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Have you ever had the barbacoa beef at Chipotle? Their chicken is delicious. The fajita veggies they serve are mouth-watering. But the Chipotle barbacoa recipe? To. Die. For. Especially when you add some Chipotle guacamole. Yummmmm. If you’ve ever had it, you know. I bet you’ve wondered if it’s possible to cook Crock Pot barbacoa at home, too. Turns out that this beef barbacoa recipe is incredibly easy, and with just ten ingredients, you can make authentic slow cooker barbacoa beef easily at home. Yessssss.
If you didn’t adore your Crock Pot before, you will once you make this slow cooker barbacoa beef in it! It’s one of my favorite Chipotle copycat recipes. The best part is that the prep time takes all of five minutes (and clean up is a breeze!).
Simply puree most of the ingredients in your blender, pour the mixture over beef chunks in your slow cooker, place the bay leaf inside, and you’ll be enjoying Crock Pot barbacoa for dinner!
This barbacoa recipe was originally published on December 7, 2016, and was republished in February 2020 to add better tips.
What Is Barbacoa Made Of?
Barbacoa, simply, is a traditional Mexican cooked meat with spices that is tender, flavorful, and usually served shredded as a filling or topping.
Making authentic barbacoa beef requires three things: the right meat, the proper spices, and time to cook it so that the flavors come together.
What Does Barbacoa Taste Like?
Barbacoa beef tastes like tender, slow cooked shredded beef cooked in an adobo sauce with loads of flavorful Mexican spices. In other words, it tastes delicious. 😉
What Kind Of Meat Is Used For Barbacoa?
Traditionally a variety of meats can be used to make Mexican barbacoa, but this Chipotle beef copycat calls for brisket or chuck roast. I get my beef for barbacoa HERE. You’ll just cut it into chunks and season it.
What Seasonings Are Used For Barbacoa Beef?
Traditional Mexican spices are combined to make a marinade that slow cooks with the meat. This barbacoa seasoning combines spices, peppers in adobo, lime, and broth for its rich flavor.
What’s The Secret To Cooking Barbacoa Beef?
The secret is that this is slow cooker barbacoa beef. The long cooking time is what allows the flavors to meld together in a truly mouth-watering, authentic combination that makes this the best beef barbacoa recipe you’ll ever try. The simplicity of this barbacoa recipe is just another reason to love it.
Chipotle Barbacoa Ingredients
This easy beef barbacoa recipe is just another reason to love Chipotle! Did you know that Chipotle publicly posts the ingredients list for every item on their menu?
To make a copycat Chipotle barbacoa recipe at home, I started with a peek at what they include when they cook up their delicious barbacoa beef. It turns out that theirs only has eleven ingredients, plus water.
Here are the barbacoa ingredients in my recipe, very similar to Chipotle’s:
- Beef. Use beef brisket or chuck roast.
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. These add the classic heat and flavor! My version is a bit spicier than Chipotle’s original, so if you don’t like a lot of heat, you may want to reduce the amount of chile peppers in adobo sauce.
- Broth – Instead of water, use beef broth as you make your slow cooker barbacoa beef, for an even richer taste.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – The vinegar adds a nice hit of acid to complement the rich beef.
- Lime Juice – To enhance the flavors of the spices used in this Chipotle Whole30 recipe, you’ll use lime juice to flavor this low carb Chipotle dinner. It’s a subtle, but oh-so-delicious addition.
- Herbs & Spices – Dried oregano, cumin, salt pepper, ground cloves, and a bay leaf.
How To Make Barbacoa in a Crock Pot
You have your ingredients, time to make homemade barbacoa beef with them! The hands-on time is just 5 minutes (win!).
Here are the 4 easy steps for making this easy barbacoa recipe:
- Prep meat. You’re making this particular Crock Pot barbacoa from either beef brisket or a chuck roast, so just grab your beef and chop it into chunks. Put it in the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Blend barbacoa sauce. Combine beef broth, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, garlic, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, dried oregano, cumin, sea salt, black pepper, and ground cloves in a blender (everything except the beef and bay leaves). Puree it until it’s a smooth sauce/paste and pour it over your cubed beef.
- Cook this easy barbacoa recipe. Now just walk away and enjoy your day… and come back later to the most fall-apart, delicious slow cooker barbacoa beef you’ve ever tasted.
