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Beef barbacoa on a plate with lime wedges.
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5 from 44 votes

Best Barbacoa (Slow Cooker)

Mexican beef barbacoa that's juicy, meltingly tender, seasoned with flavorful chilies and spices, and made easy right in the slow cooker!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 8 hrs
Total Time: 8 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Course, Main Meal
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Barbacoa, Beef Barbacoa, Shredded Beef
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 430kcal
Author: Lisa Bryan


  • 4 pounds beef chuck roast cut into 3-inch chunks
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3-4 chipotles in adobo sauce finely diced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 3 bay leaves


  • Add all of the ingredients, except the bay leaves, to the bowl of a slow cooker.
    Adding beef barbacoa ingredients into the slow cooker.
  • Use tongs to gently toss and mix it all together. Then add the bay leaves, and cover. Cook on low for 8-9 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours. The beef should be tender and fall apart easily when shredded with a fork. If it doesn't shred easily, cook it a bit longer.
    Mixing beef barbacoa ingredients in a slow cooker.
  • Remove the beef to a cutting board and use two forks to shred it.
    Shredding beef barbacoa on a cutting board.
  • Place the shredded beef back in the slow cooker, give it a stir, and let it absorb the juices.
    Mixing beef barbacoa in the slow cooker.
  • Serve the barbacoa straight from the slow cooker, or add it to a plate and garnish with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.
    A plate of beef barbacoa and lime wedges.



Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 884mg | Potassium: 855mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 334IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 6mg