Barbacoa (Mexican Slow Cooked Shredded Beef)

Photo Taken by Nicole Ramos

I’ve been living in the southwest for half my life and there is no better place where you can find the best Mexican food around.  Nothing quite beats having the perfect enchiladas.  So I set out to make the best and most authentic Mexican shredded beef to fill my tacos and enchiladas with.  I’ve researched and asked local friends how they make theirs.  Through some experimentation, I’ve finally come up with the best recipe.

Barbacoa originally consisted of slow-cooking a cow’s head over an open fire.  It has now come to refer the process of which slow-cooking any type of meat (lamb, pork or beef) over an open fire.  I don’t condone setting an open fire in your kitchen, so my recipe uses the next best thing, a crock pot!

Prep Time: Cook Time: Level: Serves:
15 min. 5-6 hours Easy 8


  • 1-2 lb     beef chuck roast
  • 1 TBS     oil (olive, vegetable or canola)
  • 1 lg.        onion (chopped)
  • 4 clvs     garlic (minced)
  • 2 TBS     tomato paste
  • 1 lg         tomato (diced)
  • 3-5          bay leaves (optional)
  • 1              4 oz. can of roasted green chilies (diced)
  • 2 TBS     Mexican Seasoning*

*Substitution for Mexican Seasoning

  • 2 tsp      chili powder
  • 1 ½ tsp  cumin
  • ½ tsp     cayenne
  • ½ tsp     paprika
  • ½ tsp     oregano
  • ½ tsp     salt
  • ½ tsp     black pepper

**NOTE:  For a spice kick, I like to substitute the tomato paste for the Mexican salsa El Pato sauce. **


  1. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat.  Start to season both sides of the chuck roast and then sear both sides of chuck roast (3 min on each side)
  2. Place chuck roast in slow cooker
  3. Add onions to the pan with juices.  Cook until onions sweat (≈ 2 min.), then add garlic.  Sauté for an additional 2 min.
  4. Add tomato sauce, green chilies and tomatoes until all mixed up into a chunky sauce.
  5. Pour mixture over chuck roast.  Add bay leaves (optional)
  6. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  7. Shred beef and return to juices in crock pot.  Serve with a side of Spanish rice and warm tortillas. 

Like I mentioned earlier, you can use this meat in enchiladas, tacos, burritos, the possibilities are endless.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s