Overhead shot of two beef barbacoa tacos topped with corn salsa on a white plate on top of a linen.

Beef Barbacoa

  • Author: Stephanie Olson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican


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 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


  1. 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 beef and season with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  2. Cook: Cover the slow cooker and cook on Low heat for 8 hours. Shred the beef in the cooker and stir into the sauce.
  3. Make Salsa: In a small bowl, stir together the remaining red onion, remaining juice of lime corn, tomatoes and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt.
  4. 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:

  1. Combine the ingredients as instructed in step 1, placing them in an airtight container.
  2. In a second container, combine the remaining red onion, lime juice, corn, and tomatoes.
  3. Refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze up to 6 months.
  4. 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

  1. Combine ingredients in the insert of a Instant Pot as directed in step 1. Close lid and turn valve to sealed position.
  2. 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.
  3. 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