Mrawrrrrrrr. Today’s Slow-Cooker Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe makes me purr. I can’t help myself. Garlicky, tender, shredded beef braised low and slow in a spicy, smoky, flavourful barbecue sauce. It doesn’t hurt matters that it cooks all day (or all night!) while you run errands or do yardwork or try desperately not to eat the contents of the pantry while you smell this simmering in the fragrant barbecue sauce. Or is that just me?
This Slow-Cooker Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe is the jumping off point for a whole host of meals, which is why I call for such a large cut of chuck roast. I’m aware that 6 to 8 pounds is a great deal of meat, but it fits easily into most slow-cookers, and since you have it going all that time, and the end results of the recipe freeze so incredibly nicely, you might as well get the most bang you can for your energy and food buck. Even for a family my size, this yields several meals worth of entree portions.
What are some of the magical ways you can serve our Slow-Cooker Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe?
- In warmed corn tortillas with a handful of chopped onions, some fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime for a Mexican style taco.
- Not a corn tortilla fan? Serve in crispy taco shells or flour tortillas with your favourite taco toppings. You’ll be in heaven!
- Ready for burrito night? Serve rolled up in a flour tortilla with refried beans, some cilantro lime rice, a sprinkling of cheese, some sour cream, a little salsa, some pickled onions, and some avocado cubes or any variation on the burrito theme.
- Serve on top of hot rice with your favourite taco or burrito fillings for a Taco or Burrito Bowl. This is great for a nutritious, filling, crowd-pleasing meal on busy family nights.
- Serve over a baked Russet or sweet potato for a Barbacoa Baker. A dollop of sour cream or crema (or again, those taco toppings…) would make this a filling and delicious option.
- Nacho time, of course. Serve over hot tortilla chips baked with cheese on them (and perhaps Candied Jalapenos?) for some memorable nachos.
- Mix into your favourite queso dip recipe for some serious sustenance and flavour.
- A fork. Just use a fork, man.
- Chuck roasts are a great cut for this Slow-Cooker Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa because it’s a selection of beef that has a lot of tissues to break down in the braising process. Additionally, those connective tissues add a velvety texture to the final sauce that you just can’t get from a leaner piece of beef. This could also be made with the easier to trim (and far more expensive) flank steak.
- Trim as much of the visible fat as is possible from the outside of the roast (and any large fat veins on the inside) before cutting into 2-inch-ish cubes.
- I’ve included an optional step in the recipe, but I do recommend it unless you’re unequivocally morally opposed to cooking anything before it goes into the slow-cooker. I DO heartily recommend taking the 5 or 10 minutes it takes to brown the chuck before soaking it in the barbacoa sauce. Why? It’s not to seal in moisture. That’s an old wive’s tale. It’s add another level of WOWZA to the flavour profile. It adds depth to the beef. Can you make this without browning it? Absolutely. Will it still be delicious? Yep. But do I recommend browning it? Yes, I do. Try it both ways and see which way you prefer it.
- I mention that you can use beef or chicken broth or a lager beer in the recipe. It will be equally delicious if different with each of those three options. Don’t be tempted to go for a hoppy micro-brew in this situation as the hops may compete with the chipotles in adobo. A lighter lager style is where it’s at.
- I do suggest you let the beef cubes soak in the sauce overnight to marinate thoroughly. I HAVE, however, been in a hurry and cooked it within roughly 25 seconds of pouring the sauce over the beef. It was delicious. The one that marinated overnight was even better, though. Consider yourself informed.
- After the beef has cooked to the point where it shreds quite easily with a fork, you have a couple of options. If you have a ton of liquid in the slow-cooker, you can dip it out into a pan using a ladle and put the pan over medium heat until the liquid reduces by half or more and thickens. Pour back into the slow-cooker with the beef and use two forks to shred the beef.
- Freeze any thoroughly cooled leftovers in air-tight containers or zipper top freezer bags in single meal portions. Date and label those bags so you don’t forget what’s in them. That will make it easier to use on the fly.
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- 6 to 8 pounds boneless chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or canola oil
- 6 chipotles in adobo with sauce
- 1 large white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth or lager beer
- ⅔ cup apple cider vinegar (preferably raw)
- ¼ cup lime juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons oregano (preferably Mexican oregano, but all oregano will do!)
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- Drizzle the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Brown the beef cubes on all sides in batches (you do not want to overcrowd the pan).
- Add the beef (whether you've browned it or not) to the crock of a slow-cooker. Add the chipotles in adobo, onion, garlic, broth or beer, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, cumin, oregano, ground cloves, salt, and black pepper to a blender and blend on high until smooth. Toss the bay leaves on top of the beef, pour the contents of the blender over the contents, stir., and cover Let the beef stand overnight to marinate. In the morning, add the crock to the slow-cooker, turn the temperature to LOW. Cook 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH, or until the beef shreds very easily with a fork. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Use two forks to shred the meat in the sauces.
- Serve the shredded Barbacoa with sauces over rice, in corn tortillas with onion and cilantro, in burritos, soups, on nachos, or just with a fork!
Accompany Slow-Cooker Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa with these delicious recipes: