Barbacoa Taco Recipe

Beef Barbacoa is slow-cooked until fork-tender, with a smoky aroma and spicy taste. Shredded beef braised in a blend of chipotle adobo, cumin, cloves, garlic, and oregano...yummy!

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Barbacoa, Spanish for barbecue, is a method of cooking meat that originated in Mexico; the term also can refer to the meat itself. Some types of barbacoa, however, feature pork or beef, and many modern recipes use a slow cooker, instant pot, or dutch oven. 

Although the meat can be cooked in its own juices without any seasoning, marinades, and spices are often added during the cooking process. Once the meat is very tender, it is typically shredded or chopped before being served with lime in tortillas or alongside a broth made with drippings from the meat.

What's in Barbacoa Tacos

Spices: Cumin, Oregano, Ground Cloves, Cayenne powder,
Salt & Pepper, Onion powder, Minced Garlic

Liquid: Apple Cider vinegar, Lime juice, Beef broth

Chile: Chipotle in Adobo sauce

How to make Barbacoa Meat

  • Slow-cooker - Slow cooking takes beef cubes in barbacoa sauce to juicy melt-in-your-mouth perfection. 
  • Brown beef cubes in oil in a heavy bottom pan for 5 minutes. 
  • Transfer cubes into a slow cooker, add bay leaf and barbacoa sauce and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours.

Instant Pot -  Brown beef cubes on Saute mode on Instant Pot, then add Barbacoa sauce, bay leaf, and pressure cook for 50 minutes.

Barbacoa Tacos
Slow Cooker Method

  • When cooked, remove the bay leaf, and use 2 forks to pull apart the meat into bite-size pieces for tacos. 
  • Warm corn tortillas, place the meat into a tortilla and top with cheese, diced onion, and shredded lettuce. 

Other ways to use the Barbacoa meat recipe:

Burritos - Flour tortilla filled with barbacoa meat, rice, cheese, and guacamole.

Rice Bowl - Barbacoa meat, black beans, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, and guacamole served over a bowl of cilantro-lime rice.

Tostadas - Tostada shells topped with guacamole, barbacoa meat, cheese, and onions.

Barbacoa Tacos

Storing Barbacoa Meat
  • Barbacoa will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container
  • Leftover barbacoa will be good in the freezer for around three months in an airtight freezer bag

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Barbacoa Taco