- Shred. Then, put it back into the juices and stir it up. Go ahead and make your salads or prep your wraps, and by then it will have absorbed even more flavor. Serve it with a slotted spoon and enjoy!
Can you believe how simple this Mexican beef barbacoa recipe is?!
How To Store Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef
Store this Chipotle barbacoa recipe in the fridge for 4-6 days. Reheat in the microwave or a 350 degree F oven.
This beef barbacoa recipe is also freezer-friendly, so you’ll be able to have it on hand to thaw for a quick dinner. If you’re lobr healthy or low carb Mexican recipes, try it out – you won’t regret it!
How To Make Barbacoa Beef Keto, Low Carb, Whole30, and Paleo
All of the ingredients in this Crock Pot barbacoa are already keto, low carb, paleo and Whole30. Just watch for sugar in your chipotle chiles in adobo.
The best way to keep your dinner all of the above is to serve it on top of a giant salad. It’s also one of the most delicious ways to enjoy it.
If you’ve ever had barbacoa Chipotle-style while eating this way, that’s probably how you’ve ordered it (I’ve been doing it for years!). But homemade slow cooker barbacoa beef is so easy, delicious, and much more affordable.
Here’s how I like to build a barbacoa salad:
- Crock Pot barbacoa (obviously!)
- Romaine lettuce
- Fresh pico de gallo (or fresh tomatoes in a pinch)
- Shredded mozzarella
- Sour cream
- Homemade guacamole – Because every beef barbacoa recipe needs it!
Otherwise, if a wrap is more up your alley, try the barbacoa with 3-ingredient coconut flour tortillas or cauliflower tortillas instead. So good this way, too! Are you beginning to see just how versatile this beef barbacoa recipe is?
More Ideas For What To Serve With Barbacoa
This Chipotle copycat barbacoa meat can be served up in so many different ways!
- Almond Flour Wraps – Barbacoa burritos are sounding so delicious…
- Chipotle Guacamole – You can’t make burrito bowls without the guac! And it’s not extra here! 😉
- Shredded Lettuce – For some cool crunch, pair your barbacoa with cool lettuce.
- Cauliflower Rice – Turn this barbacoa into burrito bowls with cauliflower rice, salsas to taste, shredded cheese, and a dollop of sour cream and guacamole. Just like the real thing!
- Salsa – Another great topping for barbacoa. This is my quickest and easiest fresh salsa recipe.
- Cheese and Sour Cream – Another creamy way to cool the heat on this barbacoa, I prefer my burrito bowls with a sprinkle of cheese and dollop of sour cream.
Tools To Make Keto Barbacoa:
Click the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Slow Cooker – A slow cooker is a must for this recipe. I prefer to use this one.
- Blender – This high powered blender is great for all types of recipes. Perfect for making the sauce for this delicious low carb beef barbacoa recipe.
Chipotle Beef Barbacoa Recipe Copycat in a Slow Cooker (Crock Pot):
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Reader Favorite Recipes
The recipe card is below! Readers also made these similar recipes after making this one.
Chipotle Beef Barbacoa Recipe (Slow Cooker / Crock Pot)
The best Crock Pot barbacoa ever! If you love barbacoa beef, you have to try this copycat Chipotle barbacoa recipe in a slow cooker. It's healthy, easy, low carb, and fall-apart delicious.
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Get RECIPE TIPS in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!
Click on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
- Combine the broth, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, garlic, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, dried oregano, cumin, sea salt, black pepper, and ground cloves in a blender (everything except the beef and bay leaves). Puree until smooth.
- Place the beef chunks in the slow cooker. Pour the pureed mixture from the blender on top. Add the (whole) bay leaves.
- Cook for 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low, until the beef is fall-apart tender.
Remove the bay leaves. Shred the meat using two forks and stir into the juices. Cover and rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the beef to absorb even more flavor. Use a slotted spoon to serve.
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Serving size: 1/3 lb, or 1/9 entire recipe
Video Showing How To Make Beef Barbacoa in a Slow Cooker:
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Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. You can find individual ingredient carb counts we use in the Low Carb & Keto Food List. Net carb count excludes fiber, erythritol, and allulose, because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. (Learn about net carbs here.) We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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