Beef Barbacoa ( Mexican Pulled Beef) – Slow Cooker Recipe
This super tender slow cooker Beef Barbacoa is absolutely delicious wrapped in warm corn tortillas and topped with a perfectly balanced salsa made with corn and tomatoes. You can make it ahead and freeze it with just 10 minutes of prep.
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This time of year can be so busy for all of us. So I was psyched to see Lauren Keating’s new Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. Meal prep + Slow Cooker = less time in the kitchen for us!
These Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa Tacos were a hit with my entire family. Considering all it took was 10 minutes of prep to serve these fall-apart tender tacos they will definitely be on a regular rotation in my house.
The corn salsa is the perfect topping. It’s simple, fresh, sweet and features two of my favorite summer veggies… corn and tomatoes. The combination of the beef, wrapped in the warm corn tortillas and topped with the corn salsa is heavenly!
Many of you are probably familiar with barbacoa because of the popular fast-food chain Chipotle, but do you really know what it is?
What Is Barbacoa
- It is a way of cooking meat that originated in the Caribbean and made its way to Mexico
- Meat like beef, lamb and goat is traditionally slow cooked over an open fire or steam cooked in a hole dug into the ground
- The term barbecue is actually derived from the word barbacoa
This recipe features more of the steam-cooked variation of the traditional dish and employs your good ‘ole slow cooker to do most of the work (so no need to go dig a hole in your backyard). We also tested it in the Instapot. We cooked it for 90 minutes and did a quick release and it was perfect! It’s made with beef chuck roast, which is a less expensive cut of beef that benefits from long slow cooking.
Ingredients For The Barbacoa Tacos
- Low sodium beef broth
- Garlic cloves, minced
- Red onion, diced
- Cumin, dried oregano
- Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
- Beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- Bay leaves if desired
- Corn Tortillas
Ingredients For The Salsa
- Red onion
How to Make Beef Barbacoa Tacos with Corn Salsa in the Slow Cooker
- Stir together beef broth, garlic, red onion, lime juice, cumin, oregano and chipotles in a slower cooker.
- Add beef and salt.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
- Shred the beef in the slow cooker and stir into the sauce.
To Make The Salsa and Serve
- 5. To make the salsa, stir together red onion, lime juice, corn, tomatoes and salt.
- 6. Serve the beef in warm corn tortillas and top with the corn salsa and sour cream if you like too.
The best beef for barbacoa: Chuck Roast
- Chuck roast is a cut of meat that comes from the shoulder of the animal
- It can also be labeled shoulder steak, boneless chuck roast, or chuck shoulder pot roast
- Its a heavily exercised muscle and is not tender
- It is an economical cut of beef
- It is best braised or slow cooked until it is falling apart (slow cooking it breaks down all of the connective tissue and muscle)
Make Ahead Tips for Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
- Combine the beef broth, garlic, red onion, lime juice, cumin, oregano, minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, beef and salt in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
- If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before adding to the crockpot.
- The salsa ingredients can also be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen. If frozen, the tomatoes will break down and become saucier, but will still taste great.
What To Eat With Beef Barbacoa Tacos
- I like to warm my corn tortillas by wrapping them in a damp paper towel and heating them for about 30 seconds in the microwave (this keeps them from drying out)
- This beef would also be delicious served as lettuce wraps, on top of a salad or in a rice bowl
- A tomato based salsa is traditional
- Lauren’s corn salsa is the perfect fresh summery topping
- One of Katie’s fruit salsas would also be yummy
- The sharp flavor and crisp texture of diced raw white or red onions are the perfect compliment to the tender beef
- A little can go a long way depending on your taste preference
- Avocados add a lovely creaminess to the tacos
- If you’re feeling like going the extra mile, making a batch of classic guacamole would be great!
- Ot simply dice or mash the avocado with a fork and add to the tacos
- Cilantro adds beautiful color and freshness
- Its lemony floral flavor cuts the richness of the beef
- A squeeze of lime juice gives the tacos an awesome acidic boost of flavor
- Adding citrus juice to dishes is a great way to add flavor and decrease the need for added salt
More Easy Mexican Recipes You May Want To Try
- Easy Chicken Enchiladas– this is a great meal prep recipe too!
- These 35 minute Steak Fajitas are great for weeknights too.
- Mexican Coleslaw– the perfect side dish for this recipe.
- 20 Minute Ground Chicken Tacos with Poblanos is a fast and healthy weeknight option.
- If you love tacos here are our Cod Fish Tacos and this recipe for Vegan veggie tacos are seriously yummy even for meat eaters!
- These tacos would be great with these Homemade Refried Beans from a couple cooks.
- Or this yummy Mexican Brown Rice by Cookie + kate.
I hope you try these delicious Beef Barbacoa Tacos! Please come back and let me know if you do. We love to hear from you! Don’t forget to please leave a star rating and review. Thanks!!
If you love Meal Prep, don’t miss checking out our Meal Prep Menu including stuffed shells, cod fish tacos, sloppy joes, chicken and wild rice salad and Greek pizza, Meal Prep for the Week featuring Fish with Pineapple Salsa, Easy Enchiladas, Soupe Au Pistou, Apple & Ham Quesadillas and Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili.Print
This meltingly tender Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa tacos topped with a perfectly balanced salsa made with the best of summer corn and tomatoes is an easy and delicious meal for busy evenings. And I can’t forget to mention that you can make it ahead and freeze it with just 10 minutes of prep.
1 cup low sodium beef broth
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 red onion, diced and divided
Juice of 2 limes, divided
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
2 bay leaves, optional
2 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
2 large tomatoes, diced
16 corn tortillas
- Set Up Slow Cooker: In your slow cooker, stir together the beef broth, garlic, half of the red onion, the juice of 1 lime, cumin, oregano, and chipotles. Add the bay leaves (if using), beef and season with 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Cook: Cover the slow cooker and cook on Low heat for 8 hours. Shred the beef in the cooker and stir into the sauce.
- Make Salsa: In a small bowl, stir together the remaining red onion, remaining juice of lime, corn, tomatoes and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt.
- For Meal Prep: Refrigerate individual portions of beef and salsa together in airtight containers for up to 4 days, or freeze up to 4 months. Serve the beef and salsa with the corn tortillas.
How To Prep Ahead:
- Combine the ingredients as instructed in step 1, placing them in an airtight container.
- In a second container, combine the remaining red onion, lime juice, corn, and tomatoes.
- Refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze up to 6 months.
- If frozen, thaw the ingredients in the refrigerator overnight before adding to your slow cooker. The tomatoes will break down and become saucier if frozen but will still taste great once thawed.
How To Make In Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot
- Combine ingredients in the insert of a Instant Pot as directed in step 1. Close lid and turn valve to sealed position.
- Pressure cook for 90 minutes. When timer goes off, carefully using tongs or an oven mit, turn valve to release the steam. Shred the beef with forks.
- Make Salsa as directed above in step three.
- Serving Size: 2 tacos
- Calories: 390
- Sugar: 5 g
- Fat: 13 g
- Saturated Fat: 4 g
- Carbohydrates: 30 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 42 g