This Gluten-Free Beef Barbacoa Recipe in the Slow Cooker is a delicious clean eating recipe that gives you all the restaurant feels at home.
Made with simple ingredients (such as stew meat) it comes together deliciously, but is easy and affordable enough for a regular weeknight meal.
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Gluten-Free Beef Barbacoa Recipe in the Slow Cooker
The gluten-free guide below is based on personal experience and research. Always be sure to discuss any medical changes with your doctor for your personal medical needs. Additionally, this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My full disclosure isn’t that interesting, but you can find it here.
Why you’ll love this beef barbacoa recipe:
- This barbacoa cooks to perfectly tender in the slow cooker
- It’s all the restaurant flavor without the restaurant price tag
- Making this recipe at home gives YOU control over the ingredients to ensure that it meets your dietary needs
- The crock pot does all the work for you! Just toss it all in, let it cook, and then it’ll shred easily to perfection!
Be sure to add this super-simple recipe to your weekly menu, and keep reading for the recipe!
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Is Chipotle’s barbacoa gluten free?
Chipotle’s barbacoa is gluten-free based on ingredients. While their employees will reduce the risk of cross-contact with gluten by changing their gloves to serve your food, there is still likely cross-contact due to preparing tacos or burritos with flour tortillas on the same food line.
Making your own barbacoa gives you control over the ingredients used and cross-contamination—plus it is much cheaper!
While this recipe is super simple to throw together, if you really want to make it even easier you could simply throw some beef stew meat or roast in the crockpot with this Frontera barbacoa sauce. All of Frontera’s sauces are quite delicious. I especially love their Carnitas sauce.
What kind of meat is an authentic barbacoa recipe?
Authentic barbacoa is typically made with meat from the beef head or even with goat meat.
However, in this crockpot beef barbacoa, I used stew meat because it’s easy to find and it’s cheap. Slow cooking the stew meat makes it very tender and it shreds easily.
What seasonings are used for barbacoa?
Traditional barbacoa seasonings include garlic, citrus (lime or orange), oregano, cumin, bay leaves, and salt & pepper. However, I like to add a bit of smoked paprika —I think it adds a richness that makes it seem like the barbacoa was slow cooked in a smoker.
Is this barbacoa keto, paleo, or whole 30?
If you want to make keto barbacoa, paleo barbacoa, or whole 30 barbacoa, you’re in the right place! This recipe is the epitome if clean eating and is perfect for any of these special diets.
Can you freeze barbacoa beef?
Yes, this recipe is very freezer friendly. Simply freeze it in a freezer bag (keeping out as much air as possible) and thaw + reheat when you need a no-fuss meal! This should last 3-4 months in the freezer.
Freezing tip: to keep the beef from drying out when reheating, be sure to include some of the juices in the freezer bag.
How to serve barbacoa beef
Barbacoa is so versatile and can be used in SO many ways! While this is a basic recipe for barbacoa tacos topped with your favorite taco toppings, there are so many other ways to serve barbacoa.
Some of my favorites are:
- tacos with gluten-free tortillas
- nachos with gluten-free tortilla chips
- over Instant Pot Mexican Rice & Beans to make burrito bowls
- over lettuce & topped with corn salsa for a delicious salad
- filling for birria tacos
- sandwiches or sliders
- wraps on a gluten-free wrap
- lettuce wrap
- enchiladas topped with keto enchilada sauce
…or just eat it by itself with a side of homemade salsa such as this mango pico de gallo.
No time to get this crock pot barbacoa ready in the morning?
Then prep ahead of time!
Be ready for those busy weeknights by prepping the barbacoa the night before. You can pile all the ingredients in the slow cooker the night before and stick it in the fridge with the lid. Then, in the morning, you simply stick the crock in the heating base and turn it on!
+ don’t forget to set the timer if your slow cooker has one!
How to make this Gluten-Free Beef Barbacoa Recipe in the Slow Cooker
This simple recipe couldn’t be easier to whip up! Most of these ingredients can be found at your local grocery store, but you’ll find great deals on gluten-free spices and even canned goods at Thrive Market.
- Stew meat, or chuck roast or brisket cut in chunks—I like to order grass-fed beef from here for a great price!
- Beef broth
- Canned chilies in adobo
- Apple cider vinegar
- Minced garlic
- smoked paprika
- bay leaves
Tools Needed for Slow Cooker Barbacoa
Gluten-Free Beef Barbacoa Recipe in the Slow Cooker: Step by Step
Brown your stew meat in a frying pan
Dump all ingredients in the crockpot. Set slow cooker on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 6 hours.
Remove and discard bay leaves. Then, remove meat from crock pot and shred with 2 forks. Add the meat back in and let it marinate in the juices for a few minutes until ready to eat.
Serve however you wish! (see above for serving suggestions)
Scroll down for the printable recipe, and then be sure to download the FREE e-book of easy weeknight gluten-free dinners!
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Gluten-Free Beef Barbacoa Recipe in the Slow Cooker
- slow cooker
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Optional: frying pan
- 3 lb stew meat (or roast cut into chunks)
- 1/2 cup beef broth
- 2-3 canned chiles in adobo sauce
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- Brown the stew meat in a frying pan
- Dump all ingredients in the crockpot.
- Set the slow cooker on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 6 hours.
- Remove and discard bay leaves, remove the meat from crock pot and shred with 2 forks.
- Add the meat back in and let it marinate in the juices for a few minutes until ready to eat
- Serve how you wish! See the post above for serving suggestions.
Did you love this recipe for easy GLUTEN-FREE BEEF BARBACOA IN THE SLOW COOKER? Be sure to pin it for later to one of your Crockpot or Gluten Free recipe boards!
Also–please share it with someone you know will love it!
Here are more simple & easy gluten-free dinner recipes to try!
- Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Chili with Green Chilies
- Slow Cooker Cabbage Soup
- Gluten-Free & Vegetarian Tostadas