Entrees · Meat

Barbacoa Beef Fajitas!

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Life without Fajitas would be quite dull.  Wouldn’t you agree? Contrary to what some of you may think… although I grew up in a Spanish-speaking country; there wasn’t any Mexican food conveniently available at my house. Like, none at all. I wistfully wish there had been! Middle Eastern & Nicaraguan food were the predominant cuisines in our very eclectic household, and still are. My mother introduced us to her Nicaraguan background through her food, but she also picked up Middle Eastern & Mediterranean cuisine from her mother-in-law, my grandma. Like I’ve said, my mom is a prodigal cook. She’s the one who inspired me to start cooking and try my hand in the kitchen. And here I am, cooking & blogging about it. And finding great joy along the way.

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But for all those Mexican food cravings/dream meals (because we all have them!) there was my friend Andrea’s house. Andrea isn’t Mexican either, per se, but her mom mastered Mexican food like a consummate professional. Andrea’s aunt is from Mexico and I guess she introduced them to family favorites. The absolute best tacos, burritos, salsas and gooey, warm breakfast cheese quesadillas all came out of her house. And I was always around to eat them the morning after a sleepover. Birthday parties in her family involved an authentic taco truck in their big backyard. Like, who needs birthday cake & thick icing? Nah. This was the stuff birthday dreams are made of. In retrospect, I spent a lot of time with Andrea & her family- and not just because of the food, I pinky promise. I liked them all, too.


These Barbacoa Beef Fajitas melt in your mouth & are a total taste bud party. They’re not uncomfortably hot, at all, and you can totally control the level of “picante” when adding the condiments. The meat is tender, savoury and the sauce thick & delicious thanks to my secret ingredient: 2-3 tablespoons of red pepper jelly. Red pepper jelly is an amazing way to naturally thicken and add a major flavor punch to your favorite sauces. And no, it’s not terribly hot or spicy, either. Don’t let the name fool you!

You can’t have good Barbacoa Beef without a killer sauce for it to simmer in! Trust me, I can’t emphasize it enough- the sauce the beef cooks in is everything. That’s what will have you coming back to this dish. Oh and you can try this sauce on chicken, too for some delectable chicken fajitas. Double whammy recipe type of deal. And to make this dish even more appealing, it’s topped with a reduction of sautéed onions, red, green and yellow bell peppers, & tomatoes cooked in olive oil, paprika, cumin, & a pinch of tamari. It’s so simple, yet so out-of-this-world good. Give it a try!


Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Fajitas

  • Servings: 10 tacos
  • Time: 8-10 hours
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  • 4 lbs beef chuck roast (it’s a very tender cut w/ lots of good fat)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped (veins & ends removed)
  • Juice of 2 large lemons
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp of paprika
  • 1 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp of oregano
  • 1 tsp of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • sea salt to taste (depends on how much sodium is in the broth you use & your palate)
  • 4-5 canned chipotle peppers plus 2 tbsp of the sauce they come with
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced vertically
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 sliced bell peppers: the more colorful, the better: try red, green & yellow!
  • 5 finely minced garlic cloves
  • 4 cups of organic beef stock
  • 2-3 tablespoons of good quality red pepper jelly
  • 1 tsp of chili flakes (completely optional)


  1. Remove all excess fat from the meat & cut & divide into 6-7 large pieces.
  2. In a large sauce pan, warm up 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in medium heat and sear the pieces of chuck roast on all sides until it browns, & remove from the heat.
  3. In the interim, prep your adobo sauce in the blender: throw in the cumin, oregano, paprika, ground pepper, vinegar, celery, lime juice, cloves, garlic & chipotle chiles along with sauce & blend until smooth.
  4. Turn on your slow cooker or crock pot & add the browned meat & pour the adobo sauce all over it. Add the 4 cups of organic beef stock, the red pepper jelly & the bay leaves. Give it a good, long stir to ensure it all integrates nicely.
  5. You have to cook this on low (to make sure the meat is super tender) for at least 8-10 hours. Every cut is different. Perfect meal to go to work & come back to a ready-made dinner! Or great for a work-from-home day, so you can keep an eye on it while it simmers away!
  6. Use the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil & in a sauce pan, sauté the onion & all 3 bell peppers w/ a little bit of paprika, ground pepper and cumin sprinkled on top (about 1/2 tsp each). You may also add 1 tbsp of tamari sauce to help with the reduction. They are amazing together and are the perfect topper for the meat!

