This tender and succulent low-carb beef barbacoa is rich, spicy, and smoky in flavor. Plus, it's so easy to make in a crockpot!
Using a slow cooker helps impart a deep flavor into this incredibly tender and succulent beef barbacoa, which is rich, spicy, smoky and a little tangy. Its savory flavor comes from a blend of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, cumin, lots of garlic, oregano, lime juice, and beef broth.
Making beef barbacoa in a crockpot or slow cooker is easy and straightforward — even an unexperienced cook could successfully whip this together. To make it, simply cut the chuck roast into smaller chunks and throw into a crockpot with all the other ingredients. You'll cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or on high for at least 4 hours. When it's done, it should easily pull apart with a fork.
There are so many way to serve it, too. Often times, we serve in low-carb tortillas with a few toppings or in a large Mexican salad with lettuce and all the fixings (like avocado slices, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, etc.). But, it's also delicious in low-carb quesadillas, enchiladas or even by itself.
One of our favorite things about beef barbacoa is how well it heats up several days after making. In fact, we think it tastes even better the next day or so for lunch or dinner. You cannot go wrong with this easy weeknight keto recipe.
More About Barbacoa
Barbacoa is a traditional Mexican dish that's made with tougher cuts of meat, like beef, goat or lamb, which are seasoned with chilis and spices and cooked low and slow until tender. Its most often served in corn tortillas topped with onions, cilantro or other toppings.
Just a few notes on key ingredients.
- Beef chuck roast: Chuck roast is often used for beef barbacoa in the U.S. After low and slow cooking, it turns deliciously tender. Be sure to cut into 2 or 3-inch chunks before putting in slow cooker.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce: Chipotle peppers add a rich, smoky flavor as well as a little heat. For less spicy-heat, use just a few tablespoons of chopped chipotle peppers.
- Garlic: Freshly minced garlic is a must!
- Cumin and oregano: Two key seasonings that add to the flavor.
- Beef broth: We recommend using low-sodium beef broth. You can use chicken broth in a pinch.
- Lime juice: For acidity, we prefer to use lime juice since it compliments the ingredients.
How to Make
STEP 1: Cut beef chuck roast into 2 to 3-inch chunks. Season with pepper and 1 tablespoon salt. Put in slow cooker and add remaining ingredients. Toss to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, or on high for at least 4 hours, or until beef easily pulls apart with a fork. You'll likely notice that the cooking juices nearly cover the the meat, which is normal and what you want.
STEP 2: With a slotted spoon, remove beef from slow cooker and shred into bite-size pieces on a large cutting board. Once it's done cooking, remove the beef and shred into bite-size chunks. Put in a serving bowl and spoon some of the slow cooker juices over the top. Serve with a pair of tongs
How to Serve
There are a number of ways to serve barbacoa, while keeping it low in carbs and keto-friendly. You can serve in a salad, low-carb tortillas, quesadillas or enchiladas. All are good options and incredibly tasty.
We love to serve barbacoa in low-carb tortillas. We typically buy La Banderita Carb Counter Street Tacos, but you can use any low-carb tortilla (check out our review of the best store-bought low-carb tortillas). We usually top with sliced red onion, jalapeños, diced tomato, guacamole and cilantro.
If you try this recipe, we would love to hear your feedback! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag @lowcarbsimplified on your photo of this recipe on Instagram or Facebook. We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!
Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa (Low Carb / Keto)
- 3 pounds beef chuck roast fat trimmed and cut into 2- or 3-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon salt; ground pepper to season
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 3 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce chopped (3 chilies is about 3 tablespoons)
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- ½ cup low sodium beef broth
- ¼ cup lime juice
- Prepare the beef barbacoa: Cut beef chuck roast as indicated. Season with pepper and 1 tablespoon salt. Put in slow cooker and add remaining ingredients. Toss to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, or on high for at least 4 hours, or until beef easily pulls apart with a fork.
- Remove and serve: With a slotted spoon (due to level of juices), remove beef from slow cooker and shred into bite-size pieces on a large cutting board. Put in a serving bowl and spoon some of the slow cooker juices over the top. Serve with a pair of tongs.