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    Barbacoa Beef Lettuce Wraps

    Are you craving some Chipotle tonight? You don’t have to go to a take out place. It’s extremely easy to create the same bold flavors in your very own home with these Barbacoa Beef Lettuce Wraps.

    You don’t even have to slave that much. Mix some ingredients, throw them in the crock along with meat and wait a few hours. Or for a quicker meal, you can use your instant pot. Either way, you end up with tender, flavorful meat.

    Shred it and load whatever you have in my mind… from tacos to burritos to nachos to THESE lettuce wraps… ALL GOOD…SO Good…

    Three lettuce leaves filled with barbacoa beef and garnished with tomatoes and cilantro.

    You’ll love your Barbacoa Beef cos’

    1. It’s extremely tasty and addictive, a non stop muncher.
    2. It’s very versatile in serving. Try heaps of barbacoa in burrito bowls, tacos, nachos, burritos, tostadas, salads, enchiladas and quesadillas. Today it is excellent in lettuce wraps.
    3. It feeds the crowd, so perfect for get togethers and company with the least amount of effort.

    What is Barbacoa?

    A black bowl full of barbacoa beef.

    Barbacoa is an authentic Mexican and Caribbean dish typically made with beef, goat or lamb but some like it with pork butt too. Barbacoa pork is one of our most popular posts of GypsyPlate. Traditionally it’s slow cooked, often in pits, with seasonings until tender.

    Meat is seasoned with Mexican chilies and spices and cooked slow and low till it’s fork tender. Then it’s shredded and swirled around with the braising liquids so the end result is moist, flavor rich meat.

    It tastes slightly tangy with distinct spicy and smoky flavors from chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

    What is the best cut of beef to use?

    Anything that would result in tender, melt in your mouth beef. Top contenders are chuck roast, brisket, beef cheeks and boneless short ribs. Find a cut which is nicely marbled with fat. Avoid leaner cuts, as they tend to be dry and not juicy tender.

    Three barbacoa beef lettuce wraps on a black plate.

    These are the simple ingredients you need to make Barbacoa Beef Lettuce Wraps

    • Chuck Roast
    • Chipotles in adobo sauce – You will easily find this in the Latin section in your grocery store. This is a MUST in any barbacoa. It’s a most defining flavor. Chipotle peppers are dried and smoked jalapeno peppers. In this canned form, these peppers are mixed in with a tangy, spicy and smoky red sauce called adobo. We use both chilies and a little of the sauce to get the good flavor kick going.
    • Garlic – Always fresh.
    • Onion
    • Spices – Cumin, oregano, cloves, bay leaves.
    • Cilantro – A handful.
    • Beef broth
    • Lime juice
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Oil – If you are searing the meat first. We highly recommend this step, as it adds tons of flavor.
    • Lettuce – Use any lettuce that is hearty enough to hold the meat. Butter lettuce or Boston lettuce are really great for lettuce wraps.

    How to make Barbacoa Beef Lettuce Wraps

    In three simple three steps:

    1. Brown the meat
    2. Blitz the sauce in the blender
    3. Cook the meat along with sauce in a crock pot or instant pot.

    Crock Pot Method

    Heat some oil in a pan and sear the chuck roast on all sides till it gets brown all over. You can cut the roast into big chunks to handle it easily.

    Blend onion, garlic, cilantro, chipotle peppers, all the spices except bay leaves, beef broth, lime juice, vinegar, salt and pepper.

    Place the chuck roast in the crock pot. Pour the sauce all over the meat so it’s covered nicely then add on bay leaves.

    Chuck roast in a crock pot covered in sauce, prior to cooking.

    Cover and cook it on low for 8-9 hours. When the meat is fork tender, remove the bay leaves and shred the meat with a couple of forks and mix it well with the braising liquids in the crock.

    Shredded beef in the crock pot.

    We recommend it slow and low for a longer duration, but in a hurry you can cook it on high for 4-6 hours.

    Instant Pot Method

    Press the Saute setting on your instant pot and add oil. Once hot, add the meat and sear until browned on all sides. Press cancel to turn off the heat.

    Blend onion, garlic, cilantro, chipotle peppers, all the spices except bay leaves, beef broth, lime juice, vinegar, salt and pepper.

    Add sauce and bay leaves to the pressure cooker and toss everything well.

    Seal the lid on the pressure cooker and set to High Pressure on Manual mode for 60 minutes.

    Once cooked, allow pressure to naturally release. Once vented, remove the lid, remove the bay leaves and shred the meat with a couple of forks and mix it well with the braising liquids.

