Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

5 stars average

A slow cooker version of everyone's favorite Mexican specialty, this beef barbacoa recipe is ideal for feeding a crowd!

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 10 minutes

Beef Barbacoa Tacos

A weeknight slow cooker version of everyone’s favorite Mexican specialty, this beef barbacoa recipe is ideal for feeding a crowd!

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa 1

With kids back in school, many people working from home, and the holidays coming up, life can be a bit crazy. However, with everything going on we still have to eat dinner too, right? Right? Since I know this time of year could not possibly be more hectic, I’ve got a super flavorful slow cooker dinner recipe: Mexican Beef Barbacoa! 

barbocoa beef
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa Crockpot

Slow cooker recipes are the perfect solution when you don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen but still want to provide your family with a healthy and delicious dinner. For example, I assemble meals like this Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken or my Slow Cooker Healthy Turkey Chili in the morning (or the night before) and leave them to cook throughout the day. Then, when we’re ready for dinner they are waiting, and the whole house smells amazing.

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa Seasoning
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa Crockpot Seasoning

A client of mine gave me this Beef Barbacoa recipe during our visit to the JW Marriott Cancun earlier this year. His mother is a chef there in Mexico and he was gracious enough to spill all of her secrets. So, of course, I’m here to share them with all of you.

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa with Lime
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa Broth
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa Finished

Packed with warm spices like whole cloves, cumin and oregano, Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa is ideal for feeding large crowds. If I’m not entertaining, I still make the large batch and reserve leftover shredded beef to use throughout the week in soups, salads, tacos, quesadillas and more!

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa Tacos

Frequently Asked Questions:

What kind of meat is barbacoa?

In the United Sates, barbacoa is typically prepared using using parts of the head of cattle. However, in northern Mexico it is most commonly made with goat meat.

Is this recipe freezer-friendly?

Yes! While this recipe will be best fresh, it can be frozen for later use.

Does this recipe work in the oven?

Using the slow cooker ensures that the meat comes out tender and juicy, but oven methods can be utilized.

Liz with Beef Barbacoa Taco

The options are endless. Your fork is waiting.

Beef Barbacoa Tacos

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef

5 stars average
A slow cooker version of everyone’s favorite Mexican specialty, this beef barbacoa recipe is ideal for feeding a crowd!
PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 8 hours
TOTAL: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12



  • 6 pounds beef chuck roast
  • 7 leaves bay
  • 5 cloves whole
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 chile de árbol (optional)
  • 6 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 1 lime juiced
  • corn tortillas (minced cilantro and onion – to serve)


  • Place all ingredients in slow cooker and heat on low for 8 hours.
  • Remove roasts from the slow cooker and toss cloves and bay leaves. Let rest for 10 minutes before shredding with two forks.
  • Return shredded beef to slow cooker and sprinkle with lime juice. Serve with corn tortillas, cilantro and minced onion.


Calories: 560kcalCarbohydrates: 0.5gProtein: 44.6gFat: 40.8gSaturated Fat: 16.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 24.3gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 1338mgFiber: 0gSugar: 0g

For more Healthy Slow Cooker meals, check out my Pinterest page!

22 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef”

      1. Yesterday (Jan 27,2002). I was able to get in on an out of this world sale on both Chuck roast and pork shoulder roast at .98 a pound for either!

        I have now completely filled one of my freezers and look forward to making not only this dish this week but also slow cooked carnitas and many other delicious Mexican dishes. Just need to pick up a couple of sacks of masa for fresh corn tortillas.

  1. Looking forward to making this! A couple questions: Would you recommend browning the meat before cooking? And secondly, will the lime juice get bitter cooking so long?

    1. You can brown the meat first! But you don’t have to. You can add the lime juice before or after cooking if you’re worried, but I don’t find that it does!

  2. Liz, one pic shows you squeezing what appears to be an orange into the slow cooker pot but lime juice is listed. Hmmm?

  3. I bought a chuck roast this morning with the intention of looking on your site for something other than pot roast. Threw this in the crockpot on high for four hrs. Served it with Vigo cilantro lime rice. It is OUTSTANDING!!

  4. You mentioned that you used this throughout the week. …. I don’t cook much meat for my family but would love to try this. Do you need to freeze the extra or is it ok in the fridge?

  5. I made this overnight and had some for dinner today.. I cannot get over how AMAZING it tasted! First time making chuck roast and for sure not the last. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This sounds both easy and delicious. Perfect for those of us who live on the border with Mexico… I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a great new year.

  7. Sign me up for a big batch of this! It’s perfect for all the holiday visitors we have coming our way over the next few weeks, but I’d also make it just for our family so we could eat it ALL THE TIME! Delicious. And oh so easy. Yum! Pinning and can’t wait to try it! XO

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