Rich and spicy Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe, served with warm tortillas and lime wedges!
There are dishes we make that come and go with very little impact. Then there are dishes we eat that strike us so intensely we think about them for days following. Some are so dynamic, we think about a single meal with reverence, for years.
Beef Barbacoa is one of those life-altering dishes for me.
It’s earthy, ultra spicy, dripping with saucy goodness, and as decadent as a meaty dish gets.
Contrary to popular belief, barbacoa is not originally a Mexican dish.
It was originated in the Caribbean islands and became so popular it spread across the mainland. The way we see it on menus today served with corn tortillas, onions, and cilantro, shows the progression of beef barbacoa from a roasted island recipe to a saucy Mexican taco filling.
However modern beef barbacoa still incorporates Caribbean island spices for that deep earthy flavor that makes this dish a standout!
Today we’re making my Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe, which takes much less effort than stovetop and oven methods.
To make this Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe simply puree chiles and veggies in the blender and pour the chile mixture over a large beef chuck roast in a slow cooker. Add spices, then cover and slow cook until the meat is so tender it pulls apart easily.
This Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe is one of those recipes that is better with time.
Start it in the morning and let it simmer all day long. Better yet, start it two or three days before you plan to serve it. Complete the recipe, and chill the shredded barbacoa until you are ready to serve it. Then rewarm the barbacoa in the slow cooker and serve.
With so many chiles and spices, the flavor only improves and deepens with time. My Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe tastes amazing on day one, but is nearly a religious experience on day 3 or 4.
P.S. Slow Cooker Barbacoa is spicy. Really spicy.
The tortillas and toppings help neutralize the flavor a bit, but if you are sensitive to spicy heat, try making it with only 1-2 chipotle peppers.
Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe
- 4 pound beef chuck roast
- 4 dried “New Mexico” chiles, Anaheim
- 3-5 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce
- 1 large sweet onion, peeled and quartered
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled
- 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 48 corn tortillas
- Garnishes: lime wedges, chopped cilantro, diced red onion
In a large pot or bowl, soak the dried chiles in 2 cups of boiling water. Place a small dish over the top to help keep the chiles submerged. Soak for 10 minutes, until tender. Carefully remove the stems and seeds. Reserve the chile water.
- Place the softened chiles, chipotle chiles, onion, garlic, vinegar, and brown sugar in the blender. Pour the chile water over the top. Puree until smooth.
- Place the chuck roast in a large slow cooker. Add the bay leaves, cumin, salt, oregano, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon. Pour the chile puree over the top. Cover the slow cooker and turn on high for 4-6 hours, or on low for 8-12 hours.
- Once the roast is fork-tender. Shred the beef into the chile sauce. Cover and keep warm until ready to eat.
- To serve: Spoon beef barbacoa onto two layered corn tortillas. Top with diced onions and cilantro and serve with a lime wedge.
This recipe freezes well!
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