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Barbacoa Tacos

These beef Barbacoa Tacos are cooked in the slow cooker all day so you can come home to savory and spicy tacos. I love barbacoa meat and these tacos are a crowd pleasing Mexican dinner.

fb image - Barbacoa Tacos


Back West we have a favorite Mexican place (Cafe Rio) that serves sweet barbacoa pork but I wanted a more savory version of that dish for Taco Tuesday.

Usually my tacos are all about the toppings but with these the meat is so flavorful and packed with spices that I like to let the meat’s flavor shine with very few toppings. Traditional Queso Fresca is my first choice but feta (which is more easily found) is similar in taste and texture.


Barbacoa is meat such as beef or lamb that is slowly cooked with seasonings and shredded for filling in tacos, burritos, and other Mexican dishes.

Mexican Barbacoa is traditionally an underground oven in which meat is cooked slowly. Today, we’re using a slow cooker in it’s place.

fb image - Barbacoa Tacos

Blend up all of the sauce ingredients in a blender and pour over the chunks of meat. Let it cook all day until the meat starts to fall apart, about 6-8 hours.

I added two chipotle peppers for some heat with 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce. If you like it extra spicy feel free to add more. Just a little brown sugar compliments the sauce to make sure it’s not bitter.

fb image - Barbacoa Tacos

fb image - Barbacoa Tacos

As you can see the meat is really juicy so make sure to use a slotted spoon when serving it up. An extra squeeze of the lime on top makes all the difference in brightening up the dish.


Barbacoa Tacos - fb image 188


4.25 from 8 votes

Yield: 8 servings

These beef Barbacoa Tacos are cooked in the slow cooker all day so you can come home to savory and spicy tacos.

  • 3
    chuck roast, fat trimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 1/2
    medium white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3
    apple cider vinegar
  • 4
    minced garlic
  • 4
    ground cumin
  • 2
  • 1
    ground black pepper
  • 1
  • 2
    brown sugar
  • 2
    chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
    (add 1 Tablespoon of adobo sauce if you like it spicy)
  • 1/4
    lime juice
  • 1/2
    beef broth
  • 2
    bay leaves
  • Toppings: cilantro, queso fresca (or feta), chopped tomatoes, limes
  • 8
    Old El Paso Stand ‘N Stuff soft flour tortillas.

  1. Place the chunks of roast in a 6-8 quart slow cooker.

  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients minus the bay leaves to a blender. Blend until smooth.

  3. Pour over meat and top with the bay leaves. Cook for 6-8 hours on low or until meat starts to fall apart.

  4. Remove bay leaves and shred meat with two forks and then return to the juices in the slow cooker. Serve with a slotted spoon onto tortillas. Top with cilantro, queso fresca, tomatoes, and a squeeze of lime.

fb image scaled - Barbacoa Tacos

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