Go Back
+ servings
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!
Print

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!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword beef
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 8 servings
Calories 653kcal
Author Meggan Hill

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • 1/2 red onion coarsely chopped (see notes)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or rice bran oil (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (see notes)
  • 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 (see notes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

For the marinade:

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

To make the beef in a slow cooker:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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:

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

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

  • 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:

  • 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.

Video

Notes

To make the marinade with dried ancho chiles (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link):
  1. Quick-Soaking method for ancho chiles: 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. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 4 cups (1 quart) water and 2 Tablespoons adobo sauce. Microwave on HIGH for 6 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add peppers to the food processor, using the reserved cooking liquid to rinse as much adobo as possible from the canned chipotle peppers in Step 2.
  2. Slow-Soaking method for ancho chiles: Place in a bowl and add enough water to cover completely. Top with a small plate or bowl to weigh down the chiles so they are completely submerged. Soak at least 12 hours or overnight. Drain well.
You can use either Italian or Mexican oregano. They have different flavors (Mexican oregano tastes more like marjoram) but both taste great in this recipe. Feel free to use whatever you have.
Adobo sauce: You can get adobo sauce from cans of Chipotle peppers or you can purchase a jar of just adobo paste (La Costeña makes one). Substitute about 3 tablespoons of paste + 1 tablespoon water.
Rice Bran oil: Chipotle uses Rice Bran oil in all of their products. Olive oil is more widely available (probably already in your pantry) and works equally well, especially if it has a neutral taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 653kcal