Made with a perfectly spiced sauce and tender chuck roast, Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa, is a sped-up version of a classic recipe made FAST thanks to the Instant Pot.
What is Beef Barbacoa?
Beef Barbacoa is a Mexican dish made with beef, goat, or lamb. Traditionally, the meat is steamed in an underground oven with a rich, nuanced sauce until it is fall-apart tender.
Because the Instant Pot uses moist heat to cook, it is the perfect vessel to recreate this dish without much effort. While it may not be authentic, this recipe for Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa creates the most flavorful shredded beef.
- Chuck Roast: A chuck roast is best for this recipe. Due to the marbling of this cut of beef, the meat will literally melt in your mouth tender and the fat also helps to flavor the dish.
- Beer: Instead of using all beef broth, I find using a small amount of beer adds depth of flavor to the sauce. Use a mild, pale lager such as Coors Light or Corona. Of course, feel free to omit the beer and replace it with additional beef stock.
- Beef Broth: Use low-sodium beef broth to control the level of sodium.
- Barbacoa Sauce: Don't be intimidated by the number of ingredients in the sauce, you likely have most in your pantry right now.
- Onion: A yellow or white onion, not a sweet onion is best.
- Vinegar: Use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.
- Chipotle in Adobo Sauce: This will give the dish its authentic smokey, slightly spicy flavor.
- Green Chiles: Use mild canned chiles, not hot green chiles.
- Spices: Cumin, cloves, oregano, minced garlic, and of course, salt and pepper. I also add bay leaves to the beef as it cooks.
- Don't toss leftover canned chipotles in adobo sauce. Freeze them in an ice cube tray until sold and then pop out and place them into a freezer-safe bag. Defrost as many as needed for recipes in the future.
- If you need this recipe to be Gluten-Free, omit the beer and use Gluten-Free Beef Stock.
- Frozen Chuck Roast? If already cut into large chunks, cook for 90 minutes on high pressure. If you are working with a whole chuck roast, cook for 60 minutes per pound. This is one recipe that needs a longer cooking time for the best results.
- Instant Pot: This recipe works with either a 6-quart Instant Pot or an 8-quart Instant Pot. If you are using a 3-quart Instant Pot, it is best to cut the recipe in half but leave the cooking time the same.
Tips for Making Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Blend the Barbacoa Sauce. Blending the ingredients together to create the sauce, makes this dish! The flavors marry together and form a rich, luscious sauce that will permeate the beef. You can use either a blender or a food processor to prepare the sauce.
- Cut the chuck roast into large chunks. This will help the beef to become unbelievably tender and allow more surface area for absorbing the flavorful sauce. Plus it will significantly speed up the cooking time.
- Sear the beef. You can certainly skip searing your beef, however, taking the do this, will add amazing texture to your final dish. If you skip searing the beef, add 5 minutes to the total cooking time.
- Allow for a natural pressure release. This will ensure the beef stays super tender.
- Finish with lime juice. Adding fresh lime juice will make the flavors pop and turn good Barbacoa beef into great Barbacoa beef.
How to Serve Beef Barbacoa
Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa can be served in countless ways.
- Serve the meat with the cooking liquid over Instant Pot Rice, Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice, or Pineapple Rice for a sweet and savory combination.
- Drain off the cooking liquid and use the shredded meat to top tortillas or serve in hard taco shells. Top with shredded cabbage or diced avocado if desired.
- Make Burrito Bowls using the meat and top with any desired toppings.
- Replace the shredded chicken with this shredded Beef Barbacoa for the filling for delicious Enchiladas.
- Refrigerate: Allow the leftover Barbacoa Beef to cool, transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Freeze: Once cooled, transfer the beef to a freezer-safe container leaving 1 inch of space for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: If needed, defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat several servings over low heat in a heavy-duty saucepan until warmed through. Alternatively, heat individual servings in a heat-safe dish in 30-second intervals until warmed through.
More Instant Pot Beef Recipes
- Instant Pot Pot Roast
- Instant Pot Beef Stew
- Instant Pot Short Ribs
- Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
- Instant Pot Italian Beef
- Instant Pot Mississippi Pot Roast
- Instant Pot French Dip Sandwiches
If you tried this Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa recipe, I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment and review below.
Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa - Authentic Flavor Fast
For the Sauce
- ¾ cup beef broth low sodium
- 2 chipotles in adobo sauce plus 1 tablespoon sauce
- 4 ounces chopped green chiles
- 1 small onion chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano Mexican oregano if you have it
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
For the Dish
- 3 pounds chuck roast
- salt and pepper for seasoning meat
- ½ tablespoon oil
- ½ cup beer or additional beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lime
- In a blender or food processor, blend beef broth with chipotle chiles, green chiles, garlic, onion, apple cider vinegar, cumin, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and cloves until well combined and the onion is broken down.
- Cut the beef into 3-4 inch cubes and season with salt and pepper.
- Turn the Instant Pot saute and pour in the oil and let heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the seasoned beef and sear for 2-3 minutes per side until browned. Once the meat is browned, turn the Instant Pot OFF and remove the beef to a plate.
- Pour in the beer, or stock, and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot. Add the meat back into the inner pot and pour the blended sauce over the meat. Add in 2 bay leaves.
- Place the lid on the inner pot and be sure the vent knob is sealed. Cook on HIGH pressure for 60 minutes. Hit Manual/Pressure Cook and use +/- buttons to adjust until it reads 60.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for at least 15 minutes.
- Open the instant pot and remove the bay leaves. Shred the beef using 2 forks right in the inner pot, or remove and shred in a large bowl if that is easier for you. Stir the shredded meat with the cooking liquid and the juice of fresh lime.
- Serve as desired.