Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

AMAZING and tender beef barbacoa that is better than any restaurant I have had!  The flavor is amazing and it slow cooks to perfection!


Reason #346 why I love my slow cooker.  It slow cooks beef to perfect tender and juicy melt in your mouth perfection.  Is there anything better than meat that is slow cooked all day and it just falls apart because it is so tender?  I don’t think so!  And I am pretty particular when it comes to eating beef.  It has to be tender and juicy.  I just can’t do that dry and chewy beef.

My hubby is a huge fan of Chipotle.  I wanted to make this barbacoa beef for him and when I heard that it is better than Chipotle’s I couldn’t wait to make it.

Just look how amazing and juicy that beef looks!  It shredded so easily and the flavor is so dang good!


This beef has just enough of a kick to give it some awesome flavor and the spices come together perfectly. I love beef brisket so I used that and pan seared large cubes.  It smelled so amazing while it cooked all day in my house and when it was finished it just fell apart.

My husband said that this instantly became one of his favorite meals.   He thought it was even better than Chipotle and we made it right at home!  You are going to love it just as much as we did!


4.8 from 9 reviews
Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
AMAZING and tender beef barbacoa that is better than any restaurant I have had! The flavor is amazing and it slow cooks to perfection!
Serves: 8
  • 4 lbs beef brisket (or beef chuck roast will also work)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 - 4 chipotle chilis in adobo
  • 1¼ cups beef broth
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1½ Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • ¾ tsp salt, then more to taste
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  1. Cut the beef into large cubes. In a large skillet over medium high heat add the vegetable oil and sear the beef on each side. Transfer to your slow cooker.
  2. In a food processor add adobo chilis, beef broth, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, cloves, and lime juice. Pulse until blended and pour on top of the meat.
  3. Cook on low for 8-9 hours or high for 6 hours. Shred the meat with two forks and turn on warm.



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Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. Shawnna says:

    oh yummy! This looks amazing!

  2. I made this last night and it was a hit with the whole family. My husband is taking the last of it into work for lunch today. I was short on time and did not brown the meat like instructed, just cut it into large chunks and threw it in. This will definitely be put into our dinner rotation. Thank you for the great recipe.

  3. Kim Gilmore says:

    It’s in the crockpot now and smells incredible!!!! Can’t wait

  4. Did you author this recipe?

    As a fun fact, authentic barbacoa “is often prepared with parts from the heads of cattle, such as the cheeks. Named barbacoa before being adopted by the name “brisket”. In northern Mexico, it is also sometimes made from beef head, but more often it is prepared from goat meat (cabrito).” Wikipedia. Traditional is so tender and delicious. What Chipotle serves is not even close to the taste it is supposed to have.

  5. I see cilantro in your slow cooker pot in the pictures; did you add that before or after cooking? I’d assume after, but whatdoiknow?

  6. Shannah Smith says:

    3-4 individual chipotle chili peppes in adobo or 3-4 little cans?

  7. Hi, I was just wondering if this is a pretty spicy recipe?

  8. I had doubts at first … , I love Chipotle :). However taste is amazing !!! just as good or better . I used pressure cooker it was done in 45 min to perfection . Thank you !

  9. Smarty Arty says:

    This is not barbacoa, what makes barbacoa is not the flavorimgs but the types of meat used should be used. It usually constitutes less common cuts of beef, although a brisket is not very common to most households. Another bastardization of an “ethnic” dish create by Americana to satisfy that which is thougt to be traditional.
    I would say that some of these flavorings would make it past most people here, but for those who have enjoyed real barbacoa know this is not a true style of barbacoa…for goodness sake it was originally cooked in the ground almost like roasted pig in other parts of the world, ironically enough there is rumor that these two styles of cooking couldnpossibly be related!

    • What Makes Barbacoa is not the type of meat its the way its cooked which is slow, but you are correct with it sometimes being cooked underground. But at some point in time most food was cooked on or in the ground

    • Who cares .. if it’s good then who cares what you call it.. too many people are too danged picky.. I am going to make it and bet it’s a winner

      • Alyssa Rivers says:

        It is delicious! You will love it!

        I always welcome new recipe names. I am much more creative with food than I am with words 😉

        • Alyssa,
          I found this recipe a few days ago and as I’m typing this it’s cooking in my Crock-Pot!!! I’m so excited to try it but I was wondering if you could answer 2 questions? Do you happen to know the calories per serving? Do you know if/how many carbs? I’m definitely going to eat it regardless lol but I’m tracking my intake of both. 🙂

  10. I just made this tonight, but I put it in my dutch oven and baked it. IT WAS AMAZING! Done in less than 3 hrs on 350. Meat was tender and falling apart, flavor was incredible, just enough kick. I did have to keep an eye on the liquid it was drying out quickly (so maybe I should have put it in the slow cooker after all!) Anyway thanks for the recipe 🙂

  11. Thank you for posting and sharing this recipe. I added the diced onions and cilantro after it was done and also added 6 bay leaves while it cooked, mostly for the aroma of barbacoa I had growing up. This recipe is delicious and tastes authentic to me. I’ve never had nor care for chipotle so I can’t speak to that comparison but this barbacoa was amazing. I’m making it again today! Tastes great with a homemade salsa.

  12. Jeanie Hardman says:

    Cant wait to try this! Sounds yummy & easy. What is the purpose of cutting the meat into chunks at the beginning? More seared surface area?

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