Copycat Chipotle Beef Barbacoa

Copycat Chipotle Beef Barbacoa- Easy, moist and juicy beef barbacoa inspired by Chipotle- Even better than the original- Paleo and gluten free! 

Copycat Chipotle Beef Barbacoa- Easy, moist and juicy beef barbacoa inspired by Chipotle- Even better than the original- Paleo and gluten free!

Mexican is a cuisine which is reins supreme in America. Regardless of which part of the country you are, you are bound to be blessed with at least several decent options to get your burrito fix. Here in Australia, outside of several (less than stellar) chains, its a cuisine yet to flourish. My go to meal whilst interning in New York was without a doubt a burrito bowl from Chipotle. The moist barbacoa, fajita veggies and the compulsory double helping of guacamole screamed comfort and health each and every time. Upon returning back home, I swore I would attempt to recreate the beef barbacoa recipe to get my Mexican fix on a daily weekly basis. After much experimentation with ingredients and cooking times,  I can confidently say I have struck a winner in terms of taste, texture and resemblance to the real deal! Enjoy!

Copycat Chipotle Beef Barbacoa recipe (adapted from these recipes)
Serves- 6
Prep- 15 minutes
Cooking time- 8-12 hours (depending on slow cooker)

  • 1 kilogram gravy beef/chuck roast/slow cooker friendly cut of beef 
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3-4 medium jarred jalapeno peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup + 2 TBS beef stock
  • 1 1/2 bay leaves
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 TBS lemon juice
  • Cooking oil/spray
  1. Trim the beef of any visible fat, and cut into 8-10 chucks. Spray a frying pan with oil/cooking spray and lightly brown all sides of the beef (approximately 1-2 minutes). Turn off the heat and place meat in a crock pot/slow cooker.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, mixed herbs, salt, pepper, chopped jalepeno peppers and lemon juice until well combined. Add in the beef stock and mix until well incorporated. 
  3. Add the chopped onion and bay leaves to the beef in slow cooker. Slowly, pour the liquid mixture from the bowl over the beef until evenly covered. 
  4. Cook on low heat for 8 hours. After 8 hours, check the beef. It should still be quite pink and tough. Turn the chunks over and  allow it to cook for a further 2-4 hours, until most of the broth has been absorbed. Once there is a very shallow layer of broth left, turn off the slow cooker. Get 2 forks and shred the meat and allow to sit in the slow cooker for a further 20 minutes, before transferring to a bowl. 
  5. Serve immediately, or allow to cool and refrigerate for later use. 
  • Time-wise, I had my beef cooking for 12 hours. 8 hours one day, turned off overnight, then a further 4 hours the next day. I also let the meat sit for several hours once cooked before serving at dinner time. I have experimented with cooking this on high for less time, but the meat was not as moist and the taste was not as succulent compared to leaving it for the longer cooking time. 
  • The beef can be substituted for pork or chicken, but cooking time would be less, especially for chicken which tends to become dry when overcooked
  • The more it sits in the fridge, the more flavour it absorbs. I ate this over several days, and the taste got better over time! 
Excuse the terrible picture and bowl. Its the taste that matters 😉
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13 thoughts on “Copycat Chipotle Beef Barbacoa

  1. Well if I wasn't vegetarian, I would totally try this! If I ever attempt a tofu/tempeh barbacoa, I will have to use your marinade!Chipotle's burritos bowls are pretty fantastic. With all the beans and veggies and guac mixed up… SO good! Talk about a comfort meal haha.Oh and I definitely agree with you that taste completely overrules picture quality. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but taste is worth even more 😉

  2. Canada (or at least the town where I live) is seriously lacking in good Mexican food too. Chipotle is starting to open stores here, but not close enough for my liking! :PMy favourite thing from Chipotle is the burrito bowl too, although I've never had beef in mine. Your recipe looks fantastic though!

  3. I reckon this would work really well with beans instead of the meat, but variations on cooking time! Wow, imagine Mexican style tofu! I think I worked out in a time span of 90 days, I ate 30 chipotle burrito bowls…..Taste > pictures.

  4. Thanks Chelsea! The only Mexican places here are substandard and the prices…. well around $25 for beans, rice and some protein. And don't forget the additional $6 for chips and salsa.. then $5 for guac… worst.

  5. This is a great recipe! It sounds a lot like the one from Chipotle too which is impressive. I think I've only ever had their chicken but it's been awhile since I can't really eat there anymore. I'm going to bookmark this recipe though to share with my family. They are Chipotle lovers as well and since we have an entire freezer of grass-fed beef I think this would be great to make up in a big batch and heat up as desired for single serving taco salads!

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