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Barbacoa Beef (Tacos, Quesadillas, Bowls)

Tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth beef barbacoa is loaded with flavor and tastes almost like a Mexican shredded pot roast. Layer it in warm, homemade tortillas with all your favorite toppings for a crave-worthy dinner.

For almost 10 years now, we’ve been purchasing local 100% grass-fed beef by the half cow. We have it butchered and freeze all the delicious cuts for future meals. This allows us to save money and know where our meat comes from. A few weeks ago, we decided to try something different with one of the roasts, and this delicious recipe came to life.

It’s one of those all-around meals that you can feel good about making for your family throughout the week or served at a gathering. It’s the perfect standby for game-day sliders or when hosting a Taco-Inspired Fiesta. As with most braised meats, this barbacoa tastes even better the next day, so make sure you have enough for leftovers!

Some of our favorite ways to eat barbacoa:

  • Burritos
  • Burrito bowls
  • Enchiladas
  • Salads
  • Nachos (rice cake nachos or with homemade tortilla chips)
  • Sliders
  • Quesadillas
  • Omelets
  • Tacos
  • Taco soup
  • Tamales
  • On top of whole grain rice
  • Plain – by itself!

Toppings to complement your barbacoa:

  • Limes (a MUST)
  • Avocado (another must!) – sliced or made into guacamole
  • Shredded lettuce or/or slaw (for some added crunch)
  • Tomatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Radishes
  • Onion
  • Finely chopped jalapeños
  • Greek yogurt (a wonderful substitute for sour cream)
  • Hot sauce (we LOVE to add flavor with an array of hot sauces)
  • Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

Our absolute FAVORITE way to eat barbacoa:

In a fresh homemade tortilla, topped with thinly sliced radishes, cilantro, avocado, salsa and a little fresh-squeezed lime juice. YUM!


What can I serve it with?

  • Mexican rice (whole grain rice mixed with black beans or garnished with a lemon wedge)
  • Cilantro lime rice
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Simply seasoned beans

Now that I’ve opened up a can of tomato paste, what can I do with the rest of it so it doesn’t go to waste?

Reinvent it

To use up the remaining paste, consider adding it to a different dish later in the week. One of our favorites is Easy Chicken Tikka Masala. Or make a sauce with it, such as Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette (great as a salad dressing). Or if you’re making tacos/enchiladas/fajitas with your barbacoa, drizzle it on top).

Freeze it

You can also freeze your tomato paste. Measure and spoon tablespoon-sized portions of paste onto a baking sheet so they do not touch each other. Put the tray in the freezer and flash-freeze the paste for a few hours or until the cubes are firm. Transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe container or storage bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Can I prep this meal ahead?

Sure! If prepping ahead, place all ingredients in the ceramic insert, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and cook as directed.

What’s the best way to store leftovers?

Once your meat has cooled, store in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

A few creative ways to reuse your leftovers:

  • Tossed in scrambled eggs, folded inside of an omelet or added to an egg casserole. Eggs are literally one of the BEST ways to mix and match leftovers. Top with avocado slices and BAM! — you’ve got yourself an amazing meal!
  • Grilled in a tortilla with some shredded cabbage, matchstick carrots and a slice of Boar’s Head 3 Pepper Colby Jack Cheese. Top with salsa and a few slices of avocado.
  • As your protein in a Portobello Mushroom Cap Pizza (barbacoa, tomato or BBQ sauce, onions and cheese)
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Barbacoa Beef (Tacos, Quesadillas, Bowls)

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Tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth beef barbacoa is loaded with flavor and tastes almost like a Mexican shredded pot roast. Layer it in warm, homemade tortillas with all your favorite toppings for a crave-worthy dinner.



Main ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chuck roast
  • 1 medium onion (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water or beef broth

Dry rub:


  1. Mix all dry rub ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. In a slow cooker, combine onion, garlic, lime juice, tomato paste, water (or broth) and 1 & 1/2 teaspoons of prepared dry rub. Stir to combine.
  3. Trim visible sections of fat from roast. Evenly sprinkle the remaining seasoning onto the roast, sit bowl aside and rub seasoning in. Place roast into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours (or high for 5-6 hours), until your beef is tender enough to shred easily.
  4. Shred your beef directly in the slow cooker or, if you prefer, remove it and shred it into bite-sized pieces. Transfer it back into the slow cooker and stir meat and juices together until completely incorporated.


Always check for FfL-friendly ingredients.

We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.

For crispy barbacoa: In the broiler: Turn broiler on high and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon shredded meat onto the baking sheet (don’t crowd the meat). Place baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and broil for 7-10 minutes, until the meat is crispy and brown (keep a close watch so it doesn’t burn).

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 6 to 8 hrs
  • Category: Recipes
  • Method: Prep Now, Cook Later, Slow Cooker, Too Easy

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Hi beautiFULL, We’re Pam & Kalie

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