Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe (Copycat)

You’ll love this Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe! Braise or slow cook beef until meltingly tender in an easy marinade. It tastes even better than the real thing!

I have received more emails requesting this Chipotle Copycat Barbacoa recipe than anything else, ever. I’m delighted and relieved to finally deliver!

If you love my Chipotle Chicken recipe, you’ll love this one, too. The marinade is almost exactly the same, actually, with just a few minor differences.

You'll love this Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe! Braise or slow cook beef until meltingly tender in an easy marinade. It tastes even better than the real thing!

Chipotle Barbacoa Marinade

That smoky, spicy flavor in Chipotle’s chicken comes from two ingredients: Dried ancho chiles and adobo sauce.

While you can track down and soak dried ancho chiles (and this is what I show in the video), it is just as easy to use ancho chile powder. This is now widely available at grocery stores or you can buy it online. Or, you can grind your own.

You'll love this Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe! Braise or slow cook beef until meltingly tender in an easy marinade. It tastes even better than the real thing!

How to Cook Chipotle Barbacoa Beef

You need to cook the beef until all the fat has melted and the beef is so tender, it falls apart easily when you shred it.

You can do this in a slow cooker, on the stove, or in the oven. My preferred method is braising in a Dutch oven, but all the methods accomplish the same thing. Pick your favorite in the recipe below!

You'll love this Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe! Braise or slow cook beef until meltingly tender in an easy marinade. It tastes even better than the real thing!

Find all of the Chipotle Copycat Recipes on this site. Or, click here to subscribe to emails and receive all the recipes in a beautiful mobile-friendly eBook, FREE!

Chipotle ChickenChipotle Steak • Chipotle Barbacoa (beef) • Chipotle Carnitas (pork) •
Chipotle Sofritas (tofu) • Chipotle Cilantro Lime RiceChipotle Black Beans • Chipotle Pinto Beans •
Chipotle Fajita Vegetables • Chipotle Guacamole • Homemade Tortilla Chips •
Chipotle Tomato Salsa (mild) • Chipotle Corn Salsa (medium) • Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa (medium) •
Chipotle Hot Salsa (hot) •  Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette (salad dressing) •

This copycat Chipotle Steak recipe tastes even better than the real thing. The marinade is quick and easy and full of the smoky, spicy flavors you love!

Save this Chipotle Barbacoa Beef to your “Main Dishes” Pinterest board!

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You'll love this Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe! Braise or slow cook beef until meltingly tender in an easy marinade. It tastes even better than the real thing!
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Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe (Copycat)

You'll love this Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe! Braise or slow cook beef until meltingly tender in an easy marinade. It tastes even better than the real thing!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 8 servings
Calories 258 kcal

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • 1/2 red onion coarsely chopped (see notes)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a small can of chipotle peppers
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or rice bran oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the beef:

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) boneless beef chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or rice bran oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

For the marinade:

  1. To the bowl of a food processor or blender, add red onion, garlic, adobo sauce, ancho chile powder, olive oil, cumin, dried oregano, cloves, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.

  2. Blend until smooth. Pour into a measuring cup and add water to reach 1 cup.

To make the beef in a slow cooker:

  1. Browning the beef before transferring it to a slow cooker is optional but recommended. To do so, sprinkle the beef liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides.

  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large skillet until shimmering. Add beef and cook until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the beef and continue cooking until the other side is brown, about 10 minutes total.

  3. Transfer to a slow cooker and top with marinade. Add water and bay leaves and cover. Cook on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours, or low for 8 to 10 hours. The meat should fall apart easily.

  4. Remove both bay leaves. Shred beef with two forks. Taste for seasonings, add more salt and pepper until it tastes just right, and serve.

To braise the beef in the oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle the beef liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides.

  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or stock pot until shimmering. Add beef and cook until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the beef and continue cooking until the other side is brown, about 10 minutes total.

  3. Top with marinade. Add water and bay leaves and cover. Transfer to oven and bake for 3 1/2 hours, turning beef every 30 minutes.

  4. Remove both bay leaves. Shred beef with two forks. Taste for seasonings, add more salt and pepper until it tastes just right, and serve.

To simmer the beef on the stove:

  1. Sprinkle the beef liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides.

  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or stock pot until shimmering. Add beef and cook until browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the beef and continue cooking until the other side is brown, about 10 minutes total.

  3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Top with marinade. Add water and bay leaves and cover. Cover and simmer for 3 1/2 hours, turning beef every 30 minutes.

  4. Remove both bay leaves. Shred beef with two forks. Taste for seasonings, add more salt and pepper until it tastes just right, and serve.

To make ahead and reheat:

  1. Cover and refrigerate the shredded beef overnight. Reheat in a slow cooker on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or in a pot on the stove for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently. 

To freeze and reheat:

  1. Cover and freeze the shredded beef up to one month in advance. Reheat in a slow cooker on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours. Or, reheat in a pot (covered) on the stove over medium-heat for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Recipe Notes

  1. To make the marinade with dried ancho chiles:

    1. Remove stems and seeds from dried chiles (wearing gloves is recommended). In a dry skillet over medium-low heat, toast the chiles until fragrant but not smoking, about 5 minutes.
    2. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 4 cups (1 quart) water. Microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes. Drain well.
    3. Split open each softened ancho chile and rinse the inside to remove the stem and all seeds (wearing gloves is recommended). Add to the food processor with the other marinade ingredients.


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You'll love this Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe! Braise or slow cook beef until meltingly tender in an easy marinade. It tastes even better than the real thing!

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1 comment

  1. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

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