Smoky Chipotle Beef Barbacoa

Smoky, succulent beef barbacoa – just like Chipotle’s!


Do you have a designated taco night in your household?  Lately, there has been at least one day each week when we eat tacos for lunch or dinner, but I can’t complain about it!  The problem is…in order to make that intensely flavorful, slow-simmered, fork-tender meat filling, it usually requires advance planning like marinating the meat overnight, or allowing the meat to simmer in a slow cooker for the entire day.

Two weeks ago, I decided one day at 4pm that I wanted to make beef barbacoa tacos that same evening (my attempt at menu planning…) and after some experimentation, I think I’ve got the right recipe for a weeknight beef barbacoa taco dinner.  Beef chuck is seared and then slow-cooked in a smoky, spicy combination of chipotle peppers in adobo and hatch chiles, creating perfectly moist and succulent Mexican shredded beef.  This dish turned out so well that I knew I had to share it with you.


The meat is so versatile.  You can use it as a filling in tacos, quesadillas, burritos, or burrito rice bowls.  Even though it was just for the two of us, I made the full recipe so that it would be enough for two meals.  It makes for amazing leftovers!  We had the second serving for lunch this past weekend and it was as good as the first time.


Smoky Chipotle Beef Barbacoa
Smoky, succulent beef barbacoa - just like Chipotle's!
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 1 4-oz can diced green chiles
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small white onion, quartered
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Salt
  • 2 lbs beef chuck, fat trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cilantro (leaves and stems), tied with a kitchen twine
  1. In a blender or food processor, combine chipotle peppers, hatch chiles, chili powder, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, brown sugar, tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, cook beef in oil over medium high heat until all sides are browned. Pour reserved mixture over top. Add bay leaves and cilantro. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 2 hours, adding up to 1 cup of water if the sauce gets too thick. Discard bay leaves and cilantro, and shred meat with two forks. Return shredded meat to the sauce and season with salt to taste. Serve with tortillas and your choice of toppings.
Serving size: 6

kyocera-giveawayNow for the good part — I have a giveaway for you!  One reader will receive a Kyocera 2-Piece Ceramic Knife Set (in either red, as pictured above, or green), which comes with a 5.5-inch Santoku and a 3-inch paring knife.  To enter, just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below.  The giveaway ends on July 25 at 11:59PM.  Good luck!

The giveaway is now over — thanks for entering and congrats to Jaclynn C! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Eugenia Hall says

    I like the red ones, easy to keep track of particularly if you take them to a picnic or pot luck.

  2. Peggy Rydzewski says

    I like both but I think the green would be better for when you are slicing meat. Easy to see.

  3. willitara says

    I prefer the red. I really hope I win this. I love ceramic knives and one of my was lost so I’m needing another.