A simple slow cooker barbacoa recipe that’s smoky and spicy. This barbacoa is topped with a chipotle lime coleslaw and makes for some super flavorful tacos.
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It’s that time again, folks. Taco time. The world’s most perfect food. I have discovered over the past few months that I could indeed subsist on a diet of tacos. A month or so ago I realized that I had eaten tacos 5 out of the 7 days that week. My husband took me by the shoulders, looked me square in the eye and stated in an exasperated tone, ‘Honey, I love you but I can’t eat any more tacos.’ I just stared at him quizzically. Well, a few weeks have passed so I say, ‘Bring on the tacos’. Just in time for Cinco de Mayo. I went the barbacoa route this time – Mexican-style beef made in the slow cooker. Topped with a smoky and tangy chipotle lime coleslaw and dressed with all the goodies – cilantro, avocado, onions, and lime.
The slow cooker is your friend when it comes to meals like this. Barbacoa works great with a large and tough cut of meat like chuck roast or arm roast. Slow roasting it for hours in a slow cooker will result in flavorful meat that shreds easily and works as a perfect filling for tacos. Simply turn the slow cooker on and place the meat in it – I used a 2 lb. beef arm roast. Pour 2 Tbsp. cooking stock over the meat and then add the following spices: 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. Mexican oregano, 1 tsp. smoked paprika, 1 tsp. garlic powder, and 1 tsp. cumin. Add 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 Tbsp. vinegar, 1-2 chopped chipotles in adobo, and 1 small chopped white onion. The lime juice and the vinegar will help to break down the tough fibers of the meat as it cooks. Cook for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
I am a huge fan of coleslaw – especially on tacos. It seems like when a lot people think of coleslaw they think of that mayonnaise-laden gooey substance that you find at a church picnic during the summer. This doesn’t have to be the case. Cabbage is a vehicle for so many different flavors. You don’t even need to use mayonnaise at all. I wanted to echo the flavors of the barbacoa with this recipe so I decided to go with chipotle and lime (and a little bit of mayonnaise). To make the dressing, simply combine 1/2 cup mayo, 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, 2-3 Tbsp. adobo sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, and a pinch of kosher salt in a bowl. Stir until completely combined. Place 5 cups of shredded cabbage (you can use bagged or freshly chopped cabbage) and pour the dressing over the top. Toss until the cabbage is coated in the dressing and then place in the refrigerator while the meat cooks. This will allow the flavors to meld together.
I don’t know about you but I always need to leave the house when there is meat in the slow cooker simply because it smells so darn good. I walked down to the local bowling alley and had a beer with some friends while this barbacoa was cooking to prevent myself from becoming half-crazed with hunger. Upon returning, the meat was done. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred with two forks. Once shredded, return it to the slow cooker along with all the juices. Add 2 Tbsp. of tomato sauce to the meat and stir it all together. The tomato sauce gives it a nice consistency and kind of ties it all together.
Now is the time: Tac-o-clock. Heat some tortillas – you can use corn or flour – and pile on the toppings. Add a generous amount of meat and a large spoonful of coleslaw. Additional toppings are optional but highly recommended: chopped onions, cilantro, avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime. The freshness of the lime and cilantro really work to offset the heavy nature of the beef and the smokiness of the chipotle. The most important thing to remember is this: There’s no such thing as ‘too many tacos’.
Pottery by Bill Gossman.
A simple slow cooker barbacoa recipe that's smoky and spicy. This barbacoa is topped with a chipotle lime coleslaw and makes for some super flavorful tacos.
- 2 lb. beef chuck roast or arm roast
- 2 Tbsp. beef broth
- 1/2 tsp. salt adjust to taste
- 1/2 tsp. pepper adjust to taste
- 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. vinegar
- 1-2 chipotles in adobo chopped
- 1 small white onion
- 2 Tbsp. tomato sauce
- 5 cups cabbage bagged or freshly chopped
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 3 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2-3 Tbsp. adobo sauce adjust to taste
- 1 tsp. sugar
- pinch salt
Place meat in slow cooker. Pour beef broth over meat.
Add the following to the meat: salt, pepper, Mexican oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, lime juice, vinegar, chopped chipotles in adobo, and onion.
Cook the meat for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
For the coleslaw: Combine mayo, lime juice, adobo sauce, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Stir until completely combined. Add 5 cups of cabbage to a bowl and pour dressing over cabbage. Toss until completely coated. Place in refrigerator.
Remove the meat when it has finished cooking. Shred with two forks and return the meat along with all the cooking juices to the slow cooker. Add tomato sauce and stir until combined.
To assemble the tacos: Heat tortillas and place a generous helping of meat and coleslaw on each one. Garnish with chopped onion, cilantro, avocado slices, and a squeeze of fresh lime.