BARBACOA BEEF MEAL PREP
I had an unshakeable craving for Mexican food so I made this Barbacoa Beef Meal Prep. It cooks with very little effort in the slow cooker, which I love! The shredded chipotle lime beef pairs beautifully with yellow rice and fresh radish salad. I will definitely make this again! Best of all, it's gluten-free, dairy-free, and macro-friendly.
Did you know? Grass fed beef has up to five times as much anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids compared to conventional grain-fed. Grass fed is also much higher in fat soluble vitamins like A and E, and generally contains more anti-oxidants. (source)
Choosing the best beef
I usually choose grass-fed over grain-fed beef. Typically, conventional grain-fed beef are crammed into feedlots where they are fattened on corn and soy, then administered growth hormones to speed things up even more. While grass-fed isn't strictly enforced, the USDA does require the cattle are grass-fed for their entire lives.
"Organic" requires that the cattle are pastured on certified organic land, have year round access to the outdoors, and may not be administered hormones or antibiotics. However, organic beef *may* be fed corn and other grains so long as it's organic, which changes the nutrient content of the final product.
What's the best cut of beef for this? I typically choose a leaner cut, but not too lean for slow cooker meats. This includes beef tenderloin, tri-tip roast, top sirloin roast, bottom round, eye of round, sirloin tip, and top round (London broil). Really any of these will work, but I went with London broil!
For seasoning the beef, you're going to need lime juice, cider vinegar, canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, fresh garlic, ground cumin, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. You can also add ground cloves and dried bay leaf if you have it, or use beef broth instead of orange juice.
The canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be found in the Mexican food aisle at your local grocers! They might also be called "adobo peppers."
You can make this in the slow cooker OR a dutch oven, but I found the slow cooker method to be more tender and juicy. I might have let the oven version cook too long! For the oven version, cook for about 1 1/2 hours at 325 degrees F and use double the juice or broth. For the slow cooker version, you will want to cook it on LOW for 6-8 hours (preferred) or HIGH for 3-4 hours (less tender). I haven't tested this in an Instant Pot yet, but you could try a method like this!
Cucumber radish salad
The cucumber radish salad was the perfect side! All you need is two bunches of radishes, two English cucumbers, one jalapeño, half a red onion, two garlic cloves, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, cilantro, salt.
It's really flavorful with the bite of radish, tart lime, fresh cucumber, and balance of sweet and heat! And, it's surprisingly easy to make.
I served this with yellow rice, which is flavored with saffron and turmeric. For convenience I just used the prepackaged kind! Mahatma brand has pretty wholesome ingredients, good macros, and great flavor. You could also do tortillas, cilantro lime rice, black beans, refried beans, Mexican street corn... whatever you feel like.
Feel free to top your meal with fresh lime, cilantro, and avocado, too!
Here's the printable recipes for this Barbacoa Beef Meal Prep! I hope your family loves it as much as we did :)
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Barbacoa Beef Meal Prep
I had an unshakeable craving for Mexican food so I made this Barbacoa Beef Meal Prep. It cooks with very little effort in the slow cooker, which I love! The shredded chipotle lime beef pairs beautifully with yellow rice and cucumber radish salad. I will definitely make this again! Best of all, it's gluten-free, dairy-free, and macro-friendly.
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 lbs. raw beef top round (or London broil, bottom round, sirloin roast, tri tip roast)
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice (about 1 large lime)
1 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3.5 oz. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves (optional)
1/4 tsp. crumbled bay leaf (optional)
1/2 cup orange juice (or beef broth)
2 cups radish, thinly sliced
2 cups cucumber, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, diced
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 large limes)
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
Cucumber radish salad:
*See blog post above for other cooking methods.
Layer the chopped onion in the bottom of your slow cooker.
Lay beef over top bed of onions (you can easily double this recipe if you have 4-5 pounds of meat).
In a blender or food processor, add lime juice, cider vinegar, adobo peppers, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, cloves, bay leaf, and orange juice/beef broth. Blend/process until smooth then pour over beef. You can also just chop up the adobo peppers and toss everything straight into the slow cooker.
Turn beef to coat evenly, then cook on LOW for 6-8 hours (preferred for tender meat) or on HIGH for 3-4 hours. See blog post above for oven and Instant Pot directions!
Once beef pulls apart easily with a fork, shred using two forks and stir to combine with sauce.
Cucumber radish salad:
Wash your vegetables well and slice very thinly.
Toss vegetables with cilantro, garlic, lime, vinegar, honey, and salt.
Chill in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Serve barbacoa beef with salad and your choice of side (yellow rice, tortillas, black beans, Mexican street corn, etc). Enjoy!
If meal prepping, divide beef and rice evenly between six meal prep containers. Store salad separately. Reheat meal prep container, then add one-sixth of salad, fresh lime, and avocado if desired. Meals and salad will keep in airtight containers in the fridge up to one week. Meat and rice will keep in the freezer at least a month.
Calories (1/6th of beef): 246kcal, Fat: 9.6g, Sat fat: 3.4g, Carbs: 3g, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 1g, Protein: 35g, Sodium: 281mg
Calories (1/6th of salad): 46kcal, Fat: 0.2g, Sat fat: 0g, Carbs: 11g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 8g, Protein: 1g, Sodium: 212mg
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