Barbacoa Beef Rice Bowls

Barbacoa Beef Rice Bowls

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barbacoa beef bowl toppings
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Delicious barbacoa beef bowls

If you haven’t had barbacoa beef rice bowls before please make this today. You and yours will be thankful for years to come. When I first had a barbacoa beef rice bowl at Chipotle, my life was changed. Barbacoa translates to barbeque.

Barbacoa beef is a Mexican-style shredded beef that you would eat over rice, in a burrito, taco, or on a taco salad. You season it with cumin, oregano, chipotle peppers, and other traditional spices. I had to learn how to make this at home.

Toppings, all about the toppings

guacamole fresh and delicious
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At our house, depending on it we feel like, will do rice bowls or tacos with this beef. We use cilantro lime rice as our base and the following toppings: avocado or guacamole, sour cream, salsa, tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce shredded, and pinto beans.

Scaling the recipe

This is something that I am working hard at doing, scaling recipes. Over the past few years the number of people I cook for has decreased. Our family of six is now a family of three. I realized how much food I was throwing away because I haven’t scaled back the recipe.

I will be presenting this recipe to you for a family of three. You can easily double it for a family of six (or 4 with leftovers). Lately we’ve made a conscious effort to reduce our meat consumption.

In the days of old, I would buy a 3 lb. chuck roast. If I did that today, my 12-year-old son would attempt to eat 2.5 lbs of meat. It’s just unnecessary and in honor of being practical and frugal, we only buy 1lb. of meat for the three of us.

Meat choices

Beef choices at the butcher
Beef choices
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If you intend to make this for a large family of six, buy a 2-3 lb. chuck roast. If you are making it for three, we buy a bottom round steak that is approximately 1 lb. You could also buy an eye round steak if bottom round isn’t available.

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Methods of cooking

Instapot pressure cooker
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There are three different options for cooking the barbacoa beef. You can choose the method based on your available equipment or time you have to get the job done.

I usually cook this in a crock pot either for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. If you prefer a pressure cooker, 20 minutes is all it will take. Finally, you could use a Dutch oven and slow cook it all day for 4 hours covered.

Adjusting the pepper heat

chile peppers drying

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When I make this recipe, I adjust the chipotle peppers to the desired heat. When the children were smaller, I made it less spicy and gradually increased the heat as they became more accustomed to it.

Now the youngest is 12 and he can tolerate 2 chipotles in this recipe and that is what I use and list here. If you prefer a milder sauce, start with one pepper and work your way up to taste.

Time needed: 10 minutes.

Ingredients for barbacoa beef rice bowls:
1 lb. bottom round steak or chuck roast
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (small can)
3 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 Tbsp. oregano
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 Bay leaf
Rice {optional cilantro rice}

  1. Prepare the beef

    Salt and pepper both sides of your beef and rub it in. Place the beef in the pot.

  2. Puree in a food processor or chop very finely

    Add all of the spices (except the bay leaf), the lime juice, vinegar, peppers, chicken broth to a food processor and process until smooth. About 2-3 pulses. Alternatively, you could finely chop the peppers by hand. Processing it makes a smooth sauce.

  3. Cook

    Pour the puree over the beef and add the bay leaf. Cook until beef shreds easily with a fork. Pressure cooker {20 minutes), Slow cooker or crock pot {8 hours on low, 4 hours on high}, Dutch oven on the stove top covered {8 hours on simmer}.

  4. Shred beef

    Remove the beef from the pot and shred with a fork. You can pour the sauce over the beef and toss it together.

  5. Serve

    Serve over cilantro rice or in a burrito.

  6. Cilantro lime rice

    Prepare the rice of your choice, then add 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped cilantro leaves and 2 Tbsp lime juice and toss together with a dash of salt.

avocado tacos that look amazing
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Serve your barbacoa beef rice bowl

There are many ways to eat this beef. I typically put the beef on a bed of rice and garnish it with avocado, cheese, tomato, sour cream, and pinto beans.

The youngest only likes the beef, rice, cheese and corn wrapped in a burrito. His is a carb fiesta. He will start adding new things, just as the other children did as they got older. There’s always hope to expand the palate of the picky eater.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe, please let me know how it goes in the comments below. I challenge you to try my Chicken Tikka Masala next time you are feeling adventurous.

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4 Replies to “Barbacoa Beef Rice Bowls”

  1. I need to try this. I usually make it with potatoes, but you have sparked an idea with this post. I know my family will just love it. Thanks for sharing! ❤

    1. Thank you Jenn! I bet they will. My husband stops while eatings and says over and over, “Babe, I LOVE this meal!”. LOL Whatever works, right?

  2. Wow, you are gifted Michelle. All this looks delicious and incredibly beautiful. I’ll try this very soon, let’s hope it will look anywhere close to it 💛 Thanks for sharing.

    1. You should try it! Mexican food gets all mixed up on the plate anyway. The belly will thank you. I appreciate you stopping by!

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