Barbacoa refers to the absolutely wonderful Mexican technique of slowly roasting lamb, beef or pork. It involves digging a pit in the ground and cooking spiced meat alongside maguey leaves (from the agave plant). Don’t worry, this recipe does not require a pit, shovel or even maguey leaves – though you could go that route if your heart desires and you would receive my applause in the process! Instead, I opt for the more practical yet less traditional method of crockpot cooking. Let me be clear. Until a month and a half ago (43 days to be exact but who’s counting?) I did not own a crockpot. The mere thought of the small appliance made every single one of my culinary muscles ache.

Crockpot Beef Barbacoa Recipe Slow Cooker Easy Mexican Food Paleo Primal Whole 30

I had a sudden change of heart after I made this Crockpot Ancho PorkI have always been a big believer in braising meats the old-fashioned way (sear + aromatics + deglaze + dutch-oven + 350F). But I needed something to appease my busy friends who wanted to eat home-cooked, delicious food but also had to work 60-hour weeks. Enter the crockpot. Instead of forking-over $200+ on a fancy model, I went with the uber basic yet very functional Crockpot linked here. It’s a workhorse and does a very fine job indeed. As mentioned in the Ancho pork recipe, the Instant Pot seems to be a popular choice as well.

Crockpot Beef Barbacoa Recipe Slow Cooker Easy Mexican Food Paleo Primal Whole 30

This Beef Barbacoa is very similar in terms of prep, ingredients and flavours to the Ancho Pork, but there are a few differences. First and foremost, we use beef here. Lamb is the more popular choice for barbacoa in Mexico (depending on where you are in the country) but market research tells me that not everyone loves lamb as much as I do. Perhaps because they can’t get images of cute, furry white animals parading through English meadows out of their minds. Also, I added some agave syrup to the mix this time. This is a no-go if doing Whole30 and believe me it will still be delicious if you omit it, but the sweetness goes a long way. You will also notice the addition of guajillo and chipotle peppers in this barbacoa. Is it necessary? No, but you should do your best to find them. Each of the chilies has it’s own character and brings wonderful differences in colour to the finished dish. Dried chipotles might be hard to find. If that’s the case add a touch more smoked paprika to amp-up the smokiness of the dish. Last but not least, I brown the beef before adding it to the crockpot. This is an absolutely clutch step if you want maximum flavour. If you’re pressed for time, omit this step.

Crockpot Beef Barbacoa Recipe Slow Cooker Easy Mexican Food Paleo Primal Whole 30

Why I love Beef Barbacoa?

Because there are few recipes this easy that crank-out such an overwhelmingly delicious finished product. Not to mention the fact that I always have plenty of leftovers that I use to cook doctored-up Huevos Rancheros like this one here.

Whole30 Barbacoa Eggs Skillet Breakfast Idea Paleo Primal Gourmet

 

 

Whole30 Crockpot Beef Barbacoa

This Crockpot Beef Barbacoa is flavoured with the deep and sophisticated tastes of Mexican cuisine but is simple enough for even a rookie home cook to master

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: whole30 beef barbacoa
Servings: 8 people
Ingredients
  • 4 lbs beef chuck roast or shoulder
  • 2 dried whole ancho chilies – deseeded stems removed
  • 2 dried whole guajillo chilies – deseeded stems removed
  • 1 dried whole chipotle pepper – deseeded stems removed
  • 5-6 cloves garlic – skin removed
  • 1 tbsp loosely-packed fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup omit if doing Whole30
  • 2 cups beef stock – preferably homemade
  • 2-3 tbsp avocado oil
  • salt and pepper
To serve:
  • cauliflower rice – Click here for my favourite version
  • green cabbage – shredded
  • favourite compliant salsa
  • ripe avocado – sliced or diced
  • fresh lime
  • cilantro
  • sweet white onion - diced
Instructions
  1. Toast chilies in a dry, cast-iron skillet oven over med-high heat until softened and pliable. Remove seeds and stems from chilies and add to a high-speed blender along with cinnamon, smoked paprika, apple cider vinegar, garlic & beef stock. Blend on high speed until completely smooth.

  2. Pat beef dry with paper towel & season all sides with salt. Raise heat to med-high and add 2 tbsp avocado oil to skillet. Brown the beef in batches, if required. Transfer browned beef to crockpot.

  3. Set a fine-mesh sieve over the crockpot and pour the chili-stock mixture through the sieve. Use a silicon spatula to work the sauce through the sieve – discard any of the pulp. Toss the beef to coat in the sauce, add the thyme. Cover with lid and cook on low 6-8hours, on high 3-4hrs, or until meat is fall-apart tender.

  4. Carefully transfer cooked beef to a bowl or large platter & shred it with two large forks – set aside.

  5. Pour the rendered sauce and juices into a degreasing cup and remove excess grease. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper accordingly. If required, reduce sauce by heating it in a sauce pan oven over med-low heat until desired consistency is reached. Pour degreased sauce over the shredded beef and toss to coat.

