Slow Cooker Barbacoa Tacos

Shredded, tender shards of spiced meat make a perfect breakfast on tortillas. Substitute any large game for the venison, like aoudad, feral hogs, elk, or even duck, turkey, or goose legs. Slow cookers are perfect for preparations like this; put it on at night and a hearty breakfast is ready the next morning.–Jesse Griffiths

LC Got Game? Note

We’re not certain what aoudad is. (And we’re a little leery of asking.) But we can vouch for the fact that this recipe turns out terrific barbacoa of all sorts—even if you rely not on some exotic-sounding game but on more everyday duck, turkey, goose, beef, or goat.

Special Equipment: Slow cooker

Barbacoa Tacos Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 8 H, 15 M
  • Serves 4


  • 2 1/2 pounds bone-in venison trim, shanks, and necks (or duck, turkey, or goose legs or bone-in beef or goat)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice, plus wedges for serving
  • 2 dried chipotle chiles
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, plus more for serving
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 whole cloves, ground
  • 2 dried bay leaves, ground
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Cold water as needed
  • Fresh tortillas (flour or corn), warmed
  • Cilantro
  • Salsa
  • Store-bought or homemade vinegary hot sauce


  • 1. Combine the meat, vinegar, lime juice, chipotle chiles, onion, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon in a slow cooker and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until very tender.
  • 2. Remove the meat from the pot and let it cool slightly, reserving the liquid. Shred the meat, discarding the bones. Moisten the meat with a few ladlefuls of the reserved braising liquid. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • 3. Set the barbacoa on the table in a serving bowl or platter and set out the tortillas, onion, cilantro, limes, salsa, and hot sauce so guests can make their own tacos.

    Curious to hear more about working magic with your slow cooker? Peruse our entire selection of slow cooker recipes.
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