My favorite thing at Chipotle is hands-down their barbacoa beef, and I’m sure I’m not alone. I tend to order shredded beef if it’s an option at whatever Mexican restaurant I happen to be visiting, but Chiptole’s is so flavorful – juicy and spicy and succulent – that I haven’t found another that’s quite as crave-worthy. This recipe is the perfect copycat – all the flavor of the Chiptole version, so easy to make (thanks Instant Pot!), and great in so many applications. (Burrito bowls, or nachos, or tacos… it all works.)
Lucky for all of us, this succulent shredded beef is super simple to recreate at home. Barbacoa gets its tender and juicy flavor from being cooked low and slow for a long while, but a pressure cooker speeds that process up considerably. In the Instant Pot, it takes just about an hour and a handful of ingredients that are easy to find. You can make this recipe in a slow cooker as well, you would just want to cook it for four hours on high or six on low.
The braising liquid here is responsible for that signature flavor, and that’s a simple mixture of broth, garlic, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, oregano, cumin, cloves, and most importantly – chipotles in adobo sauce. You’ll find the chipotles as a canned item on the international aisle of the grocery store. You can add more or less of them according to your own desire for spiciness, but use a bit of caution, they can make it a little too caliente. I think two is just enough for a little kick that most people can handle, and that’s usually what I use when I’m serving this to guests. (If I’m only worrying about myself, I make sure to get allllll that adobo sauce in for extra flavor.)
This is a recipe I turn to so frequently. I’ve made it as part of a meal kit to bring to new parents, batch-cooked and frozen it as a quick and easy protein option to have on hand, and countless times have set it out with taco fixings when we’re feeding a crowd of friends and family. It always gets rave reviews and works so well with so many different dishes. I hope you love it as much as I do!
Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef
15 minutes active, 1 hour inactive to prepare serves 6-8
- 2/3 cup beef or chicken broth
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 lbs beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into large chunks
- 3 bay leaves
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, chipotles, lime juice, vinegar, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and cloves until well combined. Set aside.
- Set the Instant Pot to 'Saute' mode and add olive oil to the insert. Once hot, add beef and sear until well browned, about 2 minutes per side.
- Press 'Cancel' and add vinegar sauce and broth, and top with bay leaves. Stir to combine.
- Close lid and set valve to 'Sealing.' Select 'Manual' mode at High Pressure for 60 minutes.
- When cooking cycle ends, turn vent to 'Venting' and allow pressure to release.
- When valve has dropped, remove and discard bay leaves. Using two forks, shred beef into bite-sized pieces and stir to coat in juices.
- Serve in tacos, burritos, or burrito bowls. Enjoy!
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven.