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This Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe is deliciously tender and shreds so easily! The chipotle chilis in adobo sauce and apple cider vinegar spikes this dish with a robust flavor.  Serve as a bowl with rice and veggies, on a tortilla as a taco, in a wrap with cheese, or by itself with grilled veggies.  The possibilities with this delicious beef barbacoa are endless.

Have extra chipotle in adobo leftover? Make our delicious mashed potatoes with sour cream that have a kick of chipotle for extra flavor!

Copycat Chipotle® Barbacoa Recipe is a great base for any Mexican inspired meal

Copycat Chipotle® Barbacoa Recipe

Everyone I know loves the popular Mexican food chain Chipotle® and their delicious barbacoa.  Whether you are like me and build a bowl with salad greens, veggies, meat, and their delicious guacamole, or you roll it into a burrito – it is a great flavorful treat.

Barbacoa beef is a perfect way to use a tough cut of beef and make a tender and juicy result packed with flavor.  This recipe is easy to follow and is great for use in multiple meals throughout the week.

What do you serve with Chipotle® Mexican grill barbacoa?

This is one of those beef recipes that are perfect for a busy family that doesn’t have time to cook a huge meal every evening.  Since you can make a fairly large batch of this barbacoa recipe at once, you can easily divide it up for a few different meals.  I like making a double batch, and dividing into meal portions and freezing for those busy weeknights I don’t have time to cook.

Below are some of my favorite sides to serve with barbacoa: 

A steaming bowl of beef barbacoa made as a copycat chipotle recipe

What is the best beef for Mexican barbacoa recipe?

I almost always will pick up a chuck roast for this beef barbacoa recipe.  It is the most inexpensive option that also offers tons of flavor coming from the fat marbling.  Chuck roast cooks down well, is always juicy, and is a great compliment for the rich flavors in this recipe.

Traditionally, true barbacoa is made from beef cheek or goat.  The restaurant typically uses a cut of beef similar to the chuck roast for their barbacoa.

You could potentially use round steak or pork butt roast as alternatives to make this recipe.

A barbacoa recipe turned into a beef burrito bowl like Chipotle

Ingredients for beef barbacoa

  • Chuck roast
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Chipotle chiles in adobo
  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Lime
  • Oregano
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • Cloves
  • Olive Oil
  • Chicken or beef broth
  • Bay leaves

How to make barbacoa recipe

Begin by gathering all of your supplies so they are easy to find while preparing your barbacoa for going into the slow cooker.

You will combine the marinade ingredients together and blend well first.  Next, trim the excess fat from your roast, then cut into pieces as directed before sauteing in oil to get a nice sear.  Once that is done, you will place the meat and sauce into the slow cooker and cook according to the directions.

Once the beef has cooked and is ready to eat, you will shred and serve with tortillas, rice, or vegetables.

Protip: Use a slow cooker liner for easier cleanup!

A red bowl full of prepared barbacoa recipe to use in burrito bowls
5 from 2 votes
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Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa

Created by: Brooke Farmer
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
8 servings


  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 Tbsp garlic minced
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 lbs chuck roast
  • ¾ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves


  • Combine apple cider vinegar, chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced garlic, cumin, lime juice, oregano, black pepper, salt, and cloves in a blender or food processor on high speed until smooth.
  • Next use a knife to cut and remove as much fat as possible from the roast and cut into 6 large pieces.
  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and sear all sides of roast until browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Place meat into slow cooker and pour sauce over meat.
  • Add in the chicken broth and bay leaves to slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on high heat for 4-5 hours or on low heat for 7-8 hours.
  • After meat has cooked, shred meat in slow cooker using two forks and turn slow cooker to warm to keep meat heated before serving.


Smart Points: 6

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How to make Copycat Chipotle®

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