Crock Pot Barbacoa Recipe

Crockpot Barbacoa Recipe_2

I just got back from a fab week vacation in San Diego! My husband and I stayed with a super cool friend of mine, Yanira, for a couple of days. It’s uncanny how much we have in common. Our birthdays are weeks apart. We both think it’s because we are Cancers. She loves to cook and entertain as much as I do.

One of my main inspirations for food is my friends and family. When Yanira offered up to make her family barbacoa recipe I was stoked! I loove barbacoa tacos! She took me to fantastic family owned Mexican grocery store to gather all the ingredients.

I loved the store! There was a whole section in the dairy aisle devoted to all the different kinds of Mexican cheese. I had no idea there was more than 1! Don’t even get me started on the carniceria! It’s like a meat department on crack. Tons of marinated meats and delicious cuts of things I recognized and lots of things I was scared to look to closely at. (haha)

It wasn’t until I got back that it dawned on me that to grab my notebook and camera so I could take notes on how she made it. Over a glass of wine, I got to watch Yanira put this all together first hand. It was cool getting schooled on how to make her mom’s recipe. In my mind I was thinking,  my family doesn’t have recipes like this. I grew up on Hamburger Helper and Pop Tarts!

The process was relatively easy. She started the crock pot when we went to bed. I remember around 5 in the morning dreaming of food. Yummy, delicious things I kept trying to eat but was never satisfied. I woke up about 8:30 to the smell of the barbacoa filling the entire house. It smelled so good I wanted to eat it before I even  had my coffee. That’s saying a lot!

We ate an early lunch of barbacoa tacos. I ate so much that when I put on my shorts they were cutting the circulation off from the top half of my body. Too much taco? NEVER! Fat and happy beats skinny and mean any day, right?

This is based on her family recipe. I added a few things because I am a cook and I like to do things like that! In all fairness, Yanira admitted to me that she does the same thing with her family recipes. Like I said, great minds think alike!

Crockpot Barbacoa Recipe_2

Yanira’s original family recipe I got to eat in San Diego.

Crock Pot Barbacoa Recipe

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Cook time: 

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Serves: 8 people

Barbacoa tacos are one of my absolute favorite Mexican meals. This is based on a good friend's family recipe. So juicy and so tender - this crock pot barbacoa recipe packs a punch of flavor that will have your friends and fam talking for days!
  • 2 lbs Boneless Beef Shoulder Roast
  • 1lb Boneless Pork Loin
  • 3 - 4 Red Chiles California (dried Anaheim chiles). These are little hard to find. You will probably need to go to a Mexican grocery. You can substitute for one of these dried chiles- Guajillo Chile or New Mexico Chile.
  • 1 oz Ponzu Sauce - This is a citrus flavored soy sauce found in your asian food section in most grocery stores.
  • 1 oz Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Minced Garlic (about 2 cloves if you are using fresh)
  • ½ tsp Pepper or About 4 - 6 Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 3 dried Cloves (whole)
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 med Limes
  • ½ can of Mexican Beer (I used Modelo)
  • 1 med Sweet Yellow Onion (like a Vidalia)

  • Taco Set Up
  • Fresh Corn Tortillas (you can use flour tortillas - just don't tell your Latino friends)
  • 1 bunch Cilantro - lightly chopped
  • 1 med White Onion - finely chopped
  • 1 Avocado Sliced
  • 3-4 Limes - sliced and ready to squeeze
  • Queso Fresco(Mexican Crumbling Cheese)
  • Salsa
  1. Bring your meat to room temperature. Turn your grill on high or grab a goodly sized pan and heat it up. You are gonna sear your meat. Throw it on and get a nice deep brown color both sides or as many sides as you can. This should take you about 7 minutes. You just want to get a good sear on it - not to cook it. This will help keep your barbacoa nice and juicy! Once seared place in your crock pot. Don't turn it on yet.
  2. Fill up a medium sauce pan about half way and bring to a boil. Add your dried chiles. Cook for about 5 minutes or until they are tender.
  3. Pour water and dried chiles into a strainer. Run cool water over the chiles. Remove stems, slice open and remove seeds. Throw into a blender.
  4. Add ponzu sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic, pepper (or peppercorns), oregano, cloves, cumin, salt, and juice of two limes into a blender. DO NOT ADD BEER! Unless you want to have a little bit of volcano action to happen.
  5. Flip the blender on to a nice medium speed. Blend until nice and smooth. Add ½ can of beer to blender and stir everything together with a spoon. Again, don't try to mix with your blender. It won't end well, I promise.
  6. Pour mixture over your meet in the crock pot. Flip the meat around so you coat all sides.
  7. Chop the onions into small pieces and sprinkle over top.
  8. Turn your crock pot on low and cook for 8 hours (or so) The idea is to cook the meat slow and low. If you try and cheat the process it takes away from the juiciness.
  9. After the 8 hours are up the meat is going to be so juicy and tender you can shred it with a fork. Oh, yeah - you need to do that. Just take two forks and shred/mix up the pork and beef. Mix the sauce and the meats together until everything is nice and blended. Put the lid back on the crock pot and let the meat and juices sit for about 15-20 minutes
  10. Serve up with the taco fixins listed above. Traditionally, barbacoa is served up in a simple way. Just a sprinkle of cilantro, onion, and a squeeze of lime. I like to "Gringo" mine up with some Mexican cheese and avocado.
  11. You can heat up your corn tortillas in the microwave with a tortilla warmer for about 2 minutes. No tortilla warmer? No prob - wrap your corn tortillas with a couple of damp paper towels. Make sure you wrap them completely. Microwave for about the same amount of time.
The best way to do this recipe is to get everything put together and in the crock pot the night before. Before you leave for work in the morning pop this in the crock pot. Mine has a timer on it. If your doesn't - don't be afraid. It won't hurt it to cook a little bit longer.

When you get home your house is going to smell like heaven. You will need to shred and mix the meat together etc. Just follow the rest of the recipe above.


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