Instantpot Barbacoa

instantpot barbacoa

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4.8 from 4 reviews

So simple, so flavorful, done in under an hour!


For the Barbacoa:

  • 3 pounds beef chuck, (cut into 2-inch pieces)
  • 1 medium onion, (diced)
  • 45 garlic cloves, (minced)
  • 1 jalapeño, (seeded and minced)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1  tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons  chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

For the Quick Pickled Red Onions

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 10 whole allspice
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 medium red onion, (sliced)


To make the Barbacoa:

  1. Stir together all of the ingredients in your Instantpot.
  2. Secure the lid and set the valve to sealing.
  3. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.
  4. After the cooking cycle is complete, press the cancel button and allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before turning the valve to venting to release the remaining pressure.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and shred it using two forks or tongs.
  6. To reduce the cooking liquid: set the Instant Pot to saute and allow to reduce for about 20 minutes, or until it’s thickened and reduced significantly, to about 1 cup. (Timing on this will depend on how much liquid was created while the beef was cooking; it will vary with the fattiness of the meat, water content of onions, etc.)
  7. Stir the beef back into the cooking liquid.
  8. Serve with Plantain Tortillas, quick pickled red onions (recipe follows), and your favorite taco fixins!

To make the Quick Pickled Red Onions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the onion in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the onion and cook for a minute.
  3. Remove from heat, allow to cool a bit and then pour into a jar. Refrigerate until very cold.


Variation: You can pickle just about any vegetable in this mixture. I added sliced carrots to the extra liquid and cooked them for a couple minutes and then added sliced jalapeño to make escabeche.