Tacos de Barbacoa

For some reason I have always been intimidated by large roasts and the braising process. I guess it’s fear of the unknown. But after making barbacoa I’m not sure why I was so scared; it was one of the easiest dinners I have made.

If you have been to Chipotle you are at least somewhat familiar with barbacoa. It’s tender, juicy and packs a spicy kick of flavor.

This is a great recipe to make if you are having a large group of people over. You can start it in the morning, it won’t over cook, and when everyone arrives you just put out the toppings bar and heat up the tortillas! It’s easy, not a big mess, and not too expensive either!


  • 4 pounds boneless chuck roast, excess fat removed
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice from one lime
  • 3-4 canned chipotle chiles with the adobo sauce (not 3-4 cans, 3-4 peppers)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • A few teaspoons ground cumin
  • A few teaspoons dried oregano (I couldn’t find Mexican oregano in the grocery store)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • Ancho chili powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Corn tortillas
  • Diced white onion, chopped cilantro and lime wedges for garnish


  • Optional: Buy the beef the night before and put a rub on it (salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper) and place in the fridge over night.

  • Preheat the oven to 275°.
  • You should take your meat out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature before cooking.
  • Heat oil in a very large pot that is oven safe (I recommend le crueset) set over high heat until it begins to simmer. Sear the beef on all sides until deeply browned, about 10 minutes.

  • While you are searing the meat, combine the cider vinegar, lime juice, chipotle chiles, garlic cloves, cumin, oregano, clove, chili powder, black pepper and salt in the bowl of a food processor or blender and puree until completely smooth — about a minute or so.
  • When you are done searing all sides of the beef, add the chile puree to the pot and stir until the beef is well-coated. Add the chicken stock and bay leaves and bring the liquid to a boil.


  • Place the pot in the oven.
  • You want the meat to braise for 5-6 hours. At the end, I remove the lid and let it simmer on the stove to reduce the broth down.
  • Allow the beef to cool slightly, spoon off any easily removable fat from the braising liquid and then use two forks to pull/shred the beef into bite size pieces. (You may want to check a few hours in that there is still enough liquid in the pot, if not, add more chicken broth or some beer because why not?)
  • We took ours out after 4.5 hours and I don’t know how it could have been any better. The meat just fell apart.
  • Taste and adjust as necessary for seasonings–usually I add salt after I pull the meat apart.
  • Serve spooned onto warm corn tortillas topped with diced white onion, fresh cilantro and fresh squeezed lime juice. A cold beer doesn’t hurt either! 🙂



What to do with leftovers? Instead of having tacos again I heated up a can of black beans with cilantro, white onion and fresh lime juice. I also made some brown rice and topped with the barbacoa. Simple and delicious. Top with some Mexican cheese and you won’t consider these “leftovers”, nope, it will be another fantastic meal.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. lisa says:

    that looks amazing!

    1. jewtalian says:

      They are! You would have loved them. They are so easy to make and great for a lot of people… you could probably make it for your friends one night. Not expensive either. The 3lbs of meat was $16 I think.

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