Big Cathy’s Barbacoa

First of all, I need to explain the name although I’m unsure of the whole story. I acquired the nickname Big Cathy when my two oldest kids were in high school. Supposedly the name was a term of endearment earned from their friends, although I’m not sure whether to believe it. Those of you who know me or have met me at market know the name doesn’t quite fit my stature.

If you are a lazy cook these days, but like good food, this recipe is for you. Long days of farm work don’t leave much time for me to spend in the kitchen, so slow cooker recipes let me have the best of both worlds. My latest discovery is slow cooker barbacoa.

Most of you recognize barbacoa from the Chipotle menu. This is very similar. It’s not authentic barbacoa, but an Americanized version.

In the U.S., barbacoa is often prepared with parts from the heads of cattle, such as the cheeks. In northern Mexico, it is also sometimes made from beef head, but more often it is prepared from goat meat (cabrito).

Uh, no thanks. I prefer a grass fed beef roast.



• 2-3lbs Beef Arm Roast
• 6 Tbsp Water
• 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
• 1 1/2 Tbsp Lime Juice
• 2 Chipotle chiles in Adobo
• 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
• 2 tsp Cumin
• 1 tsp Oregano
• 1/2 tsp Salt, Pepper


Add all ingredients to slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.


Serve on tortillas or in a bowl with beans, rice, lettuce, salsa, cheese, sour cream, tomato, avocado… get the gist.

Keep in mind your tolerance for heat from the peppers. The heat level in this recipe is fairly mild. If you prefer more heat, increase your chipotle peppers, but be careful of getting is so hot you lose the beef flavor.

This works well when you need food for a crowd. Or you can even portion out leftovers and store in your freezer to use at a later date.


Tags: , , , , ,

Cathy Johnmeyer


  1. Awesome recipe!!! Thank you so much! We love Chipotles but often have to do the home version with chicken. With this recipe I can make the version we all like!

    1. Glad to be of help. Keep watching for more recipes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *