Spicy Slow Cooker Barbacoa

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Big smoky flavor with extra spiciness…

A spicy slow cooker barbacoa is, to us, the perfect beef option for taco night or for juicy shredded beef sandwiches. The smoky spiciness of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce just makes people’s mouths water without even taking a first bite! This recipe is very similar to the barbacoa you’d find at Chipotle, the restaurant chain – but with a lot more kick with the healthy portion of chipotles and the dash of cayenne to top things off. If you’re concerned about too much spiciness, simply remove the cayenne and lower the amount of chipotles used from four to three. It’s still spicy, but without the double down on heat. 

Spicy Slow Cooker Barbacoa

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 9 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 10 hours



  • In a food processor, combine the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, cayenne, cumin, oregano, cloves, salt, and pepper. Pulse blend until smooth.
  • Trim the chuck roast, then cut it into several smaller pieces (6 to 8).
  • Heat an oiled pan over medium, then sear the smaller pieces of chuck roast (a few at a time) until they are browned. Transfer the seared chuck roast to the slow cooker.
  • Pour the sauce over the beef in the slow cooker. Then pour in the beef broth and add the bay leaves in between pieces of the chuck roast.
  • Slow cook on high for 6 hours or low for 9 - 10 hours, then shred the beef. Add salt and pepper to taste,
  • Serve immediately from slow cooker. The juices will increases the barbacoa's spiciness over time. OR, you can strain the liquid from the beef, add salt and pepper to taste, then serve.


Adapted from Food.com.
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on May 5, 2020 to include new content.
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