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Barbacoa Beef on white corn tortillas topped with chopped avocados, onion and cilantro

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef is a tender Mexican shredded beef that you can use in shredded beef tacos, and beef rice bowls. This crock pot Barbacoa Beef is super flavorful and couldn't be easier to make!

Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword crock pot barbacoa beef
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10 - 14
Calories 290 kcal
Author Sandy Clifton


  • 1 3-4 lb Beef Chuck Roast*

Spices (mix these together)

  • 1 Tbsp Oregano (Mexican, if you have it)
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Cloves, ground
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt (or 1 1/2 tsp table salt)
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Add These After Spices

  • 1 7 oz can Diced Green Chiles, mild (I like fire roasted)
  • 2-3 Chipotles in Adobo, chopped (canned)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Adobo Sauce, from the can
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Bay Leaves


  • 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbsps Lime Juice, fresh (about one lime)
  • 1 cup Beer, I use Mexican dark beer (or beef broth)

Garnish (after cooking)

  • Diced Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Sour Cream


  1. Prepare all of your ingredients first. Cut the meat (brown it in a little oil if you wish), dice the onion, mince the garlic, measure the spices and liquids, etc.

  2. Add the meat to the slow cooker and sprinkle the spices over it. Mix it well.

  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir.

  4. Cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours, until meat is very tender. When done cooking, use a large spoon to skim off some of the fat before removing the meat.

  5. Then use tongs to remove the meat to a bowl, and use two forks to shred it.

  6. Place the shredded meat back into the crock and stir it well. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

  7. Serve with warm tortillas and rice, chopped onion, cilantro, avocado, sour cream, or whatever you like!

Recipe Notes

  1. *The number of servings will depend on the size of your roast. I usually use a 3 lb chuck roast and get about (10) 5 oz servings.
  2. Browning the chunks of meat in a skillet with a little oil before adding to the slow cooker will add depth of flavor. This isn't necessary, but some folks like to do this step, if they have time
  3. 2 Chipotles from the can will make this dish a little spicy, and 3 will give it a good kick. Also, using the adobo sauce from the same can really adds a nice subtle smoky flavor.
  4. If you don't want to use beer, just use beef or chicken broth. The idea is to add a liquid that has some flavor.