Skip to Content

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

Make this slow cooker barbacoa beef the next time you are in the mood for tacos, burritos or quesadillas! 

slow cooker barbacoa beef pinterest image 2

Originally published January 2015, updated June 2019.

The one kitchen tool or appliance that I keep handy year-round is my slow cooker. In the winter, when I am all bundled up and don’t want to leave my warm couch, I can let food cook without a care in the world. In the summer, it’s a great way to cook without adding extra heat in the kitchen.

Because I have a deep-seated love for tacos (who doesn’t?), I am always brain storming ways to change up my usual recipe. In case you’re wondering what my usual is, it’s grilled arrachera

When I don’t want to grill or I want food waiting for me when I get home, my slow cooker barbacoa beef recipe is the answer. Delicious, easy to make, and bound to make it on your list of regularly cooked recipes once you give it a try.

slow cooker barbacoa beef in a taco

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

The slow cooker coffee barbacoa beef recipe I came up with is based off of a copycat Chipotle recipe. I really wanted to make something similar to the Chipotle barbacoa beef, but I realized I had no idea what barbacoa was.

I had to do some serious research – the name sounds like BBQ and we thought maybe it was some kind of spicy pulled BBQ beef.

Wrong wrong wrong. It is really just a slow, low-temperature cooked meat that pulls apart very easily. And it is delicious.

The coffee is used more to tenderize the meat than to flavor it. If you are looking for a strong coffee flavor, substitute some of the broth for more coffee. I recommend substituting in 1/4 cup amounts, but that’s just me.

After you’ve finished cooking, you’ll be left with 4 pounds of tender meat, ready for tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more. It is juicy and full of flavor.

slow cooker barbacoa beef taco closeup

What kind of meat is barbacoa made from?

Traditionally barbacoa is made from sheep, lamb or goat. I am not big on eating of those animals so I went with beef instead. 

Barbacoa purists will use the animal head, tongue or cheek but I Americanized my recipe using a beef roast instead.

What’s the difference between barbacoa and carnitas?

Where as barbacoa is slow cooked beef, carnitas is made from pork. The pork is slow cooked, pulled apart, and then oven-roasted until the meat is crispy.

Can I use a different pepper?

Yes! If you can’t find guajillo peppers, substitute them for 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. If you like a more spicy meat, use more peppers. 

What to serve with barbacoa beef

Since you’ll most likely use this beef for tacos or burritos, I consider all hispanic side dishes when planning my meal. Recipes like my seasoned black beans or my lemon parsley rice (substitute lime and cilantro if you want!)

photo of slow cooker barbacoa beef

Make this slow cooker coffee barbacoa beef the next time you are in the mood for tacos, burritos or quesadillas! If you’re looking for game day recipes, this is the perfect dinner! | honeyandbirch.com

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 1 minute
Total Time: 6 hours 11 minutes

Make this slow cooker barbacoa beef the next time you are in the mood for tacos, burritos or quesadillas! If you're looking for game day recipes, this is the perfect dinner!

Ingredients

  • 4 pound beef roast (round or chuck), trimmed of fat
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 dried Guajillo chiles
  • 4 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup of strongly brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup lime juice

Instructions

  1. Cut the roast into 8 equal-sized pieces. Sprinkle the salt evenly on the meat pieces. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, then place in the bottom of a large slow cooker.
  2. In a food processor, chop the garlic and chiles for 1 minutes on low. Then add the oregano, black pepper, chicken broth, coffee, and lime juice and pulse until combined. Pour over the meat - the top portion of the meat should not be under liquid.
  3. Cook on low for 6 hours. When finished cooking, use 2 forks or tongs to pull the beef apart. Then stir well so that all meat is mixed in with the liquid.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 2273mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 2/17/2019


If you’re looking for another tex-mex inspired meal, try my Loaded Burrito Bowl recipe!

Make this slow cooker coffee barbacoa beef the next time you are in the mood for tacos, burritos or quesadillas! If you’re looking for game day recipes, this is the perfect dinner! | honeyandbirch.com

Make this slow cooker coffee barbacoa beef the next time you are in the mood for tacos, burritos or quesadillas! If you’re looking for game day recipes, this is the perfect dinner! | honeyandbirch.com

This grilled chicken avocado salad is topped with homemade jalapeno cilantro dressing. It is the perfect easy
Previous
Grilled Chicken Avocado Salad
cucumber watermelon punch being stirred
Next
Cucumber Watermelon Punch

Courtney

Thursday 25th of February 2016

Is this spicy?

Jenny

Thursday 25th of February 2016

Hi Courtney - it is a little spicy. If you are looking for less spice, use one-two less chile peppers. The guajillo peppers are in the medium spice range.

Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake

Wednesday 15th of April 2015

This looks absolutely amazing, I'm drooling over the pasta bake I'm eating for dinner haha! Tacos are definitely gonna be on the menu in my house asap!

Jenny B

Thursday 16th of April 2015

Haha, Michelle! I love pasta bakes!

Sarah

Wednesday 15th of April 2015

Yummy that looks wonderful!

Jenny B

Thursday 16th of April 2015

Thank you Sarah!

Miz Helen

Tuesday 20th of January 2015

What a great recipe, I can't wait to try this one. Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing your awesome talent with Full Plate Thursday. Come Back Soon! Miz Helen

Jenny B

Tuesday 20th of January 2015

Thanks Miz Helen! And thanks for stopping by :)

Karly

Sunday 18th of January 2015

This is right up my alley! Thanks for linking up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

Jenny B

Sunday 18th of January 2015

Thanks Karly!

shares