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Crock Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos

Hot off the press: a 4-ingredient shredded Barbacoa Beef Recipe that’ll knock your socks off. Made simply in the crock pot, this recipe for barbacoa beef tacos is also great in enchiladas, burritos, and more.

This post is sponsored by Rojo’s Salsa

Crock Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos made with only 4 ingredients! 5 minutes of prep is all it takes for this delicious recipe

Did you assume barbacoa beef required 17 bazillion ingredients, at least 3.2 days, the good tidings of technicolor mythical creatures, and magical fairy dust?

Because I did.

That is, until I made this recipe using only 4 ingredients, 10 minutes of time, my own wishful thinking, and a high-five from my neighbor.

Barbacoa is a type of cooking method that originates from the Caribbean.

Traditionally, barbacoa beef is slow-cooked over an open flame (barbecued, hence the name, barbacoa), or in a pit dug in the ground.

I didn’t realize this until I set out to prepare it at home and realized the authentic version is a far cry from how we tend to make it nowadays.

While I absolutely love the thought of preparing traditional barbacoa, I thought I’d bring you this insanely easy take on it.

Who knows? Maybe now that we know how little it takes, we’ll barbacoa more often!

Note: If you have converted to the ways of the Instant Pot, follow my recipe for Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef!

Slow cooker barbacoa beef tacos made with only 4 ingredients in your crock pot

This recipe is so silly simple, it’s actually quite comical.

Upon tasting the barbacoa beef, you’ll be shocked the recipe only calls for a few ingredients – it’s one of those meals you’ll happily make over and over because not only is it nice and tender and flavorful, but it requires so very little effort to come together.

Taco toppings? I kept this fiesta very simple. I serve up these tacos with microgreens and store-bought salsa. If I’m feeling frisky, I’ll whip up my Easy Salsa Verde.

Ingredients for Barbacoa Beef Tacos:

Beef: Use any cut of beef roast you like. I often use a bone-in beef roast but also use chuck roast occasionally.

Beef Broth

Ground Cumin

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Corn or Flour Tortillas

Toppings of Choice

I love pico de gallo, red onions or white onions, cilantro, and sometimes cotija cheese. I often use store-bought salsa, such as Rojo Salsa.

You may remember me raving about Rojo’s salsa in my post, How to Build the Ultimate Healthy Breakfast Bowls.

Crock Pot Barbacoa Beef - a super easy recipe that only requires 4 ingredients!
Crock Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos - an easy 4 ingredient recipe perfect for Cinco de Mayo

How to Make Barbacoa Beef:

The order of operations here is simple.

Blend adobo chilis with beef broth and cumin in a blender to create a sauce.

adobo sauce for barbacoa beef

Stick the beef in the crock pot, pour the sauce in, cover that puppy up, set it on low and cook for 8 to 12 hours.  I set up the recipe late one evening and had it going in the crock pot for a solid 12 hours. Once the meat it ready, shred it up and put it back in the crock to soak up some juices.

A couple notes about the recipe: I used a bone-in beef chuck roast and have also made this with beef brisket, but you can really use any type of beef roast. I love the way the both the roast and the brisket turned out because the fat marbled throughout the meat resulted in super tender shredded beef.  

You can also add onions and garlic to the crock pot, but I made the recipe without and thought it was bonkers delicious without.

How to Make Crispy Shredded Beef:

When I make barbacoa and carnitas in a crock pot, I like searing the shredded meat in a hot cast iron skillet to help give it a little crisp.

To do this, you simply heat your skillet to medium-high and once it’s all the way hot, use tongs to carefully add some of the shredded barbacoa beef.

You may want to turn on the vent and use a splatter screen, because the fat will begin to splatter all helter-skelter like. Let the meat sit, turning from time to time, until much of the liquid has burned off and the meat has a bit of a char to it.

Crock Pot Barbacoa Beef using only 4 ingredients and about 10 minutes of prep

Stick it on warm tortillas, add some fresh microgreens and a dollop (slash waterfall) of  salsa, and enjoy!

