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person holding a spoonful of Chipotle barbacoa

Chipotle Barbacoa (Copycat Recipe)

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x


Our Chipotle barbacoa copycat recipe is melt in your mouth tender and bursting with bold flavors from our easy homemade sauce.  Make your favorite Mexican takeout at home with your slow cooker, and enjoy tasty burritos and tacos tonight.



For the Sauce

  • 5 whole chipotle chilies, canned in adobo sauce (2 oz.)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (15 ml)
  • 6 jumbo garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (36g)
  • 1 cup beef broth (240 ml)
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (60 ml)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (60 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

For the Meat

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or rice bran oil (30 ml)
  • 4 pounds chuck roast, cut into 7 or 8 pieces (1.8 kg)
  • sprinkle of kosher salt on beef
  • sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper on beef
  • 2 large bay leaves


  1. Puree: Add all 11 sauce ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth.  It will make 1 2/3 cups.
  2. Prep: Cut the beef into 4-6 large chunks, then rinse them with cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Brown: Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add half of the meat, then reduce the heat to medium.  Brown the meat on each side for roughly 4 minutes, or until it releases with a gentle tug with a pair of tongs.  Set the browned chunks on a plate.
  4. Cook: Place the meat at the bottom of a large crock pot and pour half of the sauce on top, making sure to coat each piece.  Repeat with the second layer.  Place two bay leaves on top of the meat, cover, and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 hours.
  5. Shred: Once the meat is cool enough to handle, shred the beef with two forks.  Add enough of the sauce to make the meat moist.  You should have 6 cups of shredded meat (1.36 kg).
  6. Serve: Keep the meat warm in the crock pot on the warm setting, and serve with other Chipotle copycat sides in a burrito bowl, tacos, nachos, or a salad.


  • Brown the beef.  It's worth the time.
  • For more flavor, use beef broth instead of water.
  • Chipotle chilies that are canned in adobo sauce provide the heat and smokiness.
  • For a more authentic flavor, use Mexican oregano.
  • Reheat the 6 cups of the shredded meat in the slow cooker on high for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through, then turn it to warm until you're ready to serve it at your party.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Chipotle barbacoa recipe, ingredients, nutrition