Monday, February 16, 2009

Beef Barbacoa for Tacos

I have only been to Chipotle Mexican Grill twice, but both times ordered the Beef Barbacoa Tacos - once soft, once hard. I loved the flavor of the meat and was surprised to find something so good at a fast food restaurant.

The other night Jon cooked
Beef Negimaki using flank steak, so we had some uncooked flank steak left over. I planned on making tacos tonight so decided that I had to try to make beef that tasted like Chipotle's Beef Barbacoa.

After googling, I found this copycat recipe for Beef Barbacoa. I used the recipe for the marinade only, and cooked it on the stove instead of in the slow cooker. Also, I had about 1/3 lb meat, not the 1.5 lbs that the recipe called for so I adjusted the amounts accordingly, as noted below.


  • 1/3 lb flank steak; the beef we had leftover was pounded thin
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Dash red wine
  • Juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 1/3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/3 tsp ground oregano
  • 1 seeded and sliced jalapeno (the recipe for 1.5 lbs meat also used 1 jalapeno..I could have actually used more!)
  • 2 Tbs. cilantro
  • 1/3 large onion,thickly sliced
  • Dash each salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • For cooking: 8 oz beef broth and 2 tbsp crushed tomatoes

Directions (these are my own directions; for slow cooker directions, see the original post)

  • Mix all marinade ingredients and marinate the beef overnight.
  • When ready to cook, remove the beef from the marinade
  • Heat olive oil in a deep saute pan or Dutch oven
  • Add beef to pan and cook about 2 minutes on each side, until browned.
  • Add marinade to pan and bring to a boil; let simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes. Cooking time will be longer for more meat.
  • Remove meat from pan and shred.
  • Drain marinade, pressing on solids, and return liquid portion of the drained marinade to the pan with the beef broth and tomatoes. Discard the solids from the drained marinade.
  • Return shredded beef to the pan and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

I can't believe how much this beef tasted like Chipotle's beef, but even better, and nowhere near as salty. I also think Chipotle uses a chipotle pepper in their marinade, but I didn't miss the flavor.

I served the meat in hard taco shells, but think soft corn tortillas would work well as they wouldn't get as soggy.

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  1. We go to Chipotle almost once a week. My husband always gets the barbacoa tacos. Thanks for sharing this recipe - I will soon be giving it a try!

  2. Mmm, this looks great. I haven't had Chipotle in ages but I agree it's really pretty great, especially for fast food. :)

  3. I love Chipotle and it helps that we're only a block away walking distance from one! This looks like a fab recipe - thanks for sharing!

  4. I went to Mexico for Christmas last year. I had Tacos De Barbacoa several times. I miss them and have been looking for a recipe for a while. I'll try this one, hopefully it will come close. We'll see.