Slow Cooker Barbacoa

With only 5 minutes of prep, this Beef Slow Cooker Barbacoa is tender, savory, and perfect for filling tacos or burritos!

Enchilada Casserole and Beef Empanadas are both perfect ways to use this flavorful Slow Cooker Barbacoa. It’s perfect for filling tacos or serving with your favorite rice and beans!

Slow cooker barbacoa on a plate shredded and served with lime wedges.

What is barbacoa?

Barbacoa is a delicious dish from central Mexico. Traditionally beef, lamb, or goat meat is seasoned and slow cooked in a pot in a deep hole in the ground.

The meat sits on a rack so it’s not submerged in juices.  It is often called Birria, which is a juicier version of barbacoa because it’s cooked directly in the juices. 

This tender barbacoa beef is SO simple to make. You basically throw everything in the crock pot and let it marinate. Slow Cooker Barbacoa is perfect for serving on tacos, in enchiladas, or on rolls! So many tasty options.

Ingredients for slow cooker beef barbacoa on the counter.

How to make barbacoa in a slow cooker

SEASONING. Add beef broth, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, minced garlic, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic salt and pepper to the bowl of your slow cooker.

COOK. Add chuck roast chunks and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.

SHRED. Chuck roast pieces should fall apart easily. Shred with a fork, remove any fat pieces, transfer back to slow cooker and mix with remaining juices and spices.

SERVE! Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Use in tacos or burritos.

Ingredients for slow cooker beef barbacoa in a slow cooker.

beef barbacoa toppings

Barbacoa meat is full of amazing flavor. You can eat it straight off a plate all on its own or use Corn or Flour Tortillas to make burritos, tacos, and quesadillas,or add it to the tops of salads and nachos.

Some common toppings for barbacoa dishes include: 

  • Produce: Shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, diced avocados, cilantro, diced onions
  • Cheese: Shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese, Cotija
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Guacamole 
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Salsa, hot sauce
Beef slow cooker barbacoa ingredients put together and ready to cook.

More ways TO USE beef BARBACOA

Serve this tasty shredded beef barbacoa recipe on or in:

Shredded beef slow cooker barbacoa cooked in juices.

Storing Info

Once cooked, you can leave the slow cooker barbacoa beef on the warm setting for 2-4 hours. For longer storage use the refrigerator or freezer. 

  • Fridge: Store leftovers, including all the delicious juices, in an airtight container or ziploc bag in the fridge for 3-4 days. It is easiest to reheat it in the microwave. You can also reheat it on the stovetop or cover in the oven. 
  • Freeze: Freeze barbacoa, along with the juices, for up to 3 months. Place it in an airtight freezer safe container (freezer bags also work great). Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat it in the microwave or in the oven.
Shredded slow cooker barbacoa on a white plate served with lime slices.

For more Mexican dishes, try:

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe

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With only 5 minutes of prep, this Beef Slow Cooker Barbacoa is tender, savory, and perfect for filling tacos or burritos!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 5 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 319 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup beef broth low sodium
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic minced
  • 1 (4 ounce) can green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt (with parsley flakes) (with parsley flakes)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3-4 pounds chuck roast cut into 6-8 chunks
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
  • lime wedges optional

Instructions
 

  • Add beef broth, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, minced garlic, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic salt and pepper to the bowl of your slow cooker.
  • Add chuck roast chunks and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours.
  • Chuck roast pieces should fall apart easily. Shred with a fork, remove any fat pieces, transfer back to slow cooker and mix with remaining juices and spices.
  • Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges. Use in tacos or burritos.

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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