shredded beef tacos

barbacoa tacos

My shredded beef tacos are a must have for your next Mexican inspired feast! Unlike the traditional barbacoa, this recipe doesn’t require meat roasted on an open fire or underground. A long, slow roast in the oven will give you tender, delicious barbacoa flavor that takes very little prep time for the chef.

I love hosting friends and family for special meals. Kenny and I have hosted dozens of dinner soirees in our four years of marriage and I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. Preparing for dinner parties used to cause lots of anxiety and marital squabbles between my love and me. We’ve come a long way and I’ve learned how to make stress free meals that allow us to enjoy our guests and each other without unnecessary feuding.

barbacoa tacos

Part of learning how to entertain was understanding how to choose an appropriate menu for each occasion. When my hospitality journey first started, I chose menus based on what sounded delicious. This lead me to cooking Beef Wellington for 15 people. The problem with Beef Wellington for 15 people is that the cut of meat the recipe requires (fillet mignon) is quite pricey and the dish requires a lot of hands-on effort. Beef Wellington is a special and wonderful dish to serve when hosting another couple or even two but when the guest list starts sliding into double digits you’re looking at a really high grocery bill and lots of time in the kitchen.

When the opportunity to host Father’s Day at Casa Campos arose, I wanted to cook a large piece of meat that didn’t break the bank or require me to be cooped up in the kitchen all day. Shredded beef tacos were the perfect menu feature because I purchased a large quantity of chuck roast for a fraction of the cost of other meats. Also, since most of the effort for barbacoa is done the night before – I spent game day relaxing while the oven cooked the meat without my help. By the time my dad and family arrived, I was relaxed and ready to spend quality time with my loved ones and the beef was tender and ready to serve!

You can use this recipe to make barbacoa style beef for tacos, burritos, or nachos. I’ve listed some optional accompaniments for killer tacos but you can choose your own adventure and serve this meat any way you like!

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barbacoa tacos

shredded beef tacos

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  • Author: Sepideh Campos


  • 5-6 pound boneless chuck roast 
  • kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil 
  • 8 garlic cloves (minced)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 medium yellow onion (sliced)
  • 3 dried bay leaves

Optional ingredients for making tacos: 

  • Corn tortillas
  • Sliced radishes 
  • Fresh chopped cilantro 
  • Pickled red onions (slice red onions, place in a mason jar and cover with red wine vinegar, place in the refrigerator overnight or at least 30 minutes before serving)
  • Pickled or fresh jalapeno peppers 
  • Store Bought salsa verde 
  • Crumbled cotija cheese


  1. The day before you want to serve these tacos, prepare the marinade and let the meat rest in the paste overnight. 
  2. Pat the chuck roast dry with paper towels. Optional: trim excess visible fat from the roast. 
  3. Sprinkle kosher salt all over the beef, you’ll use about 1 – 1 ½ tablespoons of salt depending on the size of the beef. 
  4. Set the beef aside while you prepare the marinade. 
  5. To prepare the marinade paste, heat vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. 
  6. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  7. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. 
  8. Add the apple cider vinegar, sugar, oregano, chili powder, and ⅓ cup water. 
  9. Cook the paste over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon. 
  10. Turn the heat off and remove the dutch oven from the stove top. 
  11. Place the roast in the dutch oven on top of the paste and use the wooden to smooth the paste all over the chuck roast. 
  12. Cover the dutch oven with its lid and place in the refrigerator to marinade overnight or for at least 4 hours When you’re ready to cook the beef:
  13. Move the oven rack to the lower middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  14. Place the dutch oven on top of the stove, add the onions to the pot, along with enough water to come ½ up the side of the beef (about 2 cups). 
  15. Drop the bay leaves in with the beef and water. 
  16. Cover the dutch oven with its lid and bring the water to a boil over high heat. 
  17. Once the water is boiling, place the dutch oven (still covered) in the preheated oven until the meat easily shreds with two forks, 4-6 hours.
  18. Note: you can place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack below the pot in case any juices drip.  
  19. Check the meat every hour to make sure there is still water in the pot and to turn the meat over so the dry side is submerged in water. 
  20. Note: you can also cook the beef in a slow cooker. Simply transfer the marinated beef and water to a crockpot and cook on the low setting for 8-9 hours.
  21. When the beef is fully cooked and falling apart, remove the pot from the oven and let the beef sit for 30 minutes. 
  22. Discard the bay leaves and use two large forks to shred the beef apart. 
  23. Use the shredded slow cooked beef for nachos, burritos, or tacos. 
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