Sunday Dinner – Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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These delicious beef tacos are the most flavorful and delicious comfort food and perfect for a Sunday dinner. The slow cooker barbacoa beef is a spicy and tender filling for the tacos, topped with simple ingredients to preserve its amazing flavor.

beef tacos

How to Cook Barbacoa Beef?

What is barbacoa beef and how to cook it you are wondering? It is a traditional Mexican dish. Barbacoa refers to the way the meat is cooked – slow, on an open fire in a pit dug into the ground, covered with maguey leaves. Traditionally it is made out of beef, lamb, or sheep meat.

This recipe is not an authentic Mexican recipe! I really hope one day I will be able to experience the authenticity of this dish but since I don’t want to dig a pit in the city I will use my slow cooker. It will help me achieve tender and juicy meat.

Easy Homemade Basil Pesto Recipe

barbacoa beef


I tried to follow the traditional ingredients in barbacoa beef but since it is a fusion recipe and the flavor is a bit different between open fire and slow cooker I played around with the spices so I can compensate for not being able to cover it with maguey leaves.

I also used Jack Del Fuego – Black Jack hot sauce to add some kick to it. The sauce is made with Cascabel chiles, Morita Chiles, and Habanero Chiles so it certainly has a kick to it! I added that instead of green chiles as some of the other recipes call for. I also scaled back on the Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce so I can make space for the heat of the hot sauce.

  • Chuck Roast
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • Cumin
  • Dried Oregano
  • Orange Peel – I use it dry but if you can’t find it use fresh orange zest (just a bit less of it).
  • Orange juice
  • Beef Broth
  • Jack Del Fuego Hot Sauce Black Jack
  • Lime Juice
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – just to even out all the sweetness of the citrus.
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese Blend
  • Cilantro

To make these delicious beef tacos first marinate the chuck roast for at least two hours before cooking it. This will ensure the flavors are seeping into the tender meat when cooked.

slow cooker barbacoa

In your crockpot add the chuck roast, onion, garlic, and chipotle. Season with cumin, oregano, orange peel, salt, and pepper. Pour in the broth, orange juice, hot sauce, lime juice, and apple cider vinegar. Cover and transfer to the fridge to marinate.

When you are ready to cook it turn the slow cooker on low and cook for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Things rarely burn in the slow cooker and I think the longer the meat cooks in there the more tender it comes out.

How to Store Barbacoa Beef?

Keep the leftovers in an air-tight container – up to one week in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer. You can repurpose the meat for tacos, burritos, rice bowls, or salads.

Here are a few great recipes to go with it:

Follow the full recipe below and enjoy!

taco dinner

Crockpot Barbacoa Beef Tacos

This spicy barbacoa beef recipe is so flavourful and delicious. Make tacos, toss in a bowl with veggies and rice bowl, or wrap into a buritto.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Course Dinner, Main
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 servings
Calories 206 kcal


  • Slow cooker


  • 3 lbs Chuck Roast fat trimmed, cut into several large pieces
  • 1 Yellow Onion thinly sliced
  • 6 Whole Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Oregano
  • 2 Tsp Orange Peel dried or fresh
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Cup Beef Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Jack Del Fuego Hot Sauce see notes for link
  • Juce of 1 Lime

For the tacos

  • Corn Tortillas
  • Shedded Cheeese
  • Sour Cream
  • Cilantro minced, for garnish


  • In the slow cooker add the beef, onion, garlic, and adobo peppers. Season with the cumin, oregano, orange peel, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Add the beef broth, orange juice, lime juice, Jack Del Fuego Hot Sauce, and the apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine everything, cover, and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Once ready take the meat out of the crockpot on a wooden board and pull apart with two forks. It should be very tender and easy to separate.
  • Arrange on top of the corn tortilla and top with sour cream and cilantro.
Keyword barbacoa beef recipe, beef tacos recipe, comfort food for rainy days, slow cooker barbacoa, taco dinner, taco ideas
taco dinner