With chipotles, garlic, cilantro, & Mexican spices, Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa is a tender, juicy addition to tacos, burritos, rice bowls, salads, & more!
Happy Taco Tuesday, friends! Well, by the time you read this, it will most likely already be Wednesday, but no matter…tacos are a welcome dinner around these parts any day of the week. So are burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, tostadas…and those are exactly a few of the things that you can make with this Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa. You can even sprinkle this beef over salads or rice bowls, à la the ever-popular Chipotle restaurant chain. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy it, this juicy, melt-in-your-mouth beef is just brimming with flavor thanks to fresh garlic, cilantro, and lime, Mexican spices, and spicy chipotles in adobo…and it would be happy to play a starring role in all of your Tex-Mex favorites!
I’ve previously shared my effortless slow cooker chicken taco filling with y’all. I’ve also already posted a recipe for slow cooker pork carnitas. So it’s only fitting that today, we’re talking beef, baby.
My version of (Americanized 😉 ) Beef Barbacoa starts with a big hunk of beef, AKA a roast…shoulder or chuck or rump, top or bottom round, or even a brisket would work. Your roast-o’-choice is seasoned, slathered with a mixture of fresh garlic, cilantro, puréed chipotles in adobo, lime juice, and seasonings and then slow cooked in a bath of beef broth and Mexican beer. Once the meat is fall-apart tender, it’s shredded, returned to its juices to soak up even more flavor, and then presented center-stage at the dinner table.
I’ll be honest in that we almost always initially eat this crock pot meal as tacos. But there are inevitably leftovers, which often find their way into cheesy quesadillas or atop a taco salad. I’ve even piled this meat on a sandwich roll and dipped the whole shebang in the cooking liquid for a Mexican spin on a French Dip Au Jus.
And now for few notes about the recipe, because y’all know I like to over-explain everything. 🙂 If you’ve never bought chipotles in adobo, I’m talking about that little can of dried, smoked jalapeños soaking in a spicy red sauce (you should be able to find them in the Mexican foods section of the ethnic foods aisle of your grocery store). Chipotles in adobe are packed with heat and flavor, and a little bit can go a long way.
But in a recipe like this where you’re seasoning a lot of meat, you shouldn’t have to be too conservative. If you’re worried about too much spice, use just one pepper plus a spoonful of adobo sauce the first time you make this recipe. At that amount, you should get flavor but nobody’s mouth will catch on fire. If you think you can handle the heat, however, feel free to toss in three or four chipotles plus a couple spoonfuls of sauce.
As for the cilantro, I know that there are people out there who think it tastes like soap. If you are one of those people, by all means, leave it out. But if you looooove cilantro like my family, cooking the beef with it and then using additional fresh cilantro to garnish your tacos will make you very happy.
As for whether or not you have to use beer in this recipe…no, you do not. I like using a 50/50 combo of beef broth and beer, but you can certainly use all beef broth instead. If you do use beer, however, please use a Mexican beer and, if you have the option, darker is better. Coors Light just won’t cut it in this recipe…no offense to Coors Light.
I think the rest of the recipe is pretty straightforward, and the resulting Beef Barbacoa is simply scrumptious. After all, who needs Chipotle when you can just wake up, toss a few ingredients in your crock pot, and then, at the end of the day, stuff your face with as many glorious tacos as you so desire?! Sounds like a plan to me.
Post originally published on February 3, 2015.
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