Go Back
+ servings
A bowl of Chipotle copycat Barbacoa beef with black beans, cilantro-lime rice, and pico de gallo salsa.

Chipotle Barbacoa (Copycat)

You'll love this Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe! Start with an easy marinade, then slow cook the beef until it's meltingly tender. It tastes even better than the real thing!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 8 servings
Calories 493kcal


For the marinade:

For the beef:


  • To make the marinade, in the bowl of a food processor or blender, add garlic, adobo sauce, ancho chile powder, olive oil, cumin, dried oregano, cloves, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Blend until smooth (add water if needed to fully blend the marinade).
  • Sprinkle beef liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over Dutch oven, heat oil 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.
  • Transfer to a slow cooker and top with marinade, turning to coat. Add water and bay leaves. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours or low for 8 to 10 hours, until the fat is melted and the meat falls apart easily.
  • Remove both bay leaves and shred the beef with two forks. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with your favorite burrito toppings such as rice, beans, guacamole, and salsa.



  1. Adobo sauce: To make your own adobo sauce, whisk together 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (or 1/2 teaspoon EACH smoked paprika and cayenne powder), 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, and a pinch EACH of oregano, garlic powder, and salt.
  2. Ancho chile powder: You can buy ancho chile powder online or buy dried ancho chiles and grind them to make your own ancho chile powder or soak them and add straight to the marinade (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through these links).
  3. Olive oil: Chipotle uses rice bran oil, but olive oil is more widely available (and probably already in your pantry).
  4. Oregano: Chipotle uses Mexican oregano, but you can use Italian oregano if that's all that you have. They have different flavors (Mexican oregano tastes more like marjoram) but both taste great in this recipe.
  5. Yield: This recipe makes 8 generous servings.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered for up to 4 days.
  7. Freezer: The Barbacoa can be cooled and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Or, make just the marinade ahead and freeze that for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before proceeding with the recipe.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 493kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 993mg | Potassium: 822mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.3g | Vitamin A: 649IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 6mg