Beef Barbacoa

Closeup Beef Barbacoa in white bowl

Is there anyone who doesn’t like Mexican food?

With Mexican restaurants being more abundant that any other international restaurants in any given town, you would guess that everyone likes it.  Well, guess again.  I have one in the household that doesn’t like Mexican food, at least the kind you get at a restaurant.

He will eat tacos and fajitas that I make at home, but they are not something I would consider remotely authentic.  Taco meat made with a packet of seasoning or chicken marinated in a different packet of seasoning are not my idea of Mexican cuisine.  But alas, I will make them just because both are easy and both will get eaten.  Midwest Quesadillas are considered Mexican to this person who shall remain nameless, delicious and addictive, but certainly not Mexican.

Now my idea of a Mexican dish look more like this Beef Barbacoa piled up in a burrito or burrito bowl.

I don’t know if this is authentic or not.  (I don’t know if Chipotle’s is authentic either, but it doesn’t stop me from eating there.)

It doesn’t actually matter to me, I just know that I really like it.  I make a large batch every now and again.  I freeze what I can;t use within a few days.  The first day I use it for burritos and then the next few days I turn it into burrito bowls that I can take to work with me for lunch, or 2 a.m. snack depending on which shift I’m on.

When I make a burrito bowl, I layer my cilantro-lime rice on the bottom, add a layer of black beans, and finish with some meat on the top.  I can microwave the entire thing and add my toppings that I have packed separately into smaller bowls.

My favorite toppings are pico de gallo, corn and roasted pablano salsa, guacamole, and Queso Fresco cheese.  Yes, I know Queso Fresco cheese is not intended for this purpose, but it is my burrito bowl and I will make it with ingredients I like.  I encourage you to do the same.  Put whatever it is you like in your burritos and burrito bowls! Like a famous chef used to say “There are no food police.”



Beef Barbacoa

Tender beef cooked in a spicy chipotle sauce, perfect for Burritos and burrito bowls. Paleo friendly
  • Author: Beth Mueller
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 20 Portions
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • 5 pound chuck roast, cut into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, cut into large dice
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • Juice from 1 large, or 2 small, limes
  • 4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned peppers
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 bay leaves


  1. Place oil in a skillet and heat over medium high heat until hot. Add beef pieces and cook until all sides are browned. Turn often and move beef pieces around pan to ensure even browning.
  2. Remove beef from skillet and place into a crock pot.
  3. Add apple cider vinegar, onion, garlic, black pepper, salt, cumin, cloves, allspice, broth or water, lime juice, chipotle peppers, and adobo sauce in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
  4. Pour sauce over browned beef in a slow cooker or Dutch oven.
  5. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon white sugar over sauce and add bay leaves.
  6. Cook in slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours. If using a Dutch oven cook in a 325 Degree F oven for 3 hours or until meat is tender.
  7. When meat is tender removed from slow cooker or Dutch oven, reserve broth and discard bay leaves. Allow to cool slightly.
  8. When cool, shred beef and put back into slow cooker or Dutch oven. Add enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten the beef.
  9. Continue to cook beef for another hour.


Chipotle peppers can be reduced if you do not like your food super spicy. Start with two, taste the sauce and add more until desired heat is achieved.

Skip the sugar to make this recipe paleo and keto friendly.

Nutritional calculators vary, please consult calculator of choice if information is vital.


  • Serving Size: 4 ounces
  • Calories: 231
  • Sugar: 0.92 g
  • Sodium: 246 mg
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Carbohydrates: 2.38 g
  • Fiber: 0.3 g
  • Protein: 30.67 g
  • Cholesterol: 94 mg

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