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The Best (and Easiest) Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa


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This Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa is an easy and tasty way to jazz up Taco Tuesday. Thanks to the Instant Pot, this beef shreds easily, and makes the perfect filling for tacos or burritos.

a collage of beef barbacoa in three flour tortillas topped with green garnish and chopped tomatoes on a yellow plate on a green and white cloth with an instant pot in the background with title text reading Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa

If you’re a regular visitor to my site, you already know about my obsession with Mexican food. It’s the one thing everyone in my family agrees on so it’s my go-to cuisine when I’m just not up for hearing complaints about dinner.

One of my favorite, no-fail recipes is Instant Pot Chicken Taco Bowls. But since the men in my family start to gripe when we go too long without having BEEF, I try to come up with non-chicken dishes too.

So far, the only non-chicken Mexican dish I’ve made that got all thumbs up was Sous Vide Steak Fajitas. Thankfully, this Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa was a hit too.

an overhead view of beef barbacoa in three flour tortillas topped with green garnish and chopped tomatoes on a yellow plate on a green and white cloth with a blue bowl full of bee, a white bowl of guacamole and an instant pot in the background

What Is Beef Barbacoa

Barbacoa is a term used to describe meat that is steam cooked until it is very tender. Traditionally in Mexico, the meat was steamed in a brick oven built into a hole in the ground, but thanks to your Instant Pot, you can leave your shovel in the garage.

The trademark quality of beef barbacoa is how easily it shreds while remaining moist and tender.

The nice thing about making Beef Barbacoa in your Instant Pot is that you can get a ton of moist, delicious flavor out of an inexpensive cut of meat. Pressure cooking pushes the seasonings into the roast so you can get great depth of flavor.

beef barbacoa in three flour tortillas topped with green garnish and chopped tomatoes on a yellow plate on a green and white cloth with a blue bowl full of bee, a white bowl of guacamole and an instant pot in the background

How to Make Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa

Because I’m a visual learner, I like to see in-process photos of recipes to make sure what I’m doing at home matches what is supposed to be happening. So, if you’re like me, hopefully you’ll appreciate the step-by-step photos. Everyone else, scroll to the bottom to see the recipe card.

Step 1: Cut Beef Into Chunks

For the beef, I use either a beef brisket or a beef chuck roast, depending on what’s on sale. Both work great.

Although it’ll be a little bit of work, this step is necessary. Not only will the beef cook faster, but you’ll be able to cut away a lot of the fat so the dish doesn’t end up greasy.

sliced raw beef on a white background

Step 2: Add Everything to the Pot

Next, you just put everything in your Instant Pot: beef, broth, chipotles in adobo sauce, onion, garlic cloves, lime juice, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and ground cloves.

beef, broth, chipotles in adobo sauce, onion, garlic cloves, lime juice, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and ground cloves in an instant pot

 

Step 3: Pressure Cook

Secure the lid and select “Manual” or “Pressure” depending on your IP model, and set the time for 55 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally, then carefully remove the lid.

overhead view of beef barbacoa in sauce in an instant pot on a white background

Step 4: Shred Beef and Make Gravy

Now, remove the beef and bay leaves from the pot. Discard the bay leaves.

Turn off the Instant Pot, leaving the sauce in the liner.

Use two forks to shred the beef.

Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce ingredients in the pot into a gravy.

overhead view of shredded beef barbacoa on a white plate on a green and white cloth on a white table with an instant pot full of beef and sauce in the background

Step 5: Serve

You can either add the beef back to the gravy and spoon the mixture into tortillas or add the beef directly to tortillas and spoon the gravy over the top.

a metal spoon pouring sauce over beef barbacoa in three flour tortillas topped with green garnish and chopped tomatoes on a yellow plate on a green and white cloth with an instant pot in the background

Add your favorite taco toppings and enjoy your delicious Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa tacos!

an overhead view of beef barbacoa in three flour tortillas topped with green garnish and chopped tomatoes on a yellow plate on a green and white cloth with a blue bowl full of bee, a white bowl of guacamole and an instant pot in the background

Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Recipe

For those of you who don’t need the step-by-step photos and just want the basic recipe, here you go.

Here’s the recipe card with exact measurements for the ingredients in this Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa:

Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa

If you're looking for a spin on tacos for dinner, these are going to be perfect!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
5 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 433 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4- pound beef roast brisket or chuck roast
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 or 4 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 medium onion cut into 8 chunks
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions
 

  • Cut beef into 1-2 inch chunks, removing most of the fat.
  • Combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot, seal lid and turn the pressure valve to sealed.
  • Set manual pressure time on high for 55 minutes.
  • When the pressure cooking time has finished, let the pressure release naturally.
  • Turn the Instant Pot off to let the liquid cool. Remove beef and bay leaves from the pressure cooker and set aside, leaving liquid in the inner pot. Shred beef, 
  • Use an immersion blender to blend spices, garlic, onion, and liquid together.
  • Add the beef back to the pot, if desired.
  • Serve beef on tortillas and top with sauce and other fixings.

Notes

Note: One reader recommends placing the beef under a broiler for a few minutes after shredding to give it a slight char and added texture.

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 45gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 156mgSodium: 647mgPotassium: 825mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 54IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 6mg
Keyword beef barbacoa, easy dinner, instant pot
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

beef barbacoa in three flour tortillas topped with green garnish and chopped tomatoes on a yellow plate on a green and white cloth with a blue bowl full of bee, a white bowl of guacamole and an instant pot in the background with title text reading Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa

More Instant Pot Recipes

For even more recipes and ideas, visit my Instant Pot Recipes, Tips, and Resources page.

More Instant Pot Resources

Love your Instant Pot? Find more Instant Pot Recipes here. And check out my favorite Instant Pot Hacks.

Do more with your Instant Pot with these helpful Instant Pot Accessories:

 Genuine Instant Pot Stainless Steel Inner Cooking Pot - 6 Quart Genuine Instant Pot Sealing Ring 2-Pack - 6 Quart Red/Blue Genuine Instant Pot Silicone Lid 5 and 6 Quart Hiware 7 Inch Non-stick Springform Pan/Cheesecake Pan/Leakproof Cake Pan Bakeware - Fits 6, 8 Qt Pressure Cooker Hatrigo Steamer Basket for Instant Pot Accessories 6 qt [3qt 8qt Avail] fits InstaPot, Ninja Foodi, Other Pressure Cookers, Strainer Insert for Insta Pot Ultra, Silicone Handle, for Instant Pot 6 Qt Aozita Stackable Steamer Insert Pans with Sling for Instant Pot Accessories 6/8 qt - Pot in Pot, Baking, Casseroles, Lasagna Pans, Food Steamer for Pressure Cooker, Upgrade Interchangeable Lids Aozita Multipurpose Stackable Egg Steamer Rack Trivet for Instant Pot Accessories Aozita Silicone Egg Bites Molds for Instant Pot Accessories - Fits Instant Pot 5,6,8 qt Pressure Cooker, Reusable Storage Container and Freezer Tray with Lid, Sous Vide Egg Poacher

 

5 thoughts on “The Best (and Easiest) Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa”

    • Hi Chris, as long as you can fit all the ingredients without going over the fill line, you should be able to double the recipe with no problem. The set cook time won’t change, but the pot will take longer to come to and release pressure so it will cook longer overall.

      Reply
    • Hi Sara, yes, I think it would. I would go with a butt roast (which, ironically, usually comes from the shoulder) instead of a loin roast though so you have the extra fat to keep it from being too dry.

      Reply

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