This is Pure Pork Awsomeness! Garlicky, super moist, super tender, super juicy… This Barbacoa Style Pork is braised low and slow, simmering for hours in some serious Mexican flavors like chipotle in adobo sauce, cumin, oregano and plenty of lime juice and cilantro. The result? Melt in your mouth, fall apart meat that even a toothless person can chow down on!
Imagine when you have a pot full of this delciousness. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, enchiladas… your meal choices go through roof!! With the Big Game day coming, you NEED this for your taco station. Minimum effort, lots of praises… my Guarantee! Best part of all… you are not even cooking it. It’s your best friend in the kitchen who does all the work… YOUR BELOVED CROCK POT!!
Seriously, the crock pot is my best friend since moving here to America. I absolutely love the concept of crank it up in the morning and forget all about it. Though after a few hours it’s kinda hard to forget, as your whole house starts smelling divine, and I have that unavoidable urge to peak in to see how it looks (though I try my best not to do that often, as that can reset your temperature and cook time).
Whatever meat I feel like that day, along with whatever flavor or theme, just throw it in. It always gives us heart warming delicious good dinner times at the Beisers’.
I thought about Barbacoa pork as I had a nice Boston butt pork roast sitting in my freezer. Barbacoa is more commonly associated with beef. I love my barbacoa beef, but since I happened to have pork instead, I thought why not?
Any pork butt, with that much fat and juices, along with these traditional barbacoa flavors can’t go wrong… and boy, how right I was! It’s absolutely, finger licking good!
I mean, come on, even if you crock pot pork with just salt and pepper with some garlic cloves poked in (we do that often, by the way) it’s so good. Now if you throw in barbacoa sauce, that you make with tangy spicy and smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, with some spices and lime juice, onion, cilantro and apple cider vinegar… you are talking some serious flavors here!
What is Barbacoa?
Traditionally, barbacoa is meat, mostly beef or goat or lamb, that is slow cooked with seasonings and shredded for filling in tacos, burritos or other Mexican dishes. Mexican barbacoa is usually steam cooked in an underground pit/oven, though sometimes it is cooked on open fires, until the meat is tender and succulent. It is normally served with warm corn tortillas, guacamole and salsa.
But, Caribbeans are also passionate for ownership of barbacoa, as it is believed to have originated centuries ago in Barbados. The word “barbecue” comes from the Caribbean word “barbacoa”. Originally, a barbacoa wasn’t a way of cooking food, but the name of a wooden structure used by the Caribbean Taino Indians to smoke their food.
Spanish explorers took the word barbacoa back to Spain and somehow it creeped back to Mexico and Mexican cuisine! But does it really matter? All that matters is those amazing flavors that my crock pot slaved all day to create…
So without further history lessons, here are the ingredients to throw in your crock pot:
- Pork butt roast – Perfect for large crowds, parties and get togethers, or simply left overs and endless meals.
- Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – They come in a can and they are nothing but smoked Jalepeño in adobo sauce. While the peppers are hot, the sauce is not. But you need them for that smoky flavor. Of course you can use more or less, but I like my barbacoa well seasoned so use 6-7 peppers.
- Onion – Chopped.
- Cloves – I roughly grind them in my mortar and pestle.
- A whole head of garlic – About 12 cloves… yes, you need that many for that much pork.
- Apple cider vinegar – For a little acidity.
- Beef broth – Think flavors… lots and lots of it.
- Cumin – A Mexican favorite.
- Oregano – Another Mexican favorite.
- Salt and Pepper
- Cilantro – MUST (only optional if you hate it ).
- Lime juice – another level of acidity.
- Bay Leaves – A little extra flavor.
How to make Barbacoa
We always brown the chunk of meat a little before putting it in the crock pot. This adds an extra layer and depth of flavor. But it’s optional and up to you if you want to take this step. We highly recommend it. If you do, heat a large pot with some oil over medium high heat. Add your pork and brown each side 2-3 minutes.
You can throw in all the ingredients just like that in the crock pot, but I like to give them (except the bay leaves) a quick whisk in my grinder to make the yummy barbacoa sauce. Then I simply pour it over the meat along with the bay leaves.
I like low mode on my crock pot, as I like to cook it slow and low… for about 8 hours. You also have the high option for your crock pot, this will take about 5 hours.
Once done, your pork will be fork tender and easily fall apart. Simply shred your pork and mix with the juices in the crock pot. This is a great party meal, where you don’t slave for crowd. Once it’s done, just set it up in your taco station and you are good to go for the Big Game.
Can you refrigerate or freeze it?
Yes! It refrigerates beautifully. As it sits, the flavor gets accentuated and it’s so good as leftovers. Use within 3 days.
You can freeze it for future meals in airtight containers. So yes, even if it’s not for big crowds, go ahead and make a huge batch, you won’t regret it. Use within 3 months for best quality.
Now, we are presenting some of our favorite ways to eat our barbacoa pork…
Taco… Taco… more Tacos!!
This one is real easy. Grab some tacos, limes, cilantro, tomatoes and onions. This meat is so flavorful, don’t need any extra toppings like guac or salsa. Sometimes you can just scoop the meat over the tacos, and that’s enough. But a little spritz of some lime and a little sprinkling of chopped onions and tomatoes is all it demands for that fantastic ultimate barbacoa pork tacos.