    Today we are serving Barbacoa in lettuce wraps. Just place the heaping shredded meat in lettuce leaves and chow down!

    The plate of three lettuce wraps.

    Toppings options

    1. Fresh pico de gallo.
    2. Guacamole or guasacaca.
    3. Salsa – it can be any of your choice like tomato salsa, salsa taquera, mango salsa or corn or pineapple salsa.
    4. Some grated cheese like cotija, queso fresco or even regular cheddar or monterey jack.
    5. Cilantro.

    Other ways to serve Barbacoa Beef

    • Make barbacoa sliders.
    • Arrange it in a burrito bowl with regular rice, brown rice or cauliflower rice.
    • Build a giant burrito like Chipotle with rice, beans, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, salsa, lettuce… YUMM.
    • Serve it over soft flour tacos or corn tacos or on low carb tortilla wraps.
    • Make quesadillas.
    • Make easy sheet pan nachos for the crowds with tortilla chips, salsa, beans, cheese and sour cream.

    Some variations

    1. Add some beer like dark ale instead of beef broth.
    2. Some omit the apple cider vinegar for a less tangy version.
    3. It doesn’t end up as an in-your-face spicy meal, as chipotle peppers have a slight sweet tangy flavor along with heat. But you can tone it down a little by reducing the chilies if your kids are not into spicy food.

    How to store Barbacoa Beef

    Barbacoa refrigerates beautifully. As it sits, the flavors get accentuated and it’s great for the next 3-4 days.

    You can also freeze it for future meals in an airtight container. Use it within 3 months. This is a great meal prep option for so many varied types of meals.

    Close up of two barbacoa beef lettuce wraps.

    There is so much to do with this simple crock pot (or instant pot) meal. How many of you have thought of lettuce wraps to try barbacoa before? It’s an absolutely delicious way to enjoy your favorite Mexican flavors if you are watching your carbs. This is the meal that can satisfy every single member of the family. Serve it low carb, serve it on tacos, or serve it whichever way your heart desires. Barbacoa is here to stay…

    Barbacoa Beef Lettuce Wraps, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Three lettuce wraps on the Gypsy Plate.

    Try these other great Crockpot recipes!
    Tuscan Chicken
    Hawaiian Pineapple Chicken
    Guinness Beef Stew
    Islander Pork Chops
    Crack Chicken

    Barbacoa beef lettuce wraps.

    Barbacoa Beef Lettuce Wraps

    Yield: 8-12 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 5 hours
    Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes

    These Barbacoa Beef Lettuce Wraps are a great way to get those Mexican flavors in low-carb form. The beef also goes great in tacos, burritos and bowls.

    Ingredients

    • 3lb chuck roast
    • 6-7 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce + 1 Tbsp adobo sauce (see note 1)
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 8 garlic cloves
    • 1/4 cup lime juice
    • 1.25 cup beef broth
    • 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 1 Tbsp oregano
    • 8-9 cloves, crushed
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 3 bay leaves
    • Cilantro, handful
    • 2 Tbsp oil
    • 1 head Boston lettuce

    Instructions

    Crock Pot Method

    1. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat and sear the chuck roast on all sides till it gets brown all over.
    2. Blend all the remaining ingredients, except bay leaves, in a blender.
    3. Place the chuck roast in crock pot and pour the sauce on top. Add in bay leaves.
    4. Cover and cook 8-9 hours on low or 4-6 hours on high.
    5. Remove some of the excess liquid and discard, leaving about 2-3 cups in the crockpot. Shred the beef with a couple of forks and mix well with remaining juices.
    6. Serve it in lettuce wraps along with fresh pico de gallo, salsa or any toppings of your choice.

    Instant Pot Method

    1. Press the Saute setting on your instant pot and add oil. Once hot, add the meat and sear until browned on all sides. Press cancel to turn off the heat.
    2. Blend onion, garlic, cilantro, chipotle peppers, all the spices except bay leaves, beef broth, lime juice, vinegar, salt and pepper.
    3. Add sauce and bay leaves to the pressure cooker and toss everything well.
    4. Seal the lid on the pressure cooker and set to High Pressure on Manual mode for 60 minutes.
    5. Once cooked, allow pressure to naturally release. Once vented, remove the lid, remove the bay leaves and shred the meat with a couple of forks and mix it well with the braising liquids.

    Notes

    1. This is not especially hot, but if you want to reduce the spice level use 4-5 chipotle peppers.
    2. You can also serve barbacoa beef over tacos, burritos, nachos, quesadillas, burrito bowls and in sliders.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 8 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 480Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 141mgSodium 594mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 3gSugar 3gProtein 44g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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