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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Add your favorite taco toppings and enjoy your delicious Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa tacos!
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:
If you're looking for a spin on tacos for dinner, these are going to be perfect!
- 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
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.
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.
More Instant Pot Recipes
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More Instant Pot Resources
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