Sometimes we make elaborate barbacoa burrito bowls with this tender succulent meat.
Here you can make either plain rice or cilantro lime rice like us. We add some fresh pico de gallo, pinto beans (or anything you have in your pantry, like black beans, would do), corn, some nice avocado, and of course a good bit of lime and cilantro. You are all set for nice Mexican night!
This weekend, my friends, or even your busy weekdays, take that crock pot out and cook this Mexican… or Caribbean… Barbacoa pork! Warm up a few corn tacos along with some toppings… or try our barbacoa burrito bowl. Don’t forget that chilled Corona topped with green lime!! Happy times.. Taco Times!!
Barbacoa Pork Tacos, on my Gypsy Plate…
… and a Barbacoa Pork Burrito Bowl, on my Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
Try these other great Latin recipes!
Puerto Rican Picadillo
Cuban Mojo Marinade
Flank Steak Fajitas
Pastel de Choclo
Dominican Pollo Guisado
Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos
Crock Pot Barbacoa Pork
Super easy, Super tasty and Super versitile. Make a huge batch (I used a 5lb pork roast) and you can serve a big crowd or have leftovers for days. Try in tacos, a Buddha bowl, or use your own creativity!
- 5 lb pork butt roast
- 6-7 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 10-11 cloves, ground
- Whole head of garlic, about 12 cloves
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 Tbsp cumin powder
- 2 Tbsp oregano
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- Handful of cilantro, chopped
- Heat oil in large pot over med-high heat. Brown meat, about 2-3 minutes per side. (optional)
- Crush cloves with mortar and pestle.
- Blend all sauce ingredients, other than bay leaves, in grinder or food processor. (optional)
- Add pork to crock pot and cover with sauce. Cook 8 hours on low or 5 hours on high.
- Shred pork with forks and mix well with sauce.
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 545Total Fat 37gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 20gCholesterol 163mgSodium 428mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 45g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
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20 thoughts on “Crock Pot Barbacoa Pork”
What if you don’t use the cloves?? I bought all of the other ingredients and thought cloves meant cloves of garlic. Now I am realizing cloves are an actual spice. Is this really necessary to make it taste good?
The flavor profile will be a little different, but I’m sure it would still be great. There are a lot of different components to the recipe, but the chipotle peppers are really the standout. Let me know how it turns out!
Hands down, this recipe is a winner. My changes to the recipe were unavoidable, but still worked great and the results are amazing. I only had 3.5# of pork shoulder. I followed the recipe to the letter except for the chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. I used La Costena brand chipotles in Adobo Sauce. They’re pretty hot, though I know the heat can vary, and since my girlfriend is working to improve her heat tolerance I decided to be super nice and only use 1 pepper and 2 tsp of the sauce. It worked out great. There was still some of the headiness and earthy, smoky flavor, but with a minimal amount of heat. She loved it and rated the dish a 9 out of 10, which says a ton since she’s a bit of a picky eater that will try any food at least twice before making up her mind about it. Back on the recipe though, everything else was still measured for 5# of pork. My rating is 10/10. This took me straight to a Caribbean Beach ! Thanks for a GREAT recipe!
Glad you both liked it, Rey! It’s one of our go to recipes for pork shoulder.
Help! I think I did something wrong 😫 Mine was sooooo spicy that my husband and I couldn’t eat past the 3rd bite. It smelled amazing all day and we couldn’t wait to taste it. Then our throats and chest were on fire to the point we couldn’t enjoy it. We normally love spicy food so I was so surprised. Did we do something wrong?? I bought the sauce with the chipotle peppers and added 2 small cans of it and included the peppers chopped up with the seeds. I believe it was around 7 peppers in total. So disappointing to throw away 5 lbs of tender pork butt 😭😭😭
So sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you. 2 cans was probably too much. In our experience, we get around 6 to 8 peppers in one 7oz can.
10-11 cloves of what?
Dried cloves, like the kind you put in ham.
I made these today and had some tacos.
Easy to make and excellent flavor! Has a good spice level. I will be freezing half for later use.
Definitely adding this barbracoa to my regular rotation.
Do u season meat overnight first?
Do u cook in crock pot for 8 hours on high or low
Do you cook the pork 8 hours on low in the slow cooker?
Yes, 8 hours on low.
I made this for Super Bowl Sunday today. It smelled amazing all day. The taste is incredible, but my husband and I are both tasting some sweetness. Where is it coming from??? It’s driving me crazy!!!
The adobo sauce has sugar and is a bit sweet. How sweet depends on the brand. Glad you enjoyed!
Oh my is this recipe wonderful and so full of flavor, I am trying to think of a way to use the extra juice from the meat, Might use it as a soup base it is so good. Don’t judge this till you have the meat shredded and mix in the juice the meat cooked in. Alpana you need to pay yourself on the back for this one. So good.
Thank you Tammy! Barbacoa soup? Hmm… stay tuned!
Take about 1 1/2 cups of the extra juice, 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef and an 8 oz can of tomato sauce. Brown the ground beef and drain. Add the juice and tomato sauce and reduce down. Makes great sloppy joes. You can also cook in some diced onion and/or peppers if you want before adding the juice and tomato sauce.