Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven Shredded Beef Barbacoa has loads of flavor & a little kick. Stuff tacos or lettuce leaves for a low-carb, gluten-free meal.
My sister clued me in to this recipe. We both get a quarter of beef every year. And we are both astonished that the quarters seem to have, like 87 chuck roasts. Well, one less today!
I love it when I get to taste a new recipe before I make it. Yes, I wish I could share a bite with you! But will it help if I tell you that this Shredded Beef Barbacoa was a hit in two families?
I had never heard of Barbacoa before, so I decided to look it up. Per the Encyclopedia Britannica, Barbacoa is “a method of cooking meat that originated in Mexico… Traditionally, lamb or goat is slow roasted for several hours in a pit that is topped with maguey leaves… seasoning, marinades and spices are often added during the cooking process”
Of course the equivalent in a modern kitchen is probably a well-seasoned, slow-cooked pot roast that is turned into shredded beef! Yum again!
The recipe, based on one from The Real Food RDs (my sister is a registered dietitian), was designed for a slow cooker. But staying in my “cabin up north,” well, I didn’t have a slow cooker. But a Dutch Oven worked great.
I do need to warn you about one thing. The smell of this cooking nearly drove me crazy. So I was seriously excited when it was finally cam out of the oven. My first reaction was that this would be amazing in a Chimichanga. But since I’m still low-carb, it was lettuce leaves for me.
The final product is very versatile and could be used in tacos or buriitos, stuffed into lettuce leaves or used in a rice bowl or salad.
Gotta love versatile!
Shredded Beef Barbacoa
- Optional: 1 T oil
- 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast cut into 2-inch cubes and trimmed of fat
- 4 cloves garlic minced (or 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder)
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
- ½ medium onion chopped
- Juice from 2 limes about ¼ cup
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup water or stock
- Optional first step: Salt, then in two batches, brown beef cubes in oil in your Dutch oven. Deglaze the pan with the water or stock
- Place all (remaining) ingredients in the Dutch oven or slow cooker. Stir to combine. Place lid on.
- Cook in slow cooker on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours or until meat is tender and shreds easily. If using a Dutch oven, cook at 300 F for about 4 hours until very tender.
- When meat pulls apart easily, remove from pan and shred the beef. Discard the bay leaves and stir the sauce in. If there is enough flavorful crust on the pan sides, optionally deglaze with a little water. Add to the sauce and meat mixture and if too wet, return to pan and simmer briefly.
- Serve with tortillas or lettuce leaves, garnishing with your choice of chopped tomatoes, onions, avocado, lime, cilantro …
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