Barbacoa is an authentic Mexican dish typically made with beef, goat or lamb. It is traditionally seasoned with dried chilies and spices and slowly cooked until perfectly tender. From there it’s used as a delicious filling for tacos, burritos and so forth.
Ingredients for Barbacoa Beef
- Chuck roast – this type of roast is best here with it’s fat marbling. It yields super tender results.
- Vegetable oil – this is used for browning the roast.
- Beef broth – chicken broth can be substitute here if that’s what you have.
- Chipotle chilis – these add a tasty spicy kick. Freeze any remaining from the can for a later use.
- Garlic – as always I only recommend fresh garlic.
- Cumin, cloves, oregano, bay leaves – these spices and herbs add a delicious depth of flavor.
- Salt and pepper – season with a fair amount of each so it doesn’t taste flat.
- Fresh lime juice – some barbacoa recipes call for vinegar but I like the fresh lime much better here.
How to Make Barbacoa Beef
- Portion beef: Cut roast into 6 portions while removing any large pieces of fat.
- Brown portions: Heat oil in skillet and sear seasoned beef, half at a time, until browned on all sides.
- Make chili paste: In a food processor, pulse together chipotle chilies, garlic and 1/4 cup beef broth until well pureed.
- Make barbacoa sauce: Whisk together remaining beef broth with chipotle mixture, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and cloves.
- Add beef and mixtures to slow cooker: Pour mixture over beef in slow cooker, add bay leaves.
- Cook in Crockpot low and slow: Cover and cook on low heat 8 – 9 hours.
- Shred beef: Remove beef from slow cooker (leave broth) and shred.
- Mix in lime and rest to soak flavors: Stir lime juice into broth in slow cooker then return beef to slow cooker and cook on low or warm 20 – 30 minutes longer.