How to Make Chipotle’s Beef Barbacoa

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This Chipotle’s beef barbacoa copycat recipe makes a slow cooker full of savory, spicy shredded beef for tacos, burritos, or Mexican bowls. 

beef barbacoa chipotle copycat

What is beef Barbacoa?

Beef barbacoa is simply a spicy Mexican shredded beef you’ll find in Mexican restaurants – Chipotle being one of the most popular. The shredded beef is used to make burrito bowls, tacos, and other Tex-Mex dishes. One of my favorite ways to use Beef Barbacoa is to make street tacos. 

How do you make beef Barbacoa in a slow cooker?

It is super easy to make beef Barbacoa using a slow cooker. Since you cut the roast into large pieces and brown them before cooking, you can use a casserole crockpot. I love this stainless one and use it more than my traditional slow cooker.  You simply sear your roast and finish cooking it in a slow cook in all the savory spices. Then, you shred it and return it to the sauce.  You can keep the beef for several days in the fridge or freeze it for up to 6 weeks.

beef barbacoa chipotle copycat

How to Make Street Tacos with Beef Barbacoa

Beef Barbacoa street tacos are so easy and yummy. Small taco shells (corn or flour) are what make street tacos unique, but you can use regular shells also (the flavor is the same:-) The tacos taste delicious and authentic with fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, and cojita cheese. Here are the ingredients that I use for making tacos with beef barbacoa: beef barbacoa, diced tomato, fresh cilantro, cheese (cojita or cheddar), and salsa. 

Is beef Barbacoa spicy?

Because of all of the added spices and ingredients, beef Barbacoa is a little bit spicy! Some of these spicier ingredients include red enchilada sauce, chopped green chilies, and chili powder. Along with adding some spice, these make the meat SO delicious and flavorful. If you think it might be too spicy, don’t worry! You can cool it down by topping it with some guacamole.

What can you do with leftover beef Barbacoa?

You can do so many different things with your leftover beef Barbacoa! You can add it to countless dishes, including dishes I mentioned like burrito bowls, tacos or enchiladas. Since this meat has so much flavor, it goes great in SO many things. It really spices up your normal recipes with some added flavor and fun!

How long do you need to cook beef Barbacoa?

Once you have put the meat in with the seasonings and additional ingredients, you should cook it in the slow cooker for about 6 hours. Slow cooking in all of the ingredients and delicious spices really sinks the flavor into the meat thoroughly. This creates that delicious, pull-apart meat you won’t be able to get enough of!


chipotle beef barbacoa


Watch Me Make Beef Barbacoa

Good sides for beef barbacoa.

If you want easy guacamole to serve with your tacos and Mexican feast, you might want to try this Perfect Guacamole in 5 Minutes or the unbelievable REAL Dos Caminos Guacamole. I also like to serve a good cheese dip as well.

I’d love to hear back from you if you try this recipe, so feel free to leave comments! I try to reply quickly to everyone who posts. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!

beef barbacoa chipotle copycat

Chipotle's Beef Barbacoa Copycat Recipe

Yield: 18
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours 4 seconds
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes 4 seconds

This spicy Mexican beef tastes very similar to the version served at Chipotle.


  • 3 1/2 - 5-pound rump or bottom round roast
  • 1 TB sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 tsp coarse ground pepper
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mild red enchilada sauce
  • 2 (4 oz) cans chopped green chilis
  • 1 TB EACH ground cumin & oregano
  • 1 tsp EACH garlic powder & onion powder
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, minced
  • juice from one lime (2 TB)
  • 2 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TB brown sugar
  • 1 TB Worcestershire
  • 1 TB liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp EACH chili powder & smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp EACH ground cloves & ground cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Heat oil in skillet.
  2. Cut roast into large pieces (6-7).
  3. Sprinkle meat with salt & pepper.
  4. Brown meat in hot oil until seared on all sides.
  5. Place seared meat with drippings into slow cooker.
  6. Place all other ingredients in bowl; whisk or blend well.
  7. Pour mixture over meat.
  8. Cook on high 4-5 hours or low 6-8 hours.
  9. Remove meat; place on cutting board.
  10. Shred meat with fork; place back in slow cooker.
  11. Stir shredded meat in sauce; let sit on warm until ready to serve.
  12. Serve meat on soft tortillas or with rice, beans, tortilla chips and other condiments.


Many recipes for beef barbacoa call for chuck roast; I think this cut is way too fatty. My butcher recommends rump or bottom roast. You could also try London broil.

Nutrition Information
Yield 18 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 311Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 107mgSodium 534mgCarbohydrates 5gNet Carbohydrates 0gFiber 1gSugar 3gSugar Alcohols 0gProtein 34g

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  1. Hi Twyla! I am so glad that you enjoyed the Beef Barbacoa! Thank you for sharing! I love easy and delicious options for dinner with friends, and this is always a hit. XoXo

  2. Your Beef Barbacoa was delicious!!!
    I made it with an organic bottom round roast, and it was perfect for a dinner with friends.

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