Let’s learn how to make Chipotle’s famous Barbacoa at home and even better! The beef is so juicy and tender and packed with so much flavor from the adobo and lime juice. It’s the perfect addition to any burrito, salad, bowl, or even tacos.
What is Barbacoa
Fun fact, the word barbeque actually comes from barbacoa which is a Caribbean Indian word to describe a method of cooking involving steaming in an underground oven according to The Spruce Eats. It’s typically prepared with red meat like beef, lamb, or most commonly goat but in this recipe we will be using beef just like Chipotle.
Chipotle starts with shoulder meat to make their barbacoa and it’s flavored with bay leaf, black pepper, chipotle chili peppers, cloves, cumin, garlic, oregano, salt, rice bran oil, and water. It’s incredible juicy, tender, and seasoned to perfection as is this remake!
What You Will Need
The ingredients are super simple and if you’ve ever made the copycat Chipotle Chicken recipe on the blog, everything will seem very familiar.
For the choice of meat, we will be using beef chuck roast. Since barbacoa is cooked under pressure or slow cooked over a long period of time, tougher meats work better!
The most important ingredient in this recipe is canned chipotle peppers in adobo paste. You can find it at any major grocery store in the “hispanic foods” aisle. We will be using both the adobo paste and the peppers in this recipe. The paste is not spicy but the peppers are. It adds a beautiful smokey taste and without it, this dish would not be complete.
Another important ingredient in this recipe is lime juice. Acidity helps to break down the meat so it turns out super tender. It’s very common to use apple cider vinegar too but I just prefer lime juice since the citrus taste is delicious and vibrant.
Then we have all the spices! Chipotle only uses cloves, cumin, garlic, oregano, and salt but we’ll use a few more.
- Black pepper
- Chili powder
The beef broth also adds so much flavor! Highly recommend sticking to using beef broth but if you can only use water, just season a lot more generously.
The only ingredient left is bay leaf. Just remember to take them out after cooking.
You can also add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste to this recipe if you’d like. I tried it the second time making this recipe and loved it!
How to Make It
If you have an Instant Pot, it’ll be the best way to make it since it’s done in just about an hour on high pressure.
If using a slow cooker, sear it on a pan over the stove or in the pot of the slow cooker if it allows. It will cook on high for about 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 7 hours, just until the meat is fork tender and falling apart.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot or slow cooker, you can cook it in the oven! Just sear with oil in an oven-safe pot over the stove on each side for about 3 minutes or until browned. Add the rest of the ingredients and then pop it in the oven at 300°F for about 3 hours or until fork tender.
Regardless of what method you use, you have to sear the chuck roast on all sides to get some nice browning which will add an insane amount of flavor to this.
After searing the meat, you’ll set it aside and add the beef broth, spices, lime juice, garlic, bay leaf, adobo paste, chipotle peppers to the pot. Add the meat back in and cook it according to the method of choice.
The meat is done when it’s fork tender. Transfer only the meat to a bowl and shred it. Pour some of the juices over the shredded meat and mix all together. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS
Turn it into a rice bowl with Chipotle Copycat Cilantro Lime Rice, black beans, roasted corn, pico, avocado, sour cream, lettuce, and fajitas! Pick your favorite toppings.
You can also turn it into a salad, burrito, or use the barbacoa in tacos.
If you tried this recipe and loved it, drop by down below and let me know how you liked it with a rating and comment! Feel free to also leave a question there about this recipe and I’ll get right back to it.
- 2 ½ pounds beef chuck roast
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 7 ounce can chipotle peppers adobo sauce use all the adobo paste but ONLY 2 peppers
- 3/4 cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- juice of 2 limes
- 2 bay leaves
USING INSTANT POT
- Turn the instant pot on to saute mode on the highest heat.
- Once hot, add the vegetable oil and the chuck roast. Brown on each side for about 45 seconds and take out of the pot. Turn off saute mode.
- Add the beef broth, minced garlic, all the spices, lime juice, and bay leaves. Mix it all together.
- Transfer the chuck roast back into the pot and secure the lid on. Make sure the vent is sealed and turn it on to high pressure for 1 hour.
- After one hour, open the vent to release the steam.
- Take the chuck roast out of the instant pot and shred it with a fork. It should be very tender and easy to shred.
- Add a little bit of the juice in the instant pot to the shredded meat. I added about ⅔ cup but feel free to add as much juices back as you’d like.
- Mix it all together and enjoy in a rice bowl, salad, or burrito!