You can also use leftover barbacoa beef in my Barbacoa Beef Burrito Bowls recipe.

With Cinco de Mayo coming up, I’m thinking this is the perfect dish to make for entertaining friends and family.

It makes enough to comfortably feed 6 (more like 8), and one of the best parts to cooking in a slow cooker is the minimal post taco feast cleanup.

Because cooking should be one of the easiest things we do all day…

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this Crock Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag me at @The.Roasted.Root on Instagram!

White platter of barbacoa beef tacos

Crock Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos

Crock Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos are easy to prepare and packed with flavor
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
6 to 8 People


Barbacoa Beef:

For Serving:

  • Corn or flour tortillas, heated
  • Microgreens or shredded cabbage, optional
  • Salsa


Prepare the Barbacoa Beef:

  • Place the beef in your crock pot and sprinkle with salt. Add the broth, chilis in adobo sauce, and ground cumin to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour this mixture into the crock pot and cover. Set on low for 8 to 12 hours.
    adobo sauce for barbacoa beef
  • When the barbacoa beef is ready, transfer the beef roast to a cutting board and use two forks to shred it. Transfer the shreds back to the crock pot for 15 minutes (or more) to absorb the juices.
    Shredded beef on a cutting board.

Prepare the Tacos:

  • If you love crispy barbacoa beef, heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high. Transfer some of the barbacoa beef (just enough for 1 layer) to the hot skillet and allow it to cook, stirring every 2 minutes or so, until the beef is nice and crispy, about 6 to 8 minutes total. Repeat this process until you have enough crispy beef for serving. If you're fine with tender shredded beef, you can skip this step and go straight to taco formation.
  • Heat up your choice of flour or corn tortillas. Load the tortillas up with  barbacoa beef and micro greens, and top them off with store-bought or homemade salsa.


Serving: 1Taco (of 20)Calories: 265kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 16gFat: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 1g
Course: Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: barbacoa beef tacos, chipotle barbacoa, crock pot, easy barbacoa beef, shredded beef, slow cooker, taco recipe
Servings: 6 to 8 People
Calories: 265kcal
Author: Julia

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Recipe Rating

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Laureen C Viets

Friday 16th of April 2021

I made the InstantPot version of this, mostly because it called for Oregano, too. I used beef cheek, a delicious but very tough cut of meat. The IP version calls for lime juice and vinegar as well, and I'm guessing they are included to help digest and tenderize the meat. I pressure-cooked it on high for about one hour, and the cheek came out fall-off-the bone tender. It was the yummiest meat I have ever eaten. I was so happy with the IP recipe, I have decided to use it for a slow-cooked hamburger loaf. Of course it's not a tough cut of meat, but I'm hoping the ground meat will absorb the great flavor and make super tacos/burritos, or meat toppings for my keto-salads and noodles. It's an experiment. I am also planning on pressure cooking some tripe with this recipe. I used a whole 4 oz can of Costa Chipotles, and while I very much appreciate the great kick of heat these provided, Ithought the sauce was a little sweet. SUPER RECIPE


Tuesday 20th of April 2021

I'm so happy you like it, Laureen! Thank you so much for the glowing review :) xoxoxo


Saturday 26th of August 2017

These look wonderful! YUM! This would be a big hit with my family.


Friday 5th of May 2017

uhhh, yeah. my only concern is how many of these I can see myself taking down in one sitting... hint: too many. they look amaaaazing!

Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness

Friday 28th of April 2017

I am probably WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY behind, but I love your new blog look! (Sorry if it's been like eleventy billion years!) Also crock pot barbacoa beef tacos? COME TO MAMA. These tacos are made for my face. and Friday...which it juuuust happens to be. I see a margarita with a taco in my face's future.


Friday 28th of April 2017

I honestly cannot wait to try this. I LOVE slow cooker recipes!! They save me. I also thought barbacoa consisted of 17 kazillion ingredients haha - thanks for the back story on this!

Have a great weekend Julia! :)

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