Library Recipe Exchange

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos
with Pickled Red Onions contributed by Sarah

Ingredients for Beef Tacos:

  • 3 lb chuck roast
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups beef broth, divided
  • 3 – 4 chipotle chilies in adobo*
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice


  1. Cut roast into 6 portions while removing any large pieces of fat. Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a skillet.
  2. Dab roast dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp salt 3/4 tsp pepper). Add 3 pieces to skillet and sear until browned on all sides. Transfer to a slow cooker.
  3. Add remaining 1 Tbsp vegetable oil to skillet and repeat process with remaining 3 roast pieces. Nestle beef portions side by side in an even layer in slow cooker.
  4. In a food processor, pulse together chipotle chilies, garlic and 1/4 cup beef broth until well pureed, occasionally stopping and scraping down sides of processor.
  5. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together remaining beef broth with chipotle mixture, cumin, oregano and cloves. Pour mixture over beef in slow cooker, then nestle bay leaves between beef portions.
  6. Cover and cook on low heat 8 – 9 hours**.
  7. Remove beef from slow cooker (leave broth) and shred. Stir lime juice into broth in slow cooker then return beef to slow cooker and cook on low or warm 20 – 30 minutes longer.
  8. Strain liquid from beef and serve in tortillas with desired toppings. We enjoyed ours with the pickled red onions, sour cream, and some homemade guacamole!


Ingredients for Pickled Red Onions:

  • 2 Red Onions
  • 1 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp. Salt
  • 2 cups boiling water


  1. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the red onions thinly and put into a mason jar.
  2. In another bowl, add in the apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt. Pour the boiling water over the mixture and allow the ingredients to combine until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Once the mixture is cooled, pour into the mason jar with the sliced onions, give it a quick shake and store in the fridge.
  4. Allow the onions to sit for 2-3 days for best results!