Always in search of a tasty slow cooker meal, this recipe got our attention. We are leery of recipes that put too much liquid into the slow cooker. So much liquid normally releases from the solid foods in the slow cooker that adding too much additional liquid often results in a product that is more soup than stew.
This recipe does not have that problem. In addition, there are enough ingredients packing a taste punch to avoid the flavor dilution often found in slow cooker recipes. Unfortunately, the trade off for the extra flavor is more prep work up front. However, we did not find the prep excessive, and the payoff was worth it! Furthermore, the results are extremely versatile. You can serve the barbacoa in tortillas, on the plate, or in a salad. The barbacoa will also make tasty leftovers.
The beef barbacoa treat comes from Ms. Meredith Deeds of Edina, Minnesota. We found her recipe in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on May 30, 2019. We added more onion than the recipe calls for, but made no other adjustments. The ingredients and directions are listed here for those readers who cannot find the original. Enjoy!
2 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
3 lbs. beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
¾ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground cloves
1 chipotle chile canned in adobo sauce
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 whole bay leaves
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Open up the dried chiles so they lay flat and arrange them in the skillet. Toast the chiles, pressing down on them with a spatula so they make contact with the skillet, for 30 seconds on each side. Add 1 cup chicken broth and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, season the beef with the salt and pepper. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown on all sides, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the same skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until just starting to brown. Add the oregano, cumin, cinnamon and cloves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to the blender with the chiles. Add the remaining ½ cup of chicken broth to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the skillet to release all the brown bits.
Add to the blender, along with the chipotle chile, vinegar and brown sugar. Purée until smooth and pour over the beef in the slow cooker. Add the bay leaves and cook on high setting for 4-5 hours or on low setting for 8-10 hours, until completely tender. Discard bay leaves and transfer beef to a cutting board. Skim fat from cooking liquid in slow cooker.
Use 2 forks to shred the beef into bite-sized chunks. Add the beef to the liquid and cook for another 2-3 minutes, gently stirring (you don’t want to break up the meat too much) until the beef is hot. Season with salt, if necessary.
Serve with warm corn tortillas, chopped onions, cilantro, diced avocado and lime wedges, if desired.