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Slow-Cooker Barbacoa

My husband adores this barbacoa, which is beef roast simmered in lime juice, chipotle and cumin. He would eat it one a week if I would make it that often! We have it over rice with cilantro and a spritz of lime. —Aundrea McCormick, Denver, Colorado
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. Cook: 7 hours
  • Makes
    8 servings


  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 to 4 pounds)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • RICE:
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice


  • Place the first 9 ingredients in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Add broth; pulse to combine.
  • Place roast and bay leaves in a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker; pour sauce over top. Cook, covered, on low until meat is tender, 7-9 hours.
  • Prepare rice about 30 minutes before serving. In a large saucepan, combine water, rice, butter and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat; gently stir in cilantro and lime juice.
  • Remove roast from slow cooker; cool slightly. Discard bay leaves and skim fat from cooking juices. Shred beef with 2 forks; return to slow cooker. Serve with rice.

Barbacoa Tips

What does barbacoa taste like?

Barbacoa is tender and juicy and has a good kick of spice from chipotle peppers. Feel free to adjust to your own level of spice preference.

What does barbacoa mean?

Barbacoa comes from the early indigenous Caribbean people’s cooking style of slow roasting meat seasoned with garlic, spices and chipotle peppers over fire. Its origins helped shape what we today call barbecue.

What kind of meat is barbacoa?

Barbacoa is typically made with beef, but it’s not uncommon for pork to be used as well. Research contributed by Maggie Knoebel, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant
Nutrition Facts
1/2 cup beef mixture with 2/3 cup cooked rice: 513 calories, 21g fat (9g saturated fat), 122mg cholesterol, 882mg sodium, 40g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 1g fiber), 37g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Michael
    Nov 11, 2020

    We really enjoyed this creation. But I added 2 tspn dried thyme and substituted 1 cup of red wine with 1 tspn of Better Than Bouillon beef base for the chicken broth.

  • jahorn1214
    Aug 1, 2020

    Not bad, but it needed ummphh. I omitted the cloves bc personally, I despise the flavor. When it was done cooking, I sampled the sauce and it was meh, at best. It had the heat, but the flavor just was meh. So I added about 1 1/2 tbsp of chili powder and 2 tsp of garlic salt and that punched up the flavor quite a bit. Now I’m happy with it.

  • vpmommy
    May 23, 2020

    This was amazing. I made it exactly as it appears in the recipe. The spice was perfect. The rice was so flavorful as well. This is a keeper for my family!

  • Mary
    May 5, 2020

    This was fabulous!!! Husband and both kiddos asked for seconds for both the meat and rice and said they could eat it every night! The only substitutions I made was with the rice, used olive oil in place of butter, brown rice, chicken stock and less salt because of salt. Delicious!!

  • Meka
    Feb 18, 2020

    My family loved this recipe. We found it flavorful and not spicy at all. Some ate it as a taco on flour tortillas with the usual fixings, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, sour cream, hot sauce and some ate is as a “bowl” layering it: rice , meat, and the taco toppings. I froze the extra liquid to make into a gravy, add to soups or anything else I can think of.

  • Dlfnsrgr8t
    Dec 29, 2019

    I love this recipe. I made it as is and it is flavorful and filling. I did find lime-cilantro rice that is FANTASTIC at my store, and I swear it tastes just like I made it from scratch. This dish is a keeper!

  • Quintella
    Sep 29, 2019

    Love this recipe!! Will be doing this one again.

  • kimspacc
    Jun 1, 2019

    Loved the rice. It was delicious!

  • dollargirl
    May 2, 2019

    This recipe is wonderful and I've made it so many times!

  • kredhead
    Feb 27, 2019

    This was really flavorful