This chipotle barbacoa beef is bursting with smoky, rich flavor. It’s slow cooked in a homemade adobo sauce for tender, juicy meat to use in tacos, burritos and more.
You can purchase prepackaged chipotle adobo sauce but, over the past several months, I’ve been learning to make my own homemade sauces instead of being dependent on prepared sauces. Homemade sauces have, by far, the fresher flavor. It’s wonderful to know and be able to pronounce all of your ingredients too!
I’ve made homemade adobo sauce in another recipe and it’s delicious with chicken too! Try this Chicken Tinga Tacos Dorados recipe.
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Homemade Adobo Sauce
I typically try to make my sauces on the mild side. I’ve used these chiles:
- Guajillo chiles
- Ancho chiles
- Chipotle chiles
- Arbol chiles
The hot chiles in this list are the Arbol chiles. You can consider them to be similar to cayenne. I’ve only used two of them. If you want more heat, try adding more of them.
Dried Mexican Chiles
When using Mexican chiles, the dried versions have different names from the fresh versions. The guajillo chiles are mirasol, the ancho chiles are poblano and the chipotle are jalapeño.
You can get creative with your chiles to come up with your own combination or to use the dried chiles you have on hand.
To learn more about how much spicy heat is in each chile pepper, view the Scoville Heat Scale which lists several different peppers used here.
It’s very easy to make the sauce. I think the most time-consuming part is removing the seeds from the chiles. After you’ve removed and discarded the seeds, you should wash your chiles.
Chiles are usually dried outdoors and you don’t want “things” in your food. I hope that they’re washed before packaging, but you just never know.
When serving your chipotle barbacoa beef, think of it as spicy pulled beef barbecue. Get creative and use it for anything where you might use pulled beef.
I’ve served it here as burritos and tacos. For the tacos, I grilled the corn tortillas to heat them up. I added baby spinach, red cabbage and finely chopped tomatoes. For burritos, I used the same ingredients on flour tortillas with yellow rice. Be sure to toast your burrito in a skillet just a bit to make it a little crispy. Yum!
Load everything up just like you would a regular taco or burrito. The only thing I left out is cheese. I don’t really like the taste of cheese with a sweet barbecue sauce. If you like it, though, the more cheese, the better.
On the side, serve with lime slices, crema and cilantro. Try straining out a little sauce from the pulled beef for dipping.
Be sure to browse all our Mexican food recipes for more ideas.
This recipe was featured in this roundup of 8 Favorite Recipes for Cinco de Mayo.
Chipotle Barbacoa Beef with Homemade Adobo Sauce
- Slow cooker (Crockpot)
- 2 Roma Tomatoes, quartered
- 4 Garlic Cloves, peeled
- 1 large Onion, quartered
- 6 Dried Guajillo Chiles, stemmed, seeded and rinsed
- 4 Dried Ancho Chiles, stemmed, seeded and rinsed
- 4 Dried Chipotle Chiles, stemmed, seeded and rinsed
- 2 Dried Arbol Chiles, stemmed, seeded and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
- ⅛ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 pounds Chuck Roast
Preparing Adobo Sauce
- Quarter tomatoes and large onion. Peel garlic cloves. Stem, seed and rinse all dried chiles. Place all in a medium sauce pan with enough water to cover.
- Place pan on medium high heat and bring to a boil then reduce to low and cover with lid. Allow to cook until everything is heated through and chiles are soft, about 15 minutes.
- With slotted spoon remove all ingredients from water to blender. To blender, add salt, oregano, cumin, brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. If necessary to allow blender to work properly, add a little more fresh water.
- Blend until smooth.
- Trim and cut roast into 1 ½" pieces. Place roast pieces in slow cooker (Crockpot).
- Add the homemade adobo sauce to slow cooker and stir well.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
- With two forks, shred meat. It should be very easy to shred at this point. Stir well. Cook for 30 minutes more.
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