Go Back
+ servings
Beef barbacoa in a crock pot.

Easy Barbacoa

This easy homemade barbacoa recipe makes fall-apart tender beef that’s perfect for tacos, burritos, and sandwiches.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 to 8 servings
Calories 397kcal
Author Tracy


  • 1 boneless 3-4 pound chuck roast trimmed and cut into fist-size chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion diced
  • 1-6 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 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


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 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 chicken 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 onions, 1 cup of broth and remaining 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.
  • Return shredded meat to the cooking liquid. Add more salt and pepper to taste, serve and enjoy.


Approximate nutritional information is for 8 servings (approximately 1/2 cup meat) and assumes 25% braising liquid consumption.


Calories: 397kcal