Barbacoa Beef Recipe for Crockpot or Pressure Cooker

Paleo spirit barbacoa on platterAs a displaced Texan living in the Northeast I am always on the lookout for great barbecue, Tex-Mex and Mexican food. I love where I live but there is a definite dearth of these types of restaurants – at least not with the quality I expect. Okay, I admit it, I am a food snob when it comes to barbecue and Tex-Mex.

Even though it is considered fast food, I have grown to love the Chipotle restaurant chain. It fills a definite void. Chipotle’s Barbacoa is one of my favorites. As the name suggests it is beef barbecue with a spicy, Mexican flavor. The recipe that I use is an amalgamation of ones I have found across the internet purporting to be the REAL Chipotle Barbacoa recipe. I am not so much interested in replicating that recipe exactly as I am in making something that is Paleo-friendly and delicious.

Most recently I made this Barbacoa Beef recipe with the 12 pound beef tri tip I bought at Costco. See previous post.
Paleo beef

Even though the beef was almost certainly conventionally produced, it was very lean. And at $2.59/lb it was fairly inexpensive. The downside was the size. It was SO enormous there was no way it would fit into my crockpot or pressure cooker. Doubling the recipe and dividing the beef in two – one for the crockpot and the other for the pressure cooker was my solution.Paleo spirit beef from Costco cut up

Ultimately the meat was cut into a total of 8 large pieces so that it could more easily be seared and fit into the crockpot and pressure cooker. The following recipe is for 6 pounds of meat given that not everyone has a huge 12 pounder on their hands! The instructions are given for both methods depending on your preference.

Ingredients

6 lb. beef roast (cut into 4 or more large pieces, fat trimmed)
3 tablespoons oil (ideally coconut, ghee, lard, tallow)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (approximately 6 peppers)
8 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Celtic sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups chicken or beef stock
5 bay leaves
2 juniper berries (optional)

Instructions

In a large pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat and sear each side of the meat until browned – about 2-3 minutes on each side. Place the meat in either a crockpot or pressure cooker.Paleo spirit barbacoa beef in crockpot
Combine vinegar, lime juice, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, garlic, cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt and cloves.Paleo spirit chipotle barbacoa ingredients
Process ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Paleo spirit barbacoa sauce
Pour the blended sauce over the meat and add in the stock, bay leaves and juniper berries.Paleo spirit barbacoa sauce on beef in crockpot

Crockpot method

Cover and simmer for 6 or more hours on low heat until very tender.Paleo spirit barbacoa pulled beef in crockpot

Pressure cooker method

Cover with pressure cooker lid and heat on medium-high heat bringing to pressure according to the manufacturer’s directions. Cook at medium heat, without losing pressure, on highest pressure setting for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool until pressure is released, about 15 minutes.

Additional instructions for both methods

Pour off liquid into wide bottomed pan and simmer on high heat until reduced by half.Paleo spirit barbacoa sauce
Pull beef apart with two forks. Pour reduced sauce onto beef.

We ate from the batch cooked in the pressure cooker that same night (it only took about an hour) and had leftovers for several lunches and dinners – including Barbacoa Beef Salad (photo below). The batch that was cooked in the crockpot was divided into smaller containers and frozen for future use. This is a great way to easily produce a lot of tasty food in one shot and at a reasonable price, eat 100% Paleo and get your Chipotle Barbacoa fix at the same time.

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