This slow cooker barbacoa is an easy and delicious protein to add to burrito bowls, or make into tacos! The barbacoa is paleo, whole30 compliant, and can be adapted to be AIP.


What is Barbacoa?

Maybe you’ve seen barbacoa on the menu at a restaurant, in line building a burrito bowl at Chipotle, or have made it in your own home before, but it’s seriously amazing! Barbacoa is a Mexican dish that’s made from slow-cooked meat (you’ll most often see it done with beef) that’s tender and shredded to perfection. It’s made with herbs like oregano, bay leaf, and fresh cilantro, as well as beef broth, lime juice, and cumin and chilies. You can easily make this AIP by leaving out the nightshades and the cumin.

This beef barbacoa is a perfect protein for batch cooking! You can easily make on the weekend and serve in a variety of different ways like tacos, burrito bowls, or over nachos. You can easily adapt this simple protein to make it paleo, AIP, whole30, and keto depending on how you serve it. And the best part? It’s simply made in the slow cooker!


How to make Barbacoa in the Slow Cooker

  • Slice the chuck roast into 6-8 large chunks. If desired, sear in a pan.
  • Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir well to coat the roast.
  • Set the slow cooker to high for 4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours.
  • Once the meat easily shreds, the barbacoa is done and ready to serve!

slow cooker barbacoa

Ingredients for Barbacoa Beef

Chuck Roast

You’ll slice the chuck roast into 6-8 slices.

Beef broth & lime juice


Fresh garlic, onion, bay leaves & oregano

Cumin & chipotle

You can easily make this nightshade free and AIP and omit these ingredients. If you want to keep it AIP and add more spice, you can try adding some horseradish!

Fresh cilantro

Barbacoa tastes amazing with topped with fresh cilantro!

How to Serve the Barbacoa

  • Make burrito bowls! Seriously, this barbacoa would be so good on a chipotle style burrito bowl. This is an easy way to make it paleo, whole30, and keto when it’s served over cauliflower rice.
  • Make tacos. You can use a lettuce wrap to keep it low carb and whole30. Or, you can use siete tortillas for a grain-free option, or make homemade cassava tortillas for an AIP option.

barbacoa tacos

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Barbacoa Beef (Slow Cooker, Paleo, Whole30, AIP)

  • Author: Michelle
  • Total Time: 4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


This slow cooker barbacoa is an easy and delicious protein to add to burrito bowls, or make into tacos! The barbacoa is paleo, whole30 compliant, and can be adapted to be AIP.


  • 3 lb beef chuck roast
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 56 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 2 tsp cumin (omit for AIP)
  • 2 tsp chipotle powder (omit for AIP – see notes)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

For serving

  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh lime wedges
  • Diced avocado
  • Diced red onion


  1. Slice the chuck roast into 6-8 large chunks and set at the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Add the garlic, onion, and seasonings and mix well to evenly coat the chuck roast.
  3. Pour in the broth, lime juice, and apple cider vinegar.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and set to high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours until the chuck roast easily shreds with a fork.
  5. Remove the bay leaves from the slow cooker and shred the barbacoa.
  6. Add fresh cilantro and other toppings serve over burrito bowls with cauliflower rice for a low carb and whole30 option, or in taco shells like Siete tortillas for a grain free option, or homemade cassava tortillas for an AIP option.


To add nightshade free spice for AIP, add 1-2 tsp of horseradish powder.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Proteins
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 237
  • Fat: 8.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9g
  • Protein: 34.1g

Keywords: barbacoa

Beef Barbacoa