Barbacoa with Cabbage Slaw

By Jess

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One of my favorite things to get at Chipotle is their barbacoa. And even though they seem like they’re doing their best to use high quality ingredients, I still wanted to figure out how to make it at home, or at least something close to it.


Look out Chipotle, there’s a new barbacoa on the block! Our barbacoa with cabbage slaw will blow your mind, or at least your taste buds. Try it now!

The most important step when making barbacoa is choosing the list of ingredients that will accompany the meat while it slow cooks. Get this right and you’re on your way to melt-in-your-mouth meat that is perfectly seasoned and tastes amazing.

For this let’s go with paprika, but not just any paprika. Look for the kind that says hot smoked on it. This will give it a bit of a kick and takes things up a notch. Another way we’ll add the heat to this dish is with a chopped red chile, as well as some chipotle chilis. Look for the kind that come packaged in adobo sauce so we can use some of that sauce as well.

beef and veggies

Now that we’re all set with the spiciness, it’s time to give it another level of flavor by adding some robust herbs and seasonings to the mix. For this let’s go with some tried and tested herbs like bay leaves, cloves, and oregano. This will go nicely with the peppers without adding to the spiciness of the meat which we’ve already established.

how to cook it

Garlic and onions is always a safe bet when slow cooking meat, and they work nicely in this dish as well. A little salt and pepper finishes things off nicely and is a classic combination that is pretty much a necessity here.

This meaty dish can be used in a number of ways. You could bake up some Paleo bread so you can enjoy it as part of a sandwich, or make a Paleo friendly tortilla so you can have a burrito just like you’d get at Chipotle with barbacoa on the inside, fajita veggies, and salsa.

It’s so much fun to make your own food in a healthier way so you don’t have to be tempted into eating foods that work against you. Chipotle is a great restaurant, but they aren’t in the business of catering to the Paleo diet, so you have to take matters into your own hands. Use their creations as inspirations for things you can make at home using your own hand-picked ingredients.

If you eat this as shown over a bed of the cabbage slaw you won’t be disappointed. It brings up memories of pulled pork sandwiches served with cole slaw as the topping, but with a totally different flavor profile thanks to the beef instead of pork, and the bevy of spices and seasonings that make it something totally different.

barbacoa recipe

One last tip is to make a bigger batch than you need so that you can have leftovers. It keeps well in the fridge and works as the perfect snack or meal that reheats quickly.

RELATED: Paleo Beef Recipes


    • 4 lb eye of round roast
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 red onion, sliced
    • ½ tsp hot smoked paprika
    • 1 small red chili, chopped
    • 1 yellow chili, chopped
    • 3 chipotle chilis packed in adobo
    • 2 tsp dried oregano
    • 3 tbsp of adobo sauce
    • 2 tsp cumin seeds or 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 4-5 cloves or ¼ tsp ground cloves
    • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1 cup water
    • ½ tsp sea salt
    • ¼ tsp black pepper
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • Pico de gallo
  • Ingredients for cabbage slaw
    • 1 large head of green cabbage
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar


  1. Cut the beef into 2'' thick slices. Place the slices in a Dutch oven. Add the rest of ingredients, cover with lid and cook for 5 hours in a preheated 275° F oven. If using whole cloves and cumin seeds grind them in a mortar before adding them to the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Before serving, remove the meat from the Dutch oven and place it on a board. Use 2 forks to pull the meat apart. Moisten the meat with the pan juices.
  3. Using a food processor or mandolin slicer cut the cabbage into very thin strips. Put the cabbage into a bowl, add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper and toss to combine.
  4. To serve, in a bowl place the cabbage slaw topped with shredded meat and pico de gallo.


Serving Size





Prep Time

10 minutes

Cook Time

300 minutes

Print Recipe


Ask a Question 

  1. Made it and it was fantastic… glad too since the meat was not cheap! But lean, healthy and delicious for several meals’ worth!

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