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Slow-Cooker Barbacoa

Total Time

Prep: 45 min. Cook: 7 hours


8 servings

My husband adores this barbacoa, which is beef roast simmered in lime juice, chipotle and cumin. He would eat it one a week if I would make it that often! We have it over rice with cilantro and a spritz of lime. —Aundrea McCormick, Denver, Colorado


  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 to 4 pounds)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • RICE:
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Optional: sliced radishes, fresh cilantro leaves and lime wedges


  1. Place the first 9 ingredients in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Add broth; pulse to combine.
  2. Place roast and bay leaves in a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker; pour sauce over top. Cook, covered, on low until meat is tender, 7-9 hours.
  3. Prepare rice about 30 minutes before serving. In a large saucepan, combine water, rice, butter and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat; gently stir in cilantro and lime juice.
  4. Remove roast from slow cooker; cool slightly. Discard bay leaves and skim fat from cooking juices. Shred beef with 2 forks; return to slow cooker. Serve with rice and, if desired, radishes, cilantro and limes.

Barbacoa Tips

What does barbacoa taste like?

Barbacoa is tender and juicy and has a good kick of spice from chipotle peppers. Feel free to adjust to your own level of spice preference.

What does barbacoa mean?

Barbacoa comes from the early indigenous Caribbean people’s cooking style of slow roasting meat seasoned with garlic, spices and chipotle peppers over fire. Its origins helped shape what we today call barbecue.

What kind of meat is barbacoa?

Barbacoa is typically made with beef, but it’s not uncommon for pork to be used as well. Research contributed by Maggie Knoebel, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant

Nutrition Facts

1/2 cup beef mixture with 2/3 cup cooked rice: 513 calories, 21g fat (9g saturated fat), 122mg cholesterol, 882mg sodium, 40g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 1g fiber), 37g protein.