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Beef Barbacoa | www.iamafoodblog.com
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4.88 from 8 votes

Barbacoa Recipe

Tacos filled with juicy, soft and tender beef coated in a savory red chile sauce that has just a tiny hint of spice and a huge hit of flavor.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Marinating Time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: barbacoa, tacos
Servings: 4
Calories: 507kcal


  • blender


  • 2 lbs beef cheek, brisket, short ribs, shank, chuck roast, or mix
  • salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 3 dried guajillo peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp dried oregano Mexican preferred
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup beef stock low sodium preferred
  • 1/4 cup vinegar


  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 cup beef stock low sodium preferred

To serve

  • 12-16 4" corn or flour tortillas or more as needed
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • 2-4 jalapeños sliced


  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and then remove from heat. Soak your dried guajillo peppers for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cube the beef and season all sides with salt and pepper. Set aside.
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  • Add marinade ingredients to the blender. When the peppers are done soaking, hold them by the tip over the sink and use scissors to cut the stem off and allow the seeds to fall out, then add to blender. Blend into a smooth paste and rub all over the beef. Marinate for a minimum of two hours or up to overnight.
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  • Set your Instant Pot on saute high. Add 1-2 tbsp oil, then saute the onions until golden and translucent (6-8 minutes). See notes for stovetop or crockpot instructions.
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  • Add the meat with the marinade, bay leaves, and cloves to the pot. Barely cover with beef broth, then set to high pressure for 45 minutes.
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  • When the Instant Pot is done, allow a natural release, then remove the meat from the consomé and shred. Spoon some of the consomé onto the beef after you’ve shredded it.
    beef barbacoa | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Make the tacos: warm the tortillas and build the tacos: a generous amount of barbacoa beef, and toppings. Enjoy immediately.
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If using a slow cooker or stovetop, saute the onions first on slow-cooker-high or stovetop-med-high, then add the rest of the ingredients and set to low heat for 4-6 hours, until the beef is tender and shreddable. Check back every hour or so to make sure you have enough liquid, and add beef broth as necessary.
Estimated nutrition doesn't include tortillas, toppings, or consomé.


Calories: 507kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.6g | Protein: 75.6g | Fat: 19.2g | Saturated Fat: 6.9g | Cholesterol: 229mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 716mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 0.2g