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Shredded barbacoa beef in corn taco shells with diced onion, cilantro and radishes.

Beef Barbacoa Tacos Recipe

  • Author: Brit Kapustina
  • Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6
    • Prep Time: 20 minutes
    • Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
    • Category: main
    • Method: stovetop
    • Cuisine: Mexican


Shredded Beef Barbacoa

  • 3 pounds (1.4 kg) beef chuck roast
  • 1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 whole chipotles in adobo, chopped (plus several spoonfuls of adobo sauce)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) beef or chicken broth
  • lime juice from 2 limes
  • kosher salt to taste

For Serving

  • tortillas
  • chopped cilantro
  • diced white onion


  1. Cut the beef into large chunks of about 3 inches (8 cm), trimming any large pieces of fat. Generously season with salt on all sides.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the beef chunks on all sides until a nice brown crust develops. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. Transfer the seared beef to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the diced yellow onion to the pot and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the chipotles in adobo (along with a few extra spoonfuls of adobo sauce from the can), bay leaves, cumin and oregano. Mix and stir for several minutes.
  5. Pour a bit of broth into the pot and scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Pour in the remaining broth and return the beef to the pot.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 2-3 hours, or until the beef is tender and easily falls apart.
  7. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Transfer the shredded beef to a cutting board and shred using two forks. Return the beef to the sauce and mix well. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
  8. Squeeze the lime juice over the beef and mix to combine. Serve the beef barbacoa with tortillas, chopped cilantro and diced white onion.


Slow Cooker: To make this recipe in the slow cooker, transfer all ingredients (except the lime juice) to the slow cooker after searing the beef. Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Shred the beef, add the lime juice and enjoy!

Storage: Leftover beef barbacoa can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Keywords: barbacoa beef, beef barbacoa tacos