TBSP chopped green chilies
  • 2 chopped chipotles in adobe sauce
  • 2 TBSP adobe sauce from chipotles
  • 2 TSP minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TSP oregano
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 2 whole bay leaves


  • Trim any excess fat off chuck roast and cut meat in 2 inch chunks
  • Add beef to slow cooker, then add onions, beef broth, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, green chilies, chipotles with adobe sauce, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and bay leaves
  • Stir around all ingredients and close lid and turn slow cooker to low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours
  • Open lid and remove beef chunks and put on a cutting board or plate
  • Take 2 forks and shred the beef
  • Use a strainer to scoop out any onions, bay leaves, chipotles, and chilies and add beef back to slow cooker and set on warm for 10 minutes



  • Chuck roast is the preferred piece of beef for this recipe because the chuck roasts connective tissue melts as the chuck braises and self-bastes the beef, making it very tender.
  • Trim off any extra chucks of fat before cutting into about 2 inch chunks
  • It is an option to pan sear the meat about 5 minutes per side. I chose to skip this step, but will try it next time
  • You can substitute the beef broth for a Mexican beer. I think a lime flavored beer would really give this recipe a nice flavor
  • The amount of chipotle peppers is up to you. The amount I used doesn't make this recipe spicy. Add a few more chipotles to kick up the spice
  • If you don't want to shred the beef by hand you can throw the beef into a stand mixer and mix it on low for 30 seconds
  • I do recommend not skipping the step of putting the meat back in the juice after shredding it. This lets those flavors soak up in every piece of the meat. Let it set for at least 10 minutes with the slow cooker on warm
  • I do recommend straining out any of the peppers, chilies, and chipotles before adding the shredded beef back in the slow cooker
  • This is freezer friendly. Freeze in smaller portions in a freezer bag after completely cooled. You can freeze this up to 6 months


Serving: 1g | Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 628mg | Potassium: 634mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 405IU | Vitamin C: 4.2mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 4.4mg