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Instant Pot Whole30 Barbacoa BeefI just love barbacoa beef. Mexican barbacoa is meat prepared in a way that allows it to be very tender when it’s cooked, and shred oh-so easily. The traditional way to make it is with lamb or goat meat, but you will also find it commonly to be made using meat from the heads of cattle, like the cheek. Today, we are keeping it simple with this Instant Pot Whole30 Barbacoa Beef using an easy to find boneless beef chuck roast along with spices and other ingredients that you will likely find at all local grocery stores. 

Okay, so you get it. Easy ingredients BUT, do you know what makes this even easier to make and more tender than ever before? Cooking it in a good old Instant Pot. The Instant Pot is all the rave right now and there is a reason why. It’s easy to use and it makes food come out way more tender than the old crockpot. I am not going to lie, I kicked and screamed before I bought one and I honestly only did it to keep up with all of my lovely reader demands for Instant pot recipes. But I finally bought one during Amazon Prime week and I couldn’t be happier that I did. If you don’t own one, let me tell you what it is real quick: The Instant Pot is a multi-cooker that does the job of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and warming pot. It’s a single appliance that does the job of seven different kitchen appliances or tools. Which first off, is great as far as storage space goes but it is also most fantastic for making cooking faster and more convenient. Stews that take all day long to cook? Done in 30 minutes. Barbacoa beef that would take 8-12 hours in the crockpot to be pull-apart tender? Done in 90 minutes! It’s a dream. I am for sure a believer in this thing and highly recommend everyone buy one. 

Anywho, back to the barbacoa. This Instant Pot Whole30 Barbacoa Beef is easy to make and great shredded meat to prepare at the beginning of the week and use all week long. Throw it on top of salads, make tacos, put an egg on it. You get the picture! Yes, the cooking time might be longer than most Instant Pot meals, but if you want perfect, fall-apart tender meat… just trust me, okay? 

Instant Pot Whole30 Barbacoa
Serves 8
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. 4 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast
  2. Kosher salt, to taste
  3. 2 tbsp. olive or avocado oil
  4. 1 white or yellow onion, sliced thinly
  5. 1.5 cups beef broth
  6. 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  7. 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  8. 1 tbsp. chipotle chili powder
  9. 1 tsp. ground cumin
  10. 4 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
  11. 1 tsp. dried oregano
  12. 2 bay leafs
  1. Cut roast into 5-6 hunks of meat. Season generously with kosher salt.
  2. Press the 'saute' button on the instant pot.
  3. Add the oil to the bottom of the instant pot. Now, sear the meat in batches until all of the meat is browned on all sides. About 3 minutes per side. Set meat on aside on a plate until all meat is browned.
  4. When meat is browned and set aside, add the onions to the bottom of the IP with 1 more tbsp. of oil. Saute for 4 more minutes.
  5. Hit 'cancel' on the IP. Now, Nestle the meat back into the pot and try to get it all in one layer.. even if you have to cram it.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, beef broth, apple cider vinegar, chipotle powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic. Whisk until well combined.
  7. Pour sauce over the meat in the IP. Throw in the 2 bay leafs. Cover and lock on the lid.
  8. Now, hit 'manual' and press the '+' button until you see '90'. Walk away from the IP. It will now pressurize and cook.
  9. When cook time is complete, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to a “Keep Warm” mode.
  10. Release the pressure automatically by CAREFULLY flipping the switch at the top to "vent".
  11. Once Instant pot is done venting, open carefully (beware of steam).
  12. Using tongs, transfer meat to a rimmed cooking sheet (this helps the juices not get everywhere). Using to forks, shred the meat.
  13. Serve immediately or place meat back into the juices until ready to serve.
  14. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, serve meat so that you drain it from the juices.
  1. For Crockpot: Brown meat, add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
The Defined Dish

Welcome! I’m Alex.

I’m a food lover sharing healthy, simple, delicious, recipes from my kitchen to yours. Here you’ll find lots of Whole30, lots of healthy, and a little indulgence here and there because…it’s all about balance y’all!

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  1. I used the crockpot version- did a 2lb grass fed boneless chuck roast cut into 5 pieces. Cooked on low for about 3 hours now and the meat is so tough. Could it be that I sweared it too long or does it maybe just need to cook longer?

  2. So good!! I didn’t have a “Manual” button on my other-branded InstantPot so I just used the Pressure Cook setting on High. I used 4.5lbs of Chuck roast and only cooked for 45mins (I went with my gut thinking that 90mins would be too long since the meat was already cooked somewhat from the browning process) otherwise I followed the rest of the recipe exactly. And it was AMAZING! I didn’t even have to shred the meat, I just mashed it down with a fork laying flat and the meat just fell apart. Wow this recipe is a keeper! We had a lot of leftovers what we will be eating over baked sweet potatoes or (like tonight) over wild rice or in lettuce wraps! *Trader Joes has a delicious jalapeño sauce that we used on top with avocado, tomato, lime, and Chipotle Tabasco sauce. This is going to be in our recipe rotation.