Better than Chipotle Barbacoa Copycat

February 1, 2016 by Dominic

This Chipotle Barbacoa Copycat recipe is one of the first that I experimented with in my Instant Pot. It has been a staple in our home ever since!

This magical cooking vessel does all of the work of 8 different kitchen gadgets in a fraction of the time. It easily takes the place of an electric pressure cooker, a sauté pan, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker and warmer.

As I experimented with various cuts of beef and seasonings, I was instantly addicted. The end result is meat that is fall-apart-tender in as little as 30 minutes.

What is barbacoa?

Traditionally, barbacoa is a shredded beef that may include some interesting parts like the tongue and head. I opted for a beef chuck roast instead.

The beef is slow cooked with many different aromatics including chipotle peppers, apple cider vinegar, ground cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon.

I’ve also included instructions for a slow cooker and dutch oven in the recipe card.

Chipotle Barbacoa Copycat Recipe from No Bun Please

Chipotle is delicious but pricey

To be completely honest, I love Chipotle’s barbacoa. It’s delicious. It has a great texture… and the flavor is always on point!

Unfortunately, it’s a little pricey. With double barbacoa, sour cream, cheese, salsa, pico de gallo and guacamole, my bill inevitably comes out to almost $15.

The lack of rice and bean definitely contribute to this, but those aren’t very Keto-friendly. You can also add romaine lettuce (free) in place of rice and beans, so keep that in mind.

I don’t mean to brag, but I feel like my recipe might be better. One thing is for sure, I think this is as close to a Chipotle barbacoa copycat as you can get.

In addition to this recipe, I also have a full guide dedicated to eating out at Chipotle! Check it out for some easy on-the-go options.

Better than Chipotle Barbacoa Copycat

Chipotle Barbacoa Copycat Recipe

My Instant Pot Barbacoa is packed with flavor and the leftovers are absolutely fantastic!

5 from 1 vote

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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 290kcal
Author: Dominic

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs beef chuck roast
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 small lime
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 chipotle peppers (in adobo) + 2 tbsp adobo liquid
  • 2 tbsp bacon fat
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Instructions

  • Turn on your Instant Pot to 'saute' and wait for it to come up to temperature (make sure the lid isn't on).
  • Prepare the roast chuck by removing any large pieces of fat (optional, I don't like eating fat that is chewy) and then pat dry with paper towel or kitchen towel.
  • Season all sides of the meat with 1/2 tbsp salt and 1/2 tbsp pepper.
  • When the Instant Pot has come to temperature, add the bacon fat directly to the pot. Once melted, add the beef.
  • Sear the beef on all sides.
  • In a blender (or with an immersion blender), blend together: lime juice, apple cider vinegar, chipotle peppers, adobo, cumin, black pepper, salt, tomato paste, oregano, cinnamon, onion powder and ground cloves. Puree until smooth.
  • Once beef is browned all over, cover with puree.
  • Add bay leaves and broth.
  • Close the lid and set on on Manual > 50 minutes. Make sure that high pressure is selected.
  • After the time is finished, turn off the Instant Pot. I highly recommend doing a natural pressure release (NPR) by letting it come down in pressure itself. This usually takes around 20 minutes, but it always comes out so juicy and tender!
  • Shred, return meat back to liquid and serve.

Notes

If you do not have access to an Instant Pot, you can still make this recipe in a slow cooker or Dutch oven. Should you choose to go this route, just sear your meat on all sides, cover with blended sauce and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8-12 hours.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Chipotle Barbacoa Copycat Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 290
Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g
32%
Total Carbohydrates 2g
1%
Dietary Fiber 1g
4%
Protein 21g
42%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This Chipotle Barbacoa Copycat Recipe is great for get-togethers! I like to make mock burrito bowls using Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice or wrap it up in a low carb tortilla. For those with friends and family not following Keto, you could just as easily serve with flour tortillas.

Finally, this recipe serves as a great protein source for meal prep as well. I like to make a big batch, shred the meat, and portion into separate containers.

Have you tried my Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa recipe? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

8 Comments

  1. Avatar Shalene on April 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Would this still work with beef cheek?

    • Avatar Dominic on April 12, 2019 at 4:03 pm

      I haven’t tried it, but it should!

  2. Avatar Heather on December 28, 2018 at 10:46 am

    How would you make this in a normal crock pot?

    • Avatar Dominic on December 28, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Heather-

      I would just mix all ingredients (aside from the meat) together and put into the crock pot. Sear the meat in a pan and transfer to crock pot. Cook on low until pull apart tender, probably 5-8 hours!

  3. Avatar Mandy Buchanan on December 17, 2018 at 8:41 pm


    I’ve made this recipe no less than 5 times in the past few months! It is amazing!

    • Avatar Dominic on December 18, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      So glad you enjoy it! It is one of my favorite, too 🙂

  4. Avatar Jessica on September 28, 2018 at 1:41 pm


    I’m wondering if the 1 tbsp black pepper is a typo. I used less than that when I made it last night and it was way too peppery. It was delicious otherwise! It was even better than Chipotle’s.

  5. Mexican Inspired Recipes | Instant Pot Resources on September 3, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    […] Chipotle Copycat Barbacoa-No Bun Please […]

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