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Beef Barbacoa – Mexican Pulled Beef for Tacos and everything!

Ultra-juicy Mexican pulled beef, tossed in a chipotle-spiced sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 25 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Beef, Mexican
Servings 10 People
Calories 372 kcal


  • ▢ 2kg / 4 lb beef cheeks or chuck beef(see Note 1)
  • ▢ 1 tsp salt kosher/cooking
  • ▢ 1 tsp black pepper
  • ▢ 2 tbsp vegetable oil for searing
  • ▢ 4 bay leaves


  • ▢ 4 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce Note 2
  • ▢ 3/4 cup dark ale beer, or low sodium beef broth/stock (Note 3)
  • ▢ 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ▢ 4 tbsp lime juice
  • ▢ 6 garlic cloves
  • ▢ 4 tsp ground cumin
  • ▢ 2 tsp oregano
  • ▢ 1/2 tsp ground cloves


  • Cut beef: Cut large cheeks in half so you have around 12 – 15 pieces cheeks. If using chuck, cut into 12 or so pieces.
  • Season: Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Brown beef: Heat oil in a large pot or skillet over high heat. Sear beef in batches, browning aggressively all over. Place beef in slow cooker.
  • Blitz sauce: Place Barbacoa Sauce ingredients in a blender, food processor or similar (I use a Nutribullet). Blend until smooth – it shouldn't take long.
  • Slow cooker (see Note 4 for alt. cooking methods): Pour sauce over cheeks in slow cooker. Add bay leaves. Arrange cheeks so they are submerged as much as possible. Don't worry, they will release juice as they cook and raise the liquid level.
  • Slow-cook for 8 hours on low. The beef should be effortless to shred when done.
  • Shred: Remove cheeks from slow cooker into a pan. Shred using 2 forks.
  • Sauce: Pour over 3 or 4 ladles of the sauce, then toss.
  • Serve: Use in tacos with taco fixings of choice! Pictured with Mexican Red Rice, Pickled Red Cabbage for Tacos (in this Fish Tacos recipe) and Lime Crema


This recipe is sponsored by Mediterranean Supermarket 
Keyword beef dish, beef recipes, mexican