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Barbacoa Tacos

A person assembling a slow cooker barbacoa taco with a pot of shredded barbacoa meat, a small dish of onions, a bottle of hot sauce, and some cilantro around the taco plate.
These slow cooker barbacoa tacos, made with tender shredded game meat, vinegar, lime juice, chiles, and spices, are an easy dish for taco night.
Jesse Griffiths

Prep 15 mins
Cook 8 hrs
Total 8 hrs 15 mins
Entrees
American
4 servings

Equipment

  • Slow cooker

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 pounds bone-in venison trim, shanks, and necks or bone-in beef, duck legs, turkey legs, bone-in goat, or goose legs
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh 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

Directions 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.