Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa Recipe

Chipotle's barbacoa? Yes, please!

Chipotle's barbacoa? Yes, please!

If you're a big fan of Chipotle's beef barbacoa, you'll love this recipe. It tastes just like the barbacoa at Chipotle and is really easy to prepare. This version contains slightly less fat than the version served up at the restaurant but is definitely just as delicious.

The step-by-step instructions given below have a very short prep time, but the meat does take about six hours to cook (most of the cook time is just low simmering.)

This is a perfect recipe for a slow cooker, which can be started up around noon and will be ready at dinner time. You can use the barbacoa to make your own burritos, tacos, taco salad, or anything else you can dream up.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

6 hours

6 hours 20 min

Serves 10 people 1/2 pound of barbacoa


  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 chipotle peppers (canned in adobo sauce)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds beef roast
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves

Step 1: Cut the beef into smaller portions (four pieces.) In a large Dutch oven, add the vegetable oil and lightly brown each side of the beef portions.

Step 2
: In a blender, add lime juice, chipotle peppers, apple cider vinegar, garlic (I used canned minced garlic), cumin, salt, oregano, black pepper, chicken broth, and ground clove and blend until smooth.

Step 3: Pour blended mixture over the beef portions and add bay leaves.

Step 4: Cover and simmer for 6 hours. Flip the meat every hour in order to cook evenly. The barbacoa is finished when you can easily pull apart the meat. If the meat is too hard to shred, it needs to simmer longer.

Step 5: Using a fork, pull apart the meat into shreds. You should also fish out the three bay leaves. Do not strain (the sauce is just too yummy to discard.) This recipe serves 10 people 1/2 pound of barbacoa each.

Mmm homemade beef barbacoa

Mmm homemade beef barbacoa

Quick Poll

Ways to Enjoy Barbacoa

To make Chipotle-style burritos, use large flour tortillas and add rice, beans (or refried beans), barbacoa, salsa (or pico de gallo), cheese, lettuce, sour cream and be sure to load up on the guacamole! Tortilla chips make a great side to a burrito. You can add the beef barbacoa to tacos or even enjoy as a topping for taco salad.

If you're more of a taco person (like me), then go for the smaller tortillas and throw in your favorite toppings. Corn salsa, anyone?

To make a taco salad with the barbacoa, just create an open-faced burrito: toss all your favorite toppings on a pile of tortilla chips and enjoy!

This makes amazing leftovers, so you'll definitely want to save it. Store extra barbacoa in a plastic container and put it in the refrigerator. You can reheat it on the stove or on half-heat in the microwave.


Chetan Jariwala from San Jose on March 26, 2013:

Yummy... I think people can modify it according to their taste.... great recipe

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on July 29, 2012:

I had no idea what the heck this was when I read the title so I had to come and have a look :) This looks and sounds delicious. I just got a new crock pot so I'll be trying your recipe soon. The only ingredient I may have a hard time finding is the chipotle peppers, but I love a challenge and will try to hunt them down.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on July 16, 2012:

Looks great! We don't have a Chipotle around here. I like trying copycat recipes, though. Thanks for sharing this one!

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on April 05, 2012:

I love Chipotle's barbacoa so I cannot wait to try this one. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon from United Kingdom on April 02, 2012:

I am thoroughly intrigued by this recipe and simply must try it.

Thanks for sharing this with us. I'll let you know how it goes.

Voted up, useful and interesting. Socially shared.

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