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Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa

This Slow cooker Mexican Beef Barbacoa is extremely tender, juicy, EASY and bursting with rich, spicy (customiazble), complex flavors!  Great for large crowds (think taco bar/Game Day!) or make ahead meals like tacos, burritos, nachos, salads, etc!  
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 -12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (3-5 lb) beef chuck roast trimmed of excess fat, cut into 8-10 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Slow Cooker Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mild red enchilada sauce (use 10 oz. can if making my enchiladas recipe)
  • 2 4 oz. cans MILD chopped green chiles
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce (more or less to taste) minced (approx. 2 tablespoons)**
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire
  • 1-3 teaspoons liquid smoke (depending on how "smoky" you like it)
  • 1 TBS EACH ground cumin, dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp EACH chili powder, smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp EACH ground cloves, ground cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

  • Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, add cubed beef and sear on all sides. Transfer beef to a 6 qt (or larger) slow cooker along with all remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 hours or on LOW for 6-8 hours, OR until the beef shreds easily with a fork.
  • Remove beef to a cutting board (do NOT discard juices in slow cooker), shred, and add back to slow cooker and toss with slow cooker juices. Cook on low for 20 minutes for beef to absorb juices. Add additional hot sauce, lime juice or brown sugar to taste.
  • Remove beef with a pair of tongs to serving bowl or strain in colander so tacos, etc. don’t get soggy. If you would like “saucier” beef, add additional enchilada sauce.

Notes

Don't miss the "how to make" recipe video at the top of the post!
**I would say 2 chipotle peppers is medium spicy.  If you don't like spice or want to make it kid friendly then reduce to 1 or less chipotle pepper. ***Liquid Smoke can be found next to the barbecue sauces in your grocery store and adds a wonderfully smokey flavor. ****If you are not serving immediately, then refrigerate the barbacoa beef IN its juices so it stays juicy.