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Sunday Slow Cooker:  Shredded Beef Barbacoa

Before you start in on this recipe, a bit of a warning. The preparation is a little bit of an undertaking but completely worth it in my opinion and easier than it appears. This recipe is an adaptation of a Chipotle Barbacoa copycat recipe from Serious Eats and is probably the best version of barbacoa I have ever made at home. It’s spicy, rich, smokey – everything you want in a traditional barbacoa. I usually double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for later since it makes the perfect quick lunch or dinner. Give it a try if you love traditional Mexican flavors. Can’t find the ingredients or want something a bit easier? Try this simpler and very tasty crockpot barbacoa.

Slow Cooker Barbacoa
Servings: 8
Serving Size: about 4 oz.
Nutritional Info: 203.3 calories, 6.2g of fat, 3.2g of carbohydrates, .2g of fiber, 31.5g of protein
Weight Watchers® PointsPlus®: 5 *


  • 1 whole dried New Mexico, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 whole chile ancho or pasilla, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 whole chile negro, seeds and stem removed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 canned chipotle chilis and 2 tsbp adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce, Magi, or fish sauce
  • 2.5 lbs. lean beef round or brisket
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt


  1. Bring a medium pot to medium heat and toast the dried chiles for about 3 minutes until they begin to brown. Add the two cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to low and let cook for 15 minutes until completely tender.
  2. Meanwhile add the vegetable oil to a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes until they soften and begin to brown. Add the garlic, chipotles, adobo sauce, cumin, allspice, and oregano and cook for another 2 minutes. Finally add the apple cider vinegar and soy sauce. Scrape everything off the bottom of the pan and turn off the heat.
  3. Add the cooked dried chiles and the broth to a blender. Add the onion mixture. Blend until smooth.
  4. Add the beef to the crockpot and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add the barbacoa salsa from the blender. Cook for 6-8 hours in the slow cooker. Take the lid off the crockpot for the last 30 minutes and shred the beef so that they beef can absorb the sauce and it can reduce.

Adapted from Serious Eats

* PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.

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I’m Kristen and I couldn’t be happier you are here. You will find a variety of healthy and delicious recipes that will not only taste great, but help you fit in your favorite jeans.

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4 Response to Sunday Slow Cooker: Shredded Beef Barbacoa

  1. Twylla Corrie on January 20, 2013

    his sounds soooo good! Are the 1st three chiles dried chiles? They seem to call them different things in the store and that confuses me. Could you clarify what you used?

    • Kristen on January 21, 2013

      They are dried chiles. Thanks!

  2. Karla on February 3, 2013

    O my goodness the Barbacoa is amazing!!!
    It’s enough for a few meals and is so yummy.
    I tripled the sauce recipe so I can make 2 more

  3. Pete on April 16, 2013

    Tried the recipe this weekend and it was great! One question, what was I supposed to do with the bay leaf? I just tossed it in the slow cooker and removed it later.


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