James Family Cookbook

Easy Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Recipe

6 servings


10 minutes

active time

4 hours 40 minutes

total time


1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder (use ancho chili powder or paprika for a milder option)

1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano leaves (may also use regular oregano if needed)

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 3-pound chuck roast, cut into 8 large chunks

2 tablespoons salted butter or extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic minced

3 bay leaves

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

Corn tortillas (warmed, optional, for serving)

1 lime (quartered, optional, for garnish)

Chopped fresh cilantro (optional, for garnish)

Sliced avocado (optional, for garnish)

Watermelon radishes (optional, for garnish)


In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, cumin, chipotle chili powder, oregano, and cloves. Dust the pieces of chuck roast with the spice mixture, making sure to coat all sides well.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan or sauté pan over high heat. Once melted, add the beef in batches so that the pan isn’t overcrowded. Sear the beef for about 3 minutes per side, or until it develops a nice char. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker and repeat with the remaining meat.

Add the garlic and bay leaves to the cooked beef in the slow cooker. Pour in the vinegar and lime juice. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high, or until the beef falls apart when tested with a fork.

Pull out and discard the bay leaves and then, working in the slow cooker, use two forks to shred the beef. Stir it in the juices.

Serve the tortillas with shredded beef, garnished with lime wedges, avocado, radishes, and cilantro.


Serving Size



144 kcal

Total Fat

11.4 g

Saturated Fat

1.6 g

Unsaturated Fat


Trans Fat



2.8 mg


446.3 mg

Total Carbohydrate

12.8 g

Dietary Fiber

5.2 g

Total Sugars

1.9 g


2.8 g

6 servings


10 minutes

active time

4 hours 40 minutes

total time
Start Cooking