Looking for an EASY slow cooker beef barbacoa recipe? Look no further – this super simple Mexican Shredded Beef uses your crock pot to set it and forget it! Fantastic for tacos, enchiladas, nachos, burrito bowls and more, this slow cooker shredded beef tastes incredible!
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Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Beef doesn’t get easier than this!
Bust out your crock pot – it’s taco time! This flavorful, tender, juicy beef barbacoa recipe is not only fantastic for tacos, it’s also great for enchiladas, sheet pan nachos, healthy burrito bowls and more.
This slow cooker Mexican shredded beef is great to make on the weekend and enjoy for meals throughout the week. You can also set you slow cooker in the morning, and when you come home from work, dinner is waiting!
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How do you make Beef Barbacoa?
- First, start by browning a chuck roast or brisket on all sides that have been rubbed with seasoning. You can do this in your slow cooker using the browning setting OR in a large skillet over high heat.
- Next, add beef broth, garlic and chilis in adobo sauce to the slow cooker along with the roast that has been cut into large chunks. Slow cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
- Before serving, remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred with forks. Place meat back into the liquid to keep warm and serve right away for tacos or use for enchiladas, nachos, burritos or taco salads.
**For exact ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions be sure to scroll down to the full recipe at the bottom of this post. Thanks!
What kind of meat is barbacoa?
Traditionally, in the United States, barbacoa uses parts of the head of a cow, typically cheeks. In Mexico, beef head meat is used along with goat meat. Because these cuts of beef are very hard to find in most places in the US, a chuck roast or brisket is more commonly used.
Do you need to brown meat before cooking in slow cooker?
Technically, you do not need to brown or sear meat before putting it into a slow cooker. The advantage of browning or searing the outside of the meat is to make the meat more flavorful and add a caramelized texture and flavor to the beef.
Is it okay to put raw meat in a slow cooker?
Yes. It is safe to add raw meat to a slow cooker. This appliance is designed to cook meats on low temperatures for long periods of time, cooking the meats through completely.
Step 2: Shred the beef
You’ll know the meat is done when it begins to fall apart. Transfer the chunks of meat to a cutting board and shred with two forks.
What cut of beef is best for shredding?
For this Mexican shredded beef, I used chuck roast. You can also use shoulder or eye roasts or brisket.
Does a slow cooker make meat tender?
Yes. Slow cookers are great for cooking tougher, large cuts of meat. Because the cookers cook on low temperatures for long periods of time, it tenderizes the protein fibers. Make sure you have enough liquid in the slow cooker to ensure the meat does not dry out or become tough.
Other than tacos, what else can I use this Mexican Shredded Beef in?
This Mexican shredded beef is great to make on a weekend to have on hand for quick, weeknight meals ready to assemble in minutes. Here are some ideas beyond tacos where you would use this Mexican shredded beef:
- Sheet Pan Nachos for watching your favorite game!
- Filling for my Sour Cream Enchiladas
- Protein in a Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl – Healthy Option!
- Substitute this Shredded Beef in these Ground Beef Enchiladas with Red Sauce
- Protein in a healthy, delicious Taco Salad
How long will Mexican Shredded Beef last?
This slow cooker Mexican shredded beef will keep refrigerated, in an airtight container for 5-7 days.
Love Tacos? Check out some of my other fantastic taco recipes:
- Rotisserie Chicken Tacos
- Baked Chicken Tacos
- Healthy Shrimp Tacos
- Salmon Tacos
- 10-Minute Ground Beef Tacos
- Easy Taco Casserole
What should I serve with beef tacos?
Corn or flour tortillas, sliced avocados, sliced jalapenos, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, sour cream, lettuce and shredded cheese. Additionally, salsas, dips and guac are a must.
Here are a few of my favorite toppings and sides that go great with tacos, enchiladas, nachos and burrito bowls:
- Classic Pico de Gallo Salsa
- Homemade Taco Sauce Recipe
- Loaded Guacamole
- Southwestern Corn Salsa
- Hot Queso Blanco Dip
If you loved this delicious slow cooker recipe, check out some of my other slow cooker dinner ideas:
- Crock Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken
- Slow Cooker Pulled Beef
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- Balsamic Steak Sandwiches
- Sirloin Beef Stew
- Sausage and Lentil Soup
- Cheesy Spaghetti and Meatballs at Real Housemoms
Here’s the EASY recipe for my Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa recipe:
- 3-4 lb. beef chuck roast or beef brisket
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
- 4 chilis in adobo sauce (comes in a can)
- 1 (14 oz) can, beef broth
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- Place the roast on a large cutting board or work-surface. Sprinkle the homemade taco seasoning on all sides of the meat, using it as a dry rub.
- Heat a large skillet over high heat, and sear each side of the roast for 2-3 minutes each.**If your slow cooker has a browning setting, I would recommend using it for this step so you don't have an extra pan to clean.
- Transfer browned meat to a CLEANED cutting board or work surface, and cut meat into large 4" pieces. This will help the meat cook faster and make shredding quicker once the meat is cooked.
- To your slow cooker, add the chilis, beef broth, garlic and meat.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Once the meat is done, transfer back to a CLEAN cutting board and shred with two forks. Transfer shredded meat back to slow cooker to keep warm for serving right away.
I highly recommend using homemade taco seasoning for this recipe. Its far superior to the store-bought mix.
Chilis in Adobo sauce come in a small 7 oz. can and are found in the International foods section of your grocery store. You won't use the entire can, so I recommend freezing the remaining chilis in a zip-loc freezer bag to be used later.