Slow cooker beef barbacoa

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa: A Flavorful and Tender Mexican-Inspired Dish

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Indulge in the rich and savory flavors of Mexican cuisine with our Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa recipe! This mouthwatering dish features tender roast beef seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices, garlic, and citrus, all cooked to perfection in your trusty slow cooker. Whether you’re hosting a fiesta with friends or craving a delicious homemade meal, this easy-to-make barbacoa is sure to impress. Join us as we guide you through the recipe, share tips for success, and offer variations to suit your taste preferences.


  • 2 lb roast (such as chuck or brisket)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Adobo seasoning (with Pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicier)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup diet coke (or regular if you prefer)


  1. Prepare the Roast: Trim any excess fat from the roast and cut it into large chunks if necessary for easier cooking.
  2. Season the Meat: In a small bowl, combine the chopped garlic, kosher salt, onion powder, Adobo seasoning, dried oregano, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to create a flavorful spice rub.
  3. Coat the Roast: Rub the spice mixture evenly over the surface of the roast, ensuring that it is well coated on all sides.
  4. Place in Slow Cooker: Transfer the seasoned roast to the slow cooker and add the bay leaves on top.
  5. Add Liquid: Pour the orange juice and diet coke over the roast to provide moisture and flavor during the cooking process.
  6. Slow Cook: Cover the slow cooker with the lid and cook the beef on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours, or until the meat is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
  7. Shred and Serve: Once cooked, carefully remove the roast from the slow cooker and transfer it to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Discard any excess fat or bones.
  8. Strain and Reduce Sauce: If desired, strain the cooking liquid from the slow cooker to remove any solids and then transfer it to a saucepan. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat and cook until it has reduced and thickened slightly.
  9. Serve: Serve the shredded beef barbacoa warm with your favorite toppings and accompaniments, such as tortillas, rice, beans, salsa, avocado, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Additional Seasonings: Feel free to customize the spice blend to suit your taste preferences. Add smoked paprika, ground cumin, or chili powder for extra depth of flavor.
  • Citrus Options: If you don’t have orange juice on hand, you can substitute it with lime juice or a combination of both for a tangy citrus flavor.
  • Cooking Liquids: Experiment with different liquids for cooking the beef, such as beef broth, beer, or Coca-Cola, to add complexity to the flavor profile.
  • Enhanced Flavor: For a richer flavor, sear the seasoned roast in a hot skillet before transferring it to the slow cooker. This will help to caramelize the spices and develop a deeper flavor.

Keto Version: To make a keto-friendly version of Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa, follow these adjustments:

  • Low-Carb Sweeteners: Replace the diet coke with a sugar-free soda or sparkling water flavored with a keto-friendly sweetener such as stevia or erythritol.
  • Vegetable Substitutions: Swap the onion powder for onion flakes or omit it altogether to reduce the carb content. You can also add low-carb vegetables like bell peppers or jalapeños for added flavor.
  • Thickening Agents: Instead of reducing the cooking liquid to thicken the sauce, use a small amount of xanthan gum or guar gum as a low-carb thickening agent.
  • Portion Control: Enjoy the beef barbacoa in moderation and be mindful of portion sizes to stay within your daily carb limit.

In conclusion, Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa is a delicious and versatile dish that brings the vibrant flavors of Mexican cuisine to your kitchen. With its tender, flavorful meat and aromatic spices, it’s sure to be a hit with family and friends alike. Whether served as tacos, burritos, bowls, or salads, this versatile dish is perfect for any occasion.

By following our easy-to-follow recipe and exploring the suggested variations, you can customize this dish to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Whether you’re following a keto lifestyle, looking for a flavorful weeknight meal, or planning a festive gathering, Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa is sure to satisfy your cravings for bold and delicious flavors.

So why wait? Fire up your slow cooker and treat yourself to the mouthwatering goodness of Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa today!

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