My Slow Cooker Mexican Barbacoa recipe is tender shredded beef that is highly seasoned, fork-tender and perfect in street tacos, burritos, nachos, or taco salads. I even love it for breakfast with eggs, beans, and potatoes.
Traditional Barbacoa (where we get the English term Barbeque) is a method of slow cooking tough cuts of beef, cheek or entire cow heads, the tongue, whole goats or sheep in a spicy mixture of lime juice, cumin, garlic, and other seasonings. Although this term and the process was developed in the Caribbean by the Taino Tribe centuries ago, the Mexican Barbacoa is probably the most widely known. Traditionally, the barbacoa was cooked in a pit that was dug into the ground, meats wrapped in leaves or stewed in large clay pots were placed on the hot coals and buried until the meat was fork-tender and falling off the bone.
Today, luckily, we now have slow cookers and Instant pots to mimic how the traditional barbacoa was prepared, and my Slow Cooker Mexican Barbacoa recipe couldn’t be easier. Throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it do its thing for about 6 hours on high (9 hours on low).
Where I’m from in Texas, Barbacoa is mostly used in street tacos, served in corn tortillas, and topped simply with cilantro and onions, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and spicy salsa to finish. I like to use either brisket or chuck roast for my barbacoa. Today I got lucky and found a $50 chuck roast on sale for $12, score! This is a perfect easy recipe for feeding big game-day crowds, I like to have my Tex-Mex Black Beans and rice on the side.
Seriously, I could eat about a dozen of these tacos.
Here is my Slow Cooker Mexican Barbacoa recipe…
- 5 Pounds Chuck Roast or Brisket, 2-inch chunks (trim excess fat)
- 5-6 Chiles in Adobo
- 1 Tablespoon Chopped Garlic
- ¼ Cup Fresh Lime Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 1 Tablespoon Oregano (preferably Mexican)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons Salt (I use 1 teaspoon per pound of beef)
- 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Jalapenos, Halved
- 1 Tablespoon Molasses or Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Water
-Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, stir to combine
-On high, 6-hours. On low 9-hours
-With 1-hour left to cook, skim excess fat from the surface before you stir. Stir
-At the end of cooking, skim excess fat from the surface
-Use 2-forks to shred the Barbacoa
-Heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast corn tortillas on each side for about 10-15 seconds
-Place about ¼ cup of drained Barbacoa on each tortilla
-Top with chopped onions, cilantro, fresh lime wedges, and hot sauce
-Serve plain white rice and my Tex-Mex Black Beans recipe as sides