Barbacoa Recipe (Chipotle Copycat) – Wholesome Yum

Qdoba shredded beef recipe slow cooker

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Have you ever eaten barbecue meat at Chipotle? Their chicken is delicious, the fajita vegetables are delicious and I love the Mexican chorizo, but the Chipotle barbecue? I’d say it’s the best of all (especially if you’re looking for guacamole). If you’ve ever had it, you know. I bet you’ve wondered if it’s also possible to cook slow-cooking barbecue meat at home. Good news: This beef barbecue recipe is incredibly easy (as easy as making shredded pork or bone-in Instant Pot beef ribs), and it’s made with just ten common ingredients.

If you didn’t adore your Crock Pot before, once you make this Crock Pot barbecue meat in it! It’s one of my favorite imitation Chipotle recipes and one of the best Mexican beef recipes I’ve ever made.

What is Barbacoa?

Barbacoa is a

traditional Mexican meat cooked with spices that is tender, tasty, and usually served grated as a filling or topping. Traditionally, a variety of meats can be used to make Mexican barbecue, including beef (usually roasted or breast), goat, or lamb.

Making authentic barbecue meat requires three things: the right meat, the right spices, and the time to cook it for flavors to develop. Traditional Mexican spices are combined with marinated peppers, lime and broth to make a marinade that cooks slowly with the meat, while the long cooking time allows the flavors to merge and the meat to become tender and juicy.

What does barbecue taste like?

The barbecue meat

tastes like tender, shredded slow-cooked meat cooked in a marinade sauce with plenty of tasty Mexican spices. In other words, it tastes delicious.

Slow cooker barbecue meat.

Chipotle BBQ Ingredients

This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for barbecue meat, what each does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.

Did you know that Chipotle publicly publishes the ingredient list for each item on its menu? To make a Chipotle barbecue recipe at home, I started with a look at what they include when they cook their delicious barbecue meat. It turns out that yours only has eleven ingredients, plus water.

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Here are the barbecue ingredients in my recipe, very similar to Chipotle’s:


  • – Use beef breast or roast beef. These harder cuts have a lot of fat and connective tissue (read: collagen), which means they turn into juicy, tender barbecue meat when cooked slowly. (I get my meat here, because it is grass-fed and delivered to my door.) You can trim any huge chunk of fat if necessary, but don’t cut it all up, as in the end you will ensure tasty barbecue meat. Cut the meat into large pieces, about 2 inches in size.
  • Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce – These add classic warmth and flavor! My version is a bit spicier than the original Chipotle, so if you don’t like it very hot, you might want to reduce the amount of chili peppers in adobo sauce.
  • Broth – BBQ meat needs a liquid to keep it moist. For a richer flavor, use meat broth instead of water to make your slow-cooked barbecue meat. You can also use bone broth for even more flavor and nutrition.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: adds a good hit of acid to supplement the rich beef, and also helps break down collagen in connective tissues, so that barbecue meat melts tender.
  • Lemon juice – Enhances the flavors of the spices used in this barbecue recipe, and also helps break down collagen along with vinegar. You can use fresh or bottled lemon juice for convenience.
  • Herbs and spices: dried oregano, ground cumin, ground cloves, sea salt (or kosher salt), black pepper and bay leaves.
<img src="" alt="Ingredients

of the barbecue recipe.” />


to barbecue

This section shows how to make this easy slow cooker barbecue recipe, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For complete instructions, including quantities and temperatures, see the recipe card below.

  1. Mix the barbecue sauce. Combine beef broth, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, garlic, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, dried oregano, cumin, sea salt, black pepper, and ground teeth in a blender (all except meat and bay leaves). Puree until it has a smooth sauce/pasta consistency. A small food processor will also work if you don’t have a blender, or if yours isn’t powerful enough.
  2. Prepare the meat. Cut the beef breast or roast into 2-inch pieces. Place them evenly at the bottom of the slow cooker.
  1. combine. Pour the barbecue sauce over the meat in the clay pot. Place two bay leaves on top.
  1. Slow cooking. Turn on your slow cooker (Low is recommended, but High will work if you’re short on time) and go enjoy your day. Return later to the perfect slow-cooked barbecue meat.
  2. blade. Use two large forks to crush the meat; This should be very easy if it has been cooked for long enough. You can crush barbecue in the slow cooker directly, or transfer it to a crushing bowl and then place the grated meat back into the juices in the clay pot. Serve with a slotted spoon (see serving ideas below).
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Large stack of imitation Chipotle barbecue on a plate.

Storage instructions

Store leftover beef barbecue in the refrigerator


How long does

the barbecue in the fridge last? BBQ meat

will last about 4-6 days in the fridge


Freezing instructions:

This meat barbecue recipe is freezer-safe, so you’ll be able to have it on hand to thaw for a quick dinner. Transfer the meat to a zip-lock bag or airtight container, along with the liquid, and freeze for up to 4-6 months.

Reheat instructions: Reheat


barbecue in the microwave, in a 350-degree F oven, until hot. You can also reheat barbecue at the Crock Pot in the Warm setting.

Silver barbecue salad.Ways to


barbecue recipes

This imitation Chipotle barbecue beef can be served in many different types of Mexican recipes! Here are the most popular options:

  • Salad – My favorite healthy way to serve homemade barbecue meat is in a large salad, which is what I always order at Chipotle, too. My salad shown above includes slow cook barbecue (of course), romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, red onions, jalapeno slices, sour cream, guacamole, and fresh cilantro. Other popular additions include grated cheese (cheddar or Mexican blend) and pico de gallo instead of tomatoes and onions. You can also use meat from barbecue recipes in taco salad.
  • Burrito Bowl – Similar to the salad above, but you can add cilantro and lime rice (I usually use simple cauliflower rice or cauliflower rice with cilantro and lime) and/or your favorite beans (black beans, pinto beans, etc.) For a healthy version, follow my healthy burrito bowl recipe, and simply swap the meat with this barbecue recipe.
  • Quesadillas – Fill your favorite tortillas with lots of cheese (I love a mix of Mexican blend and Cotija) and barbecue meat. Grill on a tortilla press or on the stove. Flour or corn tortillas are classic options, but for healthy tortillas, try almond flour tortillas, coconut flour tortillas, or cauliflower tortillas.
  • Tacos – There are endless ways to make barbecue tacos! Use soft shells (some tortilla ideas above), crispy cheese taco peels, jicama tortillas, or regular hard taco peels. My favorite easy combo is the beef barbecue, thinly sliced avocados, red onion quarter moon and cilantro, super simple but so tasty and juicy they don’t even need a sauce!
  • Enchiladas – Mix barbecue meat with enchilada sauce, stuff into tortillas, roll and place it in a baking dish, sewing down. Top with grated cheese (such as Colby Jack or Mexican mix) and bake. I also have this low-carb enchilada recipe, where you can swap chicken for barbecue meat.
  • Tamales: Use it in your favorite recipe or swap it for chicken in keto tamales.
  • Toppers – Any of the above may benefit from adding fresh tomato sauce, pineapple sauce, cheese (or queso fresco), shredded cheese, and sour cream, either as a topping or for dipping, depending on the dish.
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: Disclaimer: Chipotle may be a registered trademark. This recipe is my interpretation of a similar dish, but it should not be construed as an endorsement of the company or having been endorsed by the company. There is no affiliation between me and the company. The trademark remains the property of its owner and is used here only to describe the product.

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