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Easy Barbacoa Street Tacos

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Chuck roast that has been simmered to perfection is what sets these tacos apart. If you’ve never had Barbacoa Street Tacos before, then you are in for a real treat! If you are looking for a new spin on Taco Tuesday, then this recipe is it!

How to Make Barbacoa Street Tacos

The great thing about making Barbacoa Beef is that you can also use it in quesadillas, burritos or burrito bowls or even salads. Of course, you can even eat it with just a bowl of rice and just drizzle some fresh squeezed lime juice over it. Regardless of how you enjoy it, once you make beef this way, your family will definitely want to make it again!

If you are looking for additional Mexican themed dishes to go along with this recipe, here are a few other ideas that we think you will enjoy such as this delicious Chicken Tortilla Soup, this yummy Mexican Rice and of course no Fiesta themed meal is complete without homemade Salsa!

Why Make This Recipe

It’s Easy – this is a one-skillet recipe.

Versatile – you can use this juicy beef in a variety of ways.

Expert Tips, Ingredient List and Suggestions for Recipe Success

You will find a complete list of ingredients in the recipe card below.

  • Beef chuck roast – you can use a different type of roast if you prefer, however, this cut is the one we think works the best.
  • Salt – make sure you use kosher and not table.
  • Garlic – you can mince fresh, or you can buy minced garlic. Either is fine.
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – make sure to use some of the adobo sauce that is in the canned chipotle peppers. It really adds a lovely kick to the dish.
  • Brown sugar – this will add a nice sweetness to the beef and help cut down the spiciness. If you need to, you can always add a bit more.
  • Fresh limes squeezed – you can also use lime juice that you buy in a bottle. It’s totally up to you.

What are Barbacoa Tacos Made Of?

Barbacoa is a traditional Mexican dish that is normally typically made with beef, Usually, it is seasoned with dried spices and chilies, and it is slowly cooked to perfection.

What does Barbacoa Taste Like?

Barbacoa beef tastes like flavorful spicy beef.

What’s the Difference between Barbacoa and Carnitas?

Barbacoa refers to how the meat is cooked. When you make Barbacoa Beef, it means that the beef is slow-cooked until fork tender and then it’s shredded. Carnitas are all pork. The pork is also slow-cooked and then finished off by being browned in a skillet so that it’s crispy.

Can you Make Barbacoa Beef in the Oven?

Yes, at 325 degrees for 3 to 4 hours. You can place the cast iron skillet with the beef right in the oven and let it slow cook in that.

How Else Can I Serve this Beef?

If you’d rather not serve this up in tacos, you could make a burrito wrap or bowl. You could also make up a delicious and flavorful salad. This spicy beef would also be out of this world on top of nachos!

Why Didn’t My Meat Sear or Brown Properly?

Normally that happens either because your pan wasn’t hot enough or if the meat was too wet. 

Let’s talk about what I mean by what I just mentioned. When you want to sear the meat. The pan has to be hot. That’s why I love using my cast iron skillet. It really helps not only retain the heat, but it gets hot and sears meat perfectly. 

Secondly, what I mean by the meat being too wet is that before you put the roast into the hot skillet, wipe it down. If the beef is dripping in the juice (blood) from the package, just take it to the sink, give it a good rinse off, and dry the meat with some paper towels.  

Step by Step Directions

Below are a few in-process steps as well as photos for reference.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Next, preheat a heavy skillet, like a cast-iron skillet that is large enough to fit the roast. Then add in the oil and the seasoned piece of beef roast. Sear on each side.

Step 2: Using a blender, blender together the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the bay leaves.

Step 3: Pour the sauce over the seared meat in the skillet.

Step 4: Cover and place the oven-proof skillet into the oven for 2 to 3 hours. Check on the roast every hour so that you can baste the roast in the juice and turn the roast over.

Step 5: When it’s done, remove the skillet from the oven and place the beef in a baking dish and shred the meat.

Step 6: Serve and enjoy!

Shredded Barbacoa beef

Jalapeno Peach Salsa

Salsa Verde

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Mexican Bubble Pizza

Black Bean and Cream Cheese Burritos

Beef Enchiladas

Barbacoa beef in flour tortillas

Barbacoa Street Tacos

Chuck roast that has been simmered to perfection is what really sets these tacos apart. If you've never had Barbacoa Street Tacos before, then you are in for a real treat! If you are looking for a new spin on Taco Tuesday, then this recipe is it!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
3 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 13 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 12


  • Skillet
  • Blender
  • Knife
  • cutting board


  • 2 – 3 lb. beef chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4.5 oz green chilies chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 fresh limes squeezed


  • street tacos
  • tomatoes optional
  • shredded lettuce optional
  • sour cream optional
  • cilantro optional


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
    Heat a cast-iron skillet or heavy skillet to medium-high heat. Add in your favorite oil. Liberally season both sides of the meat with kosher salt and black pepper. Let the meat brown on each side for approximately 3 to 4 minutes until it gets a sear on all sides.
  • In a blender, add the chopped onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, chipotle peppers, and some of the adobo sauce that was in the can, brown sugar, ground cumin, ground cloves, oregano, and green chilies. Put the lid on and turn the blender to blend or pulse. Once everything is blended, pour it on top of the beef roast. Then add the bay leaves to the top.
  • Cover with foil or the oven-proof lid for your skillet and place in the oven.
  • Cook in the oven for 2 to 3 hours until the beef is fork-tender. Check on the roast every hour and turn so the meat has a chance to thoroughly get coated in the sauce.
  •  Once the Barbacoa beef is done, remove it from the oven, place it into a shallow baking dish, and shred it either by using two forks or place it in a mixing bowl and shred it with your mixer.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings and street tacos.
Keyword Barbacoa Beef, Barbacoa Beef Tacos, Mexican dishes, Skillet Barbacoa Beef, Street Tacos
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