Slow Cooker Barbacoa

Welcome to the first post for Foodie Friday!!!

I am in no way, shape or form a chef or a “cook” for that matter. I just love to cook and learn new things when it comes to food. My husband is a chef, as you may have seen from a previous post. So, these are just tried and true recipes that he has taught me, or that I have learned or created on my own that I wanted to share.

Today is Slow Cooker Barbacoa and if you are Mexican like me, this is an important staple in life. If you like Mexican food— like me— then this is also an important staple for your life. Get past what the first ingredient is and I promise, you will love it.

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Ingredients & Supplies
3 lbs beef cheek meat, whole (If you can’t find near you, you can substitute: 3 lbs chuck roast (fat trimmed), cut into 2-inch chunks)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 chiptoles in adobo sauce, chopped (or more to taste) (canned if desired)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 small white onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice*
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon dried Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
1/2 cup beef broth or water
Olive Oil
Cutting Board
Cast Iron Skillet (or deep pan)
Blender
Slow cooker
*Tip – If you’re using fresh limes, roll on the counter with your hand, as if your were rolling dough. It softens them up and allows more juice to come out with ease.

— I apologize in advance for the pictures. I could not for the life of me get our camera to focus until the very end. lol

First, of course, gather all of your ingredients together so you’re prepared. For the veggies, make sure they’re chopped, minced, sliced, etc. It is the absolute worst to either be missing things or pausing in between steps to find or cut something.

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— Not pictured, supplies and Olive Oil

Preheat your slow cooker by putting it on High heat while you are prepping everything else. Also, have a cast iron skillet or deep pan ready to use as well (I will put it on low to start or half way through make sure to turn on the burner).

Season the outside of the meat on all 4 sides using the cumin, oregano and salt. If it makes it easier, you can mix them all together beforehand like your own seasoning mix and just sprinkle over the meat.

Place some olive oil in the pan under Medium heat and sear the outside of the meat. Make sure you’re not cutting the meat. In my case, it basically fell apart into two pieces and that’s fine, but don’t proactively cut it. You should be searing the meat for about 2-3 minutes on each side.

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All the veggies should be cut or diced at this point. Place them all into a blender, along with your liquids and blend away.

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You basically want it to be the consistency of a non-chunky chip salsa. (honestly, it might be kind of good as that too. If you happen to try, let me know.) Also, you are going to add salt to this. Add more than what you think you’ll need because it will cook down in a way that will take away from the flavor a bit. You can also add that black pepper if you’d like.

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Most importantly, do not leave out any ingredients. It may not seem like a huge deal, but they all work off of each other to balance the overall flavor.

Once you think it’s ready, place half of the mixture on the bottom of the crock pot, add your seared meat and then cover with the rest. I made a bit too much, so don’t worry if you have less. You should be able to almost fully submerge the meat. Once it boils down, you will be happy not to have an overabundance. Once it’s all in there, switch it to a low setting, keep it covered and don’t peek**.

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It will be done after about 6-7 hours. It won’t be an issue to check after that 6th hour. You want the meat to just easily shred with a fork. If you feel like it needs a bit more time, then let it continue to simmer and enjoy when it’s done.

** If you are wanting to be cautious, after 2 hours, open it up, check the flavor to see if you need more salt and add more or leave as-is and wait until it’s done. Otherwise, you can always add salt after, it’s just always nice to not have to do that. This is one of those few times when you will want to overcompensate for the amount of sodium, otherwise, it will be lacking in flavor.

We normally just get some flour tortillas and make tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner 🙂 But, use it how you would with any other shredded meat. I’d love to see your creations and hope you love it. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask. I am the queen of questions so I’m happy to help in any way that I can.

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Now go create some nom-noms!

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