Carne Barbacoa Para Fajitas

  • Servings: 10 tacos
  • Time: 8-10 hours
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  • 4 libras de asado de tira
  • 1/3 taza de vinagre de manzana o vinagre blanco de cocina
  • el jugo de 2 limones
  • 1 tallo de apio en trozos (sin la vena del centro y las puntas)
  • 4 tazas de caldo de res (hecho en casa o comprado)
  • 3 cucharadas de aceite de olivo extra virgen
  • 4 hojas de laurel
  • 1 cucharada de paprika (o pimentón español)
  • 1 cucharada de comino molido
  • 2 cucharaditas de oregano seco
  • 1 cucharadita de clavos de olor
  • 1 cucharadita de pimienta negra molida
  • sal de mar al gusto (todo depende de tu paladar y de que tanto sodio traiga el caldo de res que se esta usando) Yo uso 1 cucharadita o menos.
  • 2-3 tomates grandes picados
  • 3 chiles o pimientos (1 verde, 1 rojo y 1 amarillo para darle color al plato) en rodajas delgadas
  • 1 cebolla morada grande en rodajas delgadas
  • 5 dientes de ajo picados finitos
  • 4-5 chiles chipotle (compro los de la lata y uso 2 cucharadas de la salsa en la que vienen)
  • 2-3 cucharadas de jalea de chile
  • 1 cucharadita de hojuelas de chile (opcional)


  1. Poner la carne sobre una tabla para cortar y remover todo el exceso de grasa. Cortar en 6-7 porciones iguales.
  2. En una sartén grande a fuego medio, dejar calentar 2 cucharadas de aceite de olivo y luego dejar caer la carne para dorarla, se doran todos los lados. No es a cocinarla.
  3. Mientras la carne se dora, en la licuadora vamos a preparar el adobo tradicional: vinagre de manzana, ajo, jugo de los limones, el tallo de apio, los chiles chipotle, el comino, la sal, la pimienta, la paprika, el oregano, los clavos de olor y se mezcla hasta que se vea una pasta uniforme.
  4. Se quita la carne del fuego y se deja caer a tu slow cooker o crock pot, si no tienen uno, pueden usar una olla para sopa e improvisar.
  5. Se enciende el slow cooker a fuego lento “Low” y a la carne se le deja caer el adobo. Luego las 4 tazas de caldo de res, la jalea de chile y las hojas de laurel. Mezclarlo muy bien a mano para que todo se integre.
  6. Cocinar en low, cubierto de 8-10 horas para que la carne se ablande muy bien. El vinagre del adobo casero es excelente para dar sabor y ablandar, también.
  7. Cuando la carne ya va a estar, en una sartén mediana se coloca la cucharada restante de aceite de olivo y se sofríen: la cebolla, los tres chiles o pimientos (verde, rojo y amarillo) y se puede agregar 1/2 cucharadita de comino, pimienta y paprika. También a veces le pongo hongos o 1 cucharada de salsa tamari para que agarre buen sabor. Se cocina hasta que todo se ablande, moviendo frecuentemente. A este topping le llamo “enredo” y me encanta encima de las fajitas de res.

Que lo disfruten! La jalea de chile es el ingrediente secreto. Es la salsa mas rica que he probado y tiene una consistencia bastante espesa.  Cualquier pregunta, estoy a la orden!