Barbacoa Beef

Eric and I are very into Mexican food. Both of us claim it as our favorite type of food I think. I was raised in California, where it was of course very easy to find awesome Mexican food, so I grew up on the stuff. And Eric lived in Tijuana for 2 years serving his mission, often eating in the homes of the locals, so he got the real deal.


I wouldn’t necessarily call this Barbacoa Beef authentic Mexican, but it has the same flavor and feel. At least it’s a better knock off than an old family recipe that my mom was forced to eat once a week as a child. Her mom used to make this stuff called “Enchilada Loaf.” It involved ground beef, lots of velveeta, cinnamon, cheese, and fritos, all dumped in a casserole dish. I’m not sure how my mom lived to tell the tale.

This Barbacoa Beef, on the other hand, is sooooo good. Eric asked me what I wanted him to cook me for Mother’s Day and I said I wanted this, so I guess you could say it’s one of my favorite meals. You can do pretty much anything you want with this amazing-tasting meat. Tacos, burritos, even top a salad. I like to serve it with Corn Salsa¬†(recipe coming soon!), rice, and top it off with some queso fresco. You pretty much can’t go wrong with this meat, no matter how you serve it. Enjoy!

Barbacoa Beef

Source: Skinnytaste


3 lbs beef eye of round or bottom round roast, all fat trimmed
5 cloves garlic
1/2 medium onion
1/2 lime, juice
2-4 chipotles chiles in adobo sauce* (to taste)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
salt and pepper
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oil
1 cup water

Place garlic, onion, lime juice, cumin, oregano, chipotles, and cloves in a blender.

Trim all fat off meat and cut into 4 inch chunks. Season with salt and pepper and brown on high heat in 1 tsp oil. Add liquefied spices, water, bay leaves and simmer on low two hours in a pressure cooker. (I did this in the crock pot. Just put it all in and set it for high for 4-6 hours. You could do it on low for 8-10 hours.)You could also make this in a regular pot; you will have to double the cooking time to at least 4 hours or more, covered on low flame and add more water from time to time to make sure it doesn’t dry out.

Once cooked and the meat is tender, remove the meat and place in a dish. Shred it with two forks, and discard the bay leaf. Return the shredded meat to the pot, adjust salt and cumin to taste (you may need to add more). Simmer for about 10 minutes to let the flavors penetrate.

*Rarely will you ever use a full can of chipotle chiles. I always put the rest in a ziplock in the freezer and save them for later.

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  1. Lisa Palomino says

    I made it and loved it! Used pork loin instead of beef, sliced thick, 2 1/2 hrs in crock pot on high. My Mexico-City-born husband loved it too. We used it on tostadas. Will be on the menu again soon–either pork or beef. Thanks.

    • says

      ooh, Lisa, I will have to try this with pork loin next time! Yum. So glad you loved it. If I had to pick my top 5 recipes from my blog, this recipe would be on it. It never fails! :)

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