Simple and delicious barbacoa tacos loaded with tangy, fall-apart tender barbacoa beef, chopped cilantro, and onions.
A few weeks ago, I shared my favorite barbacoa recipe with you, and today, I’m sharing one of my favorite ways to eat barbacoa, in tacos!
Barbacoa tacos are the perfect way to use barbacoa beef because they really let all the fabulous flavor of the meat shine through. You don’t need to add tons of sour cream or cheese or salsa (though you can if you want to).
These tacos are really about a few simple ingredients whose flavor and texture complement the incredibly good barbacoa and let it be the star of the show.
- Barbacoa: This barbacoa recipe can be made on the stovetop or in the slow cooker (there are instructions for both in the recipe card below). It’s made with cut up chuck roast, so it comes out incredibly tender and rich.
- Tortillas: Use your favorite taco-size flour or corn tortillas.
- Cilantro and onion: Cilantro and finely diced onion add the perfect boost of flavor to these tacos. I prefer white onions here, but yellow will work if that’s what you’ve got.
- Radishes: If you don’t care for radishes, you can skip them, but they add a terrific crunch to the tacos that you might just love.
- Lime juice: A squeeze on lime juice adds the perfect tangy finishing touch before serving.
More Barbacoa Tacos Toppings
As I said, these tacos don’t *need* additional toppings, but if you want to add them, go for it. You might enjoy:
- Fajita veggies
- Sour cream
- Chipotle yogurt sauce
How to Make Barbacoa Tacos
- To make the barbacoa for the tacos, start by browning your cut up chuck roast and then add the rest of the barbacoa ingredients to the pot or slow cooker. Simmer the meat until tender and then remove from the cooking liquid and shred.
- Heat the tortillas either wrapped in a slightly damp towel in the microwave or carefully on the stove.
- Fill each taco with barbacoa, a sprinkle of onions and cilantro, a few radish slices, and a squeeze of lime juice, and enjoy!
Can you freeze barbacoa tacos?
I don’t recommend freezing assembled tacos, but barbacoa beef freezes extremely well.
To freeze: Freeze shredded barbacoa in some of its juices in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.
To reheat: Defrost meat in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave. For larger servings, you can also reheat the beef gently on the stove as long as there is enough liquid saved with it.
What to serve with barbacoa tacos?
I love to serve these tacos with a side of cilantro lime rice and a simple veggie side like roasted green beans or zucchini.
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Easy Barbacoa Tacos
- 1 boneless 3-4 pound chuck roast trimmed and cut into fist-size chunks
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1-6 cups beef or chicken broth
- 1 medium white or yellow onion diced
- 1/4 cup lime juice bottled is fine
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce minced, optional
- 4 cloves garlic pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves optional
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 bay leaves
- 10 taco-size tortillas flour or corn are fine
- 1/2 white onion finely diced
- 2 radishes sliced, optional for topping
- 1/2 bunch cilantro chopped, optional for topping
- 3 limes quartered, optional for topping
Prepare the Meat
- Generously salt and pepper meat on all sides.
- In a large dutch oven with a lid (or skillet if you’ll be using a slow cooker), heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown meat on all sides, in batches if necessary. This may take up to 15 minutes.
On the Stovetop
- Add onion and just enough chicken or beef broth to mostly submerge the meat. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck-on bits. Stir in remaining barbacoa ingredients and bring mixture to a low simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until meat is very tender and can be pulled apart with a fork.
In the Slow Cooker
- Transfer meat and any drippings remaining in the pan to the slow cooker. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add a splash of broth or water to deglaze the pan. Scrape off any cooked-on bits in the pan and then pour the liquid over the meat in the slow cooker.
- To the slow cooker, add 1 cup of broth and remaining barbacoa ingredients. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, low for 7 to 8 hours, until the beef is tender and can be easily shredded with a fork.
- Once meat is done, use a slotted spoon to transfer the pieces to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred the meat, discarding any large pieces of fat as you go.
Assemble the Tacos
- Gently warm tortillas by wrapping them in a slightly damp towel and microwaving them until heated through, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Top the tortillas with barbacoa, onions, radish slices, and cilantro. If desired, add a squeeze of lime juice, and enjoy!
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