An easy recipe for tender barbacoa beef that’s rich & smoky with a spicy kick from jalapenos.
I shared this barbacoa beef on my instagram waaay back at the start of February, along with a promise to share the recipe soon. Does 7 weeks count as soon??
I’m back in that phase where exams are right around the corner and blogging is taking a back seat. I actually have a few recipes that I’ve already shot lined up to go, but by the time I’ve finished studying I kinda just wanna bond with the sofa & netflix, y’know?
Anyway, let’s talk slow cooker barbacoa beef! It’s rare that a recipe turns out perfectly first time, but from the insane aroma coming from my slow cooker, I knew this was gonna be a good one!
It all starts with beef brisket – ideal for cooking long and slow. Start by chopping it into a few large pieces. This allows for extra searing (and hence seeerious flavour).
Seriously though, how good does that searing look? Not gonna lie, I was pretty upset that I had to wait ~8 hours to eat this. But stick with it – the super tender, flavourful meat you end up with is worth it!
The next thing that makes this dish is this magical smoky, spicy sauce. It’s a combination of jalapenos, onion, garlic & tomato puree, plus a whole host of flavourings from smoky paprika to cider vinegar.
Sometimes I genuinely can’t believe something so tasty came out of my own kitchen and this right here was one of those times.
You can adjust the jalapenos in this depending on how much you love heat. But, a word of warning: the sauce tastes way less intense once it’s mixed in with the beef. If you’re tasting the sauce on it’s own, you want it to err on the side of too spicy.
So, seared brisket + magic sauce. Fire it all in the slow cooker with a couple of bay leaves and let it do it’s thang. Give it 8 hours of gentle cooking and it’ll be tender enough to shred.
I find it easiest to pour most of the sauce out into a jug before shredding, then add it back in. That way you can make it as saucy as you like and maybe even have leftovers!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5kg beef brisket
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tbsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- 75g-150g jalapenos (about half to a full jar, drained)
- 30ml cider vinegar
- 60ml chicken stock
- 2 tbsp lime juice (about 1 limes worth)
- 2 bay leaves
- Chop the meat into about 6 large pieces. Add to a hot frying pan with the olive oil and sear each piece on all sides. Transfer to the slow cooke.
- To make the sauce: add the olive oil, onion and garlic to a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened - about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the paprika, cumin, oregano, cloves and tomato puree. Stir to coat the onions and cook for about a minute.
- Add the jalapenos, vinegar, stock and lime juice and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and blend until smooth using a hand blender or food processor.
- Add the blended sauce to the slow cooker, along with 2 bay leaves. Cook on medium for 8 hours (see notes below).
- Once cooked, pour out most of the sauce into a jug and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Using two forks, shred the meat then add as much of the sauce back as you like.
My recommended cooking times are as follows, but please bear in mind that slow cookers do vary:
6 hours on high - 8 hours on medium - 10 hours on low
I found that 7-8 hours on medium was ideal, but leaving it up to 9 hours on medium also worked fine.