This Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe is the Mexican night of your dreams. If you love beef barbacoa, you’ve got to try this! It’s low carb, easy to make, and fall apart delicious!
Chipotle barbacoa meat is one of my favorite things to order. I almost always get it in a rice bowl! Making it at home is SO easy and much more cost effective, so now I turn to my slow cooker for this Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Beef.
If you love this Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Beef Recipe, you should try these Crockpot Carnitas too!
Tender Barbacoa Beef
We all know Chipotle has amazing chicken, fajita veggies and more, but if you’ve tried their barbacoa beef, you know it’s the real deal. It’s mouthwatering delicious.
The beef is so tender and full of flavor.
There was a point in time where I was ordering Chipotle for lunch almost every day. I had this trick where I doubled up on the rice and meat so that I could have leftovers!
With this Barbacoa Recipe, you can make your own Chipotle burrito bowls at home!
What is Barbacoa Chipotle?
Barbacoa is traditional Mexican cooked meat with spices that is SUPER tender and flavorful.
Making authentic barbacoa beef requires three things: the right meat, the proper spices, and time to cook it so that the flavors come together!
What is the right meat? In the US, barbacoa is made from beef. However, in Mexico, it can be made from beef or goat!
Why you’ll love this Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe
- Effortless preparation: let your slow cooker do the work, infusing the barbacoa with rich flavors while you focus on your day.
- Endless ways to serve it: get creative! Use it in tacos, burritos, salads, or as a flavorful protein in various dishes.
- Melt-in-your-mouth tender: cooking the beef in the slow cooker gives it a lusciously juicy, melt-in-your-mouth texture that’s unforgettable.
- Customize Your Bowl: Create your bowl just the way you like it, with your choice of protein, rice, beans, and toppings.
Chipotle Barbacoa Ingredients
Meat: Bring on the meat! I used Beef Chuck Roast. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute with top chuck or chuck shoulder.
Pro-Tip: trim the fat and cut the meat into chunks before cooking!
Peppers and onions: one of the most important ingredients in this recipe is the chipotle peppers in adobo! You will also need green chiles and white onions.
Substitutions: don’t sweat if you can’t find the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. For a quick workaround, you can use a few splashes of tabasco chipotle hot sauce or a combination of chipotle powder and paprika.
Pro-Tip: I would still add in a diced chipotle pepper if you can find one!
Spices: Time of open up that pantry or spin that spice rack, we are going to need: cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, ground cloves, bay leaves, and garlic cloves.
Substitutions: ground cloves bring a lot of amazing flavors to the beef, so you are definitely going to want to use them. If you don’t have any ground cloves, you can sub with allspice or nutmeg.
Wet ingredients: white wine vinegar, chicken broth (or beef bone broth), and lime juice.
Pro-Tip: don’t have any white wine vinegar handy? You can sub with lemon juice or rice vinegar.
How to make Beef Barbacoa
1. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat and add a splash of olive oil.
2. Sear the beef for 3-4 minutes on each side.
3. Place the beef in the slow cooker with the chipotle peppers, diced green chiles, diced onion, white wine vinegar, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, ground cloves, dried oregano, chicken broth, bay leaves, and smashed garlic cloves. Cook on low for 7-8 hours until the beef falls apart.
4. To serve, transfer the beef to a serving bowl and shred the beef with two forks.
Tips for making the best Chipotle Barbacoa
- Choose the right cut: opt for beef cuts like chuck roast or boneless beef short rib. They’re well-marbled and perfect for slow cooking, resulting in tender, flavorful barbacoa.
- Shred and simmer: for the most flavor, after cooking, return the shredded beef to the slow cooker and let it simmer in its juices for about 30 minutes. This ensures the meat is fully infused with the maximum amount of flavor.
- Low and slow: while it might be tempting to turn your slow cooker up to high heat to cut the time in half, you will get the best flavor and texture if you cook it low and slow. This allows the meat to tenderize and absorb all the seasonings.
How to serve Barbacoa Beef
One thing I love about making Barbacoa Beef is that is can be served in a variety of ways! Here are some of my favorite ways to use the beef:
This Barbacoa Beef goes great with some Homemade Mango Salsa too!
Beef Barbacoa Recipe storage
Your homemade barbacoa beef will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can reheat it in the microwave or in the oven at 350F.
I like to reserve some of the liquid from the slow cooker for reheating purposes.
Pro-Tip: The beef is freezer-friendly. Store in an airtight freezer bag or container and pull it out when you need it!
Tips for reheating Beef Barbacoa
You can reheat your beef barbacoa in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat. I like to save some of the juices from the slow cooker to add when reheating so the meat doesn’t dry out.
Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe FAQs
Fun fact! The word “barbacoa” is where the word “barbecue” derives from. Barbacoa is the term for slow cooking shredded or chopped meats over an open fire or fire pit.
Barbacoa beef tastes very tender and melt in your mouth delicious., slow cooked shredded beef cooked in an adobo sauce with loads of flavorful Mexican spices. In other words, it tastes delicious!
The secret to cooking the best barbacoa is cooking it low and slow.
When you slow cook the beef it allows the flavors to come together in a truly mouth-watering and authentic way making it the best beef you will ever make.
Barbacoa is beef, goat, or lamb cooked low and slow until the meat is tender and then shredded. However, carnitas, are only made of pork. Although also cooked slow and low, before serving you brown the meat in a skillet to give it that crispy texture.
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that all of the ingredients are already keto, low carb, paleo, and Whole30. However, watch/check the sugars in your chipotle chiles in adobo if you are aiming for a Whole30 recipe.
– Barbacoa involves the slow-braising of beef over several hours to get perfectly tender meat. At Chipotle, their method starts with sous-vide cooking before the braising process.
– On the other hand, Carnitas features slow cooked pork, and it’s then brought to a delightful crispiness through roasting or pan-frying.
More Beef Recipes To Try
- Air Fryer Flank Steak Tacos
- Tex-Mex Flank Steak Salad With Avocado Lime Dressing
- Jalapeño Lime Air Fryer Steak
More Dinner Recipes You Might Like
- Hawaiian Shrimp Taco Bowl
- Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass
- Blackened Shrimp Recipe
- Creamy Balsamic Mushroom Risotto
- Chicken Meatballs
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Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Beef
- 4 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 6-8 chunks & fat trimmed
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 chipotle peppers, from a can of chipotles in adobo
- 4 ounces diced green chiles
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 limes, juice
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 3/4 cup chicken broth, beef broth works too!
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
- olive oil, for cooking
- Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat with a splash of olive oil and sear the beef for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Place the beef in the slow cooker with the chipotle peppers, diced green chiles, diced onion, white wine vinegar, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, ground cloves, dried oregano, chicken broth, bay leaves, and smashed garlic cloves. Cook on low for 7-8 hours until the beef falls apart.
- When ready, transfer the beef to a serving bowl and shred the beef with two forks.
- This is the slow cooker I have!