Slow cooker pineapple barbacoa is a super easy recipe to make for a gathering or a family meal and have extra on hand for meal prep or to freeze. This recipe is both gluten free and dairy free and since barbacoa goes perfectly with so many things the possibilities are endless.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy: This recipe is super easy to make and even easier if you skip searing the chuck roast in the beginning.
- Filling: Barbacoa is a delicious and filling protein and a good change up from ground beef.
- Bulk Recipe: This recipe makes about 4 pounds of barbacoa which is perfect for a gathering or to have extra meat on hand to freeze for later.
- Versatile: Barbacoa can go on almost anything from tortillas to sandwiches to salads so you can make it and use it everywhere!
Slow Cooker Pineapple Barbacoa Ingredients
This recipe starts with avocado oil or olive oil, 4 pounds of beef chuck roast, salt, pepper, and one 13.5 ounce can of pineapple chunks in 100% pineapple juice.
For the sauce portion of your slow cooker pineapple barbacoa you will start with minced garlic, a half of a roughly chopped red onion, and 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce; three of the chipotle peppers for a spicier sauce. You will also need 3 tablespoons of the sauce from the can.
The rest of the sauce ingredients involve red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, lime juice, cumin, dried oregano, and ground cloves.
Optional ingredients for serving include tortillas of your choice, diced white onions, pickled red onions, lime wedges, and cilantro.
How to Make Slow Cooker Barbacoa with Pineapple
To start this recipe you first add all of the sauce ingredients to a food processor and blend it together until combined well. It doesn’t need to be completely smooth, just incorporated together well.
Secondly, season the chuck roast with salt and pepper, and heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chuck roast to the pan and sear it to brown it on all sides.
Note: Searing the beef is an optional step. It deepens the flavor, but it is not required if you’re short on time or are trying to save on dishes.
Next, place the chuck roast to the slow cooker and pour your freshly made sauce over the top of it. Add the can of pineapple chunks and pineapple juice to the top and turn the slow cooker on.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours depending on the timeframe you’re going for. Just until the beef starts to fall apart. You’ll know its ready when the beef falls apart when running a fork over it.
When the chuck roast is done cooking, shred it apart and mix it together with the sauce. You now have a delicious slow cooker pineapple barbacoa and are ready to serve!
Serving and Storing Instructions
Slow cooker pineapple barbacoa is a great recipe to serve in many many ways. Use your favorite tortillas and make burritos or tacos with any of your favorite toppings. Pineapple barbacoa is a great protein for a salad or bowl as well. This recipe is a great topping for nachos or even on a bun as a sandwich option.
Try pairing this recipe with our Mango Pico de Gallo recipe! They go together perfectly!
To store this recipe let it cool down to room temperature and place it in an airtight container and refrigerate. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days quite well.
This recipe is another great one for freezing leftovers for future use. Just make sure it is portioned and in an airtight freezer safe container or in your Souper Cubes. Have more slow cooker pineapple barbacoa at the ready in a snap!
Traditionally, in Mexico, barbacoa is made from beef, goat, or lamb cuts. Most commonly in America it is made from beef.
Barbacoa is traditionally made from beef cheek cuts. This recipe uses a chuck roast but you will find it made with different larger cuts of meat.
The term barbacoa is from a form of cooking in the carribean called barbaca. This is the basis of the word barbacoa which, in turn is the derivative of the word barbecue.
Barbacoa is a little heavier/heartier than carnitas. While similar, the barbacoa has a somewhat “crunchier” texture than the softer carnitas.
Barbacoa is a pulled/shredded meat whereas carne asada is a strip of meat that is marinated and grilled. They are both beef cuts but carne asada is made more ofter from sirloin or rib meat.
The biggest difference between pulled pork and barbacoa is that pork is used for carnitas and beef, lamb, or goat meat is more often used for barbacoa.
Birria is made from barbacoa meat that has been marinated or simmered in a sauce. It is similar but birria has an extra step to it if you will.
Other Slow Cooker Recipes You’ll Love!
- Slow Cooker Chicken and Chickpea Tikka Masala
- 3 Bean Vegetarian Chili
- Slow Cooker Fiesta Chicken and Rice
- Slow Cooker Chicken Alfredo Pasta
PS. If you’ve made this recipe, don’t forget to rate this recipe and let me know in the comments how you liked it!
- 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- 4–pound beef chuck roast
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (13.5 ounce) can pineapple chunks in 100% pineapple juice
For the Sauce:
- 1.5 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2–3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (3 for a spicier flavor), plus 3 tablespoons of the sauce from the can
- 1/2 large red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
Optional for serving: tortillas, diced white onion or pickled red onions, lime wedges, cilantro
- Add all of the sauce ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined. The sauce doesn’t need to be completely smooth (the onions can still have a small finely diced appearance)
- Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and once it’s hot, add the chuck roast and sear it until browned on all sides
- Add the chuck roast into the slow cooker, pour the sauce over top, and then add in the can of diced pineapple chunks and pineapple juice
- Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or high for 4 to 5 hours, until beef falls apart. If the beef doesn’t fall apart while dragging a fork over it, it needs more time to cook
- Once done, shred the beef and combine it with the sauce. Serve in tacos, burritos or with a taco salad
- Searing the beef before cooking is an optional step. It deepens the flavor, but it is not required if you’re short on time or trying to save on dishes.
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