A simple slow cooker barbacoa recipe that’s smoky and spicy. This barbacoa is topped with a chipotle lime coleslaw and makes for some super flavorful tacos.
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Step 1: Add the Beef and Spices to the Slow Cooker.
The slow cooker is your friend when it comes to meals like this. Barbacoa works great with a large and tough cut of meat like chuck roast or arm roast. Slow roasting it for hours in a slow cooker will result in flavorful meat that shreds easily and works as a perfect filling for tacos. Simply turn the slow cooker on and place the meat in it – I used a 2 lb. beef arm roast. Pour 2 Tbsp. cooking stock over the meat and then add the following spices: 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. Mexican oregano, 1 tsp. smoked paprika, 1 tsp. garlic powder, and 1 tsp. cumin. Add 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 Tbsp. vinegar, 1-2 chopped chipotles in adobo, and 1 small chopped white onion. The lime juice and the vinegar will help to break down the tough fibers of the meat as it cooks. Cook for 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
Step 2: Make the Chipotle-lime Coleslaw.
I wanted to echo the flavors of the barbacoa with this recipe so I decided to go with chipotle and lime (and a little bit of mayonnaise). To make the dressing, simply combine 1/2 cup mayo, 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, 2-3 Tbsp. adobo sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, and a pinch of kosher salt in a bowl. Stir until completely combined. Place 5 cups of shredded cabbage (you can use bagged or freshly chopped cabbage) and pour the dressing over the top. Toss until the cabbage is coated in the dressing and then place in the refrigerator while the meat cooks. This will allow the flavors to meld together.
Step 3: Shred the Beef.
Remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred with two forks. Once shredded, return it to the slow cooker along with all the juices. Add 2 Tbsp. of tomato sauce to the meat and stir it all together. The tomato sauce gives it a nice consistency and kind of ties it all together.
Step 4: Assemble the Tacos.
Heat some tortillas – you can use corn or flour – and pile on the toppings. Add a generous amount of meat and a large spoonful of coleslaw. Additional toppings are optional but highly recommended: chopped onions, cilantro, avocado slices, and a squeeze of lime. The freshness of the lime and cilantro really work to offset the heavy nature of the beef and the smokiness of the chipotle.
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