Slow Cooker Smokey Beef Barbacoa (Gluten Free)

Save time on weeknight dinners with this delicious Slow Cooker Smokey Beef Barbacoa. It's gluten free and you can serve it over rice or make tacos!
Paleo; Free of: soy, dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (except coconut)
Course Entree, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword barbacoa beef, beef barbacoa, slow cooker barbacoa beef
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 241kcal
Author Sarah Parker, adapted from a recipe by The Recipe Critic


  • 3 pounds trimmed beef brisket*
  • Spray olive oil
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (juice of about 1 to 1-1/2 limes)
  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce** (or more/less depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, pressed/minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt (I used Maldon smoked flake salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray the bottom of the pan with a generous amount of olive oil spray. 
  • Trim excess fat off the brisket (optional, skip if you want more fat with your brisket).  
  • Cut the brisket into large pieces (about 5-6) and brown the pieces on all sides in the heated skillet.
  • While the beef is browning, prepare your sauce: combine all the rest of the ingredients (the beef broth through the ground cloves) in a small blender and process until smooth. 
  • Once the beef brisket is browned on all sides, transfer to the slow cooker and cover with the sauce.  
  • Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low. 
  • Shred beef with 2 forks and serve over rice or on tortillas. Enjoy!


*You can use beef chuck in this recipe, but beef brisket is more tender. We bought trimmed brisket and removed a bit more fat by hand before cooking.
**Many canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce have soybean oil in them, so check the label if you have soy allergies like we do. I used the Herdez canned chipotle chiles since they use corn oil instead of soybean oil.
We used 3 chiles in this recipe and the spiciness was perfect for us, but if you want it mild, use 2 chipotles. If you want it really spicy, use 4-5 chiles.


Calories: 241kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 659mg | Potassium: 506mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 230IU | Vitamin C: 2.2mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 3.7mg