  6. Serve Whole30 Beef Barbacoa over a bowl of cauliflower rice. Garnish with shredded cabbage, salsa of choice, avocado, fresh cilantro & lime wedges.

 

Whole30 Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa

This Crockpot Beef Barbacoa is flavoured with the deep and sophisticated tastes of Mexican cuisine but is simple enough for even a rookie home cook to master

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: whole30 beef barbacoa
Servings: 8 people
Ingredients
  • 4 lbs beef chuck roast or shoulder
  • 2 dried whole ancho chilies – deseeded stems removed
  • 2 dried whole guajillo chilies – deseeded stems removed
  • 1 dried whole chipotle pepper – deseeded stems removed
  • 5-6 cloves garlic – skin removed
  • 1 tbsp loosely-packed fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup omit if doing Whole30
  • 2 cups beef stock – preferably homemade
  • 2-3 tbsp avocado oil
  • salt and pepper
To serve:
  • cauliflower rice – Click here for my favourite version
  • green cabbage – shredded
  • favourite compliant salsa
  • ripe avocado – sliced or diced
  • fresh lime
  • cilantro
  • sweet white onion - diced
Instructions
  1. Set Instant Pot to Sauté fucntion. Add chilies to the Instant Pot and heat until softened and pliable. Remove seeds and stems from chilies and add to a high-speed blender along with cinnamon, smoked paprika, apple cider vinegar, garlic & beef stock. Blend on high speed until completely smooth.

  2. Pat beef dry with paper towel & season all sides with salt. Add 2 tbsp avocado oil to Instant Pot and brown the beef in batches, if required.

  3. Set a fine-mesh sieve over the Instant Pot and pour the chili-stock mixture through the sieve. Use a silicon spatula to work the sauce through the sieve – discard any of the pulp. Toss the beef to coat in the sauce, add the thyme, cover the Instant Pot with the lid. Set the valve to sealing and cook on high pressure for 60min.

  4. Carefully transfer cooked beef to a bowl or large platter & shred it with two large forks – set aside.
  5. Pour the rendered sauce and juices into a degreasing cup and remove excess grease. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper accordingly. If required, reduce sauce by returning it to the Instant Pot and heating it using the sauté function until desired consistency is reached. Return shredded beef back to Instant Pot and toss in the sauce to coat.

  6. Serve Whole30 Beef Barbacoa over a bowl of cauliflower rice. Garnish with shredded cabbage, salsa of choice, avocado, fresh cilantro & lime wedges.

 

Whole30 Crockpot Beef Barbacoa

This Whole30 Beef Barbacoa is flavoured with the deep and sophisticated tastes of Mexican cuisine but is simple enough for even a rookie home cook to master

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: whole30 beef barbacoa
Servings: 8 people
Ingredients
  • 4 lbs beef chuck roast or shoulder
  • 2 dried whole ancho chilies – deseeded, stems removed
  • 2 dried whole guajillo chilies – deseeded, stems removed
  • 1 dried whole chipotle pepper – deseeded, stems removed
  • 5-6 cloves garlic – skin removed
  • 1 tbsp loosely-packed fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup omit if doing Whole30
  • 2 cups beef stock – preferably homemade
  • 2-3 tbsp avocado oil
  • salt and pepper
To serve:
  • cauliflower rice – Click here for my favourite version
  • green cabbage – shredded
  • favourite compliant salsa
  • ripe avocado – sliced or diced
  • fresh lime
  • cilantro
  • sweet white onion - diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 

  2. Toast chilies in a dry, cast-iron Dutch oven over med-high heat until softened and pliable. Remove seeds and stems from chilies and add to a high-speed blender along with cinnamon, smoked paprika, apple cider vinegar, garlic & beef stock. Blend on high speed until completely smooth.

  3. Pat beef dry with paper towel & season all sides with salt. Raise heat to med-high and add 2 tbsp avocado oil to Dutch oven. Brown the beef in batches, if required.

  4. Set a fine-mesh sieve over the Dutch oven and pour the chili-stock mixture through the sieve. Use a silicon spatula to work the sauce through the sieve – discard any of the pulp. Toss the beef to coat in the sauce, add the thyme. Bring sauce to a simmer, cover with lid and transfer to oven. Cook 2.5 to 3 hours or until meat is fall-apart tender.

  5. Carefully transfer cooked beef to a bowl or large platter & shred it with two large forks – set aside.

  6. Pour the rendered sauce and juices into a degreasing cup and remove excess grease. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper accordingly. If required, reduce sauce by heating it in the Dutch oven over med-low heat until desired consistency is reached. Pour degreased sauce over the shredded beef and toss to coat.

  7. Serve Whole30 Beef Barbacoa over a bowl of cauliflower rice. Garnish with shredded cabbage, salsa of choice, avocado, fresh cilantro & lime wedges.