Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos

Story by Natalie
Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos
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Recently, in one of my deep thought shower sessions (I'm sure I'm not the only one who saves all of life’s important decision making and planning for the solace of the shower) I started counting the number of times my husband and I have been invited over to someone’s house for dinner in our eight years of marriage. I’m not sure how or why my thoughts strayed to the subject, but once I began to think of it, I was shocked at how few invitations there have been. Surely, the low number was for one of three reasons; either we aren’t cool enough, we have too many kids, or people just aren't comfortable hosting any more.  

This meat is so juicy and flavorful once finished that my kids ate it TWO meals in a row...

After much thought I decided that because both my husband and I own leather jackets it can’t be reason one. As for the kid factor, they’ve never broken anything at anyone’s homes, I bathe them semi regularly, and though I have no recollection of life before them, they in fact have not been with us the entire eight years. And so, I am left to believe that the real reason we’ve been invited over to friend’s homes for a meal (not parties, there's always plenty of those) so seldomly is because people get overwhelmed by the idea of hosting a sit down meal.

As we've shared with you countless times before, Holly and I have made it our mission to eliminate the intimidation factor associated with hosting and cooking for others. We strive to make this blog and its contents an encouragement to you to open up your home and share your table one recipe at a time. You don't need a spotless house, or even a perfect family. All you really need is good food. And while the barbacoa tacos I'm sharing today are far from fancy, they are damn good.

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos

I promise you that you can't screw up this recipe. It's impossible. It will be good despite however poor a cook you believe yourself to be. Just put all the ingredients into your slow cooker and turn it on. Leave your house, get a pedicure, have a thought provoking shower, get caught up on The Bachelor: the options of what you can do with all that free time are endless. Then, after four hours have passed, shred the meat with a fork and cover to cook for two additional hours. And that's it! Admittedly, traditional barbacoa is a much more complex process. (But who cares? We aren't trying to make you a complex host.) However, as long as you have a cut of beef with high fat content, you’re good.

This meat is so juicy and flavorful once finished that my kids ate it TWO meals in a row (that never happens). In our house we keep it simple by topping it with cilantro, onions, and radishes, but if you have the time throw together some guacamole, chips, salsa and/or pico you're ready for company any night of the week. See? You can totally nail this hosting thing.

If you’re wondering, the number was 16. We've been invited over for dinner a measly sixteen times in the eight years since we've been married. That’s twice per year folks! I think we can all agree to do better in this department, so hurry up and call your best friends over for tacos. You’ll probably make their day and find you're a much more capable host than you've given yourself credit for.

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos

Serves 10


4 lbs chuck roast, cut into 3-4" pieces
1 large white onion, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 ccup beef stock
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 chipotle chillies in adobo sauce roughly chopped, plus remaining sauce from the container
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper


In a large slow cooker add meat, onions, garlic and bay leaves. In a small bowl stir together remaining ingredients and pour over the meat.

Set slow cooker to high for 4 hours or low for 8. Once cooked remove ½ cup of fat off the top of the meat as well as any large pieces of fat that cooked off the meat. Discard in trash. (Never pour animal fat down your sink drain). Using a two forks shred the beef and return to pot. Allow to cook on low for 2 more hours.

Serve with warm tortillas, onions, cilantro and radishes or whatever fixings you like. Alternatively use this meat for quesadillas, loaded sweet potatoes, nachos or taco salad.

Note: This meat freezes well.