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Barbacoa Recipe

This healthy barbacoa recipe doesn't require much effort to make. All you need is a few ingredients and the Instant Pot will do all the work for you.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Barbacoa, Barbacoa Recipe, How to make barbacoa
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 503kcal
Author: Luna Regina


  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 16 oz beef brisket trim off fat, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
  • 5 oz red onions divided into 4 oz and 1 oz
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 6-inch flour tortillas
  • 6 oz avocado flesh only, sliced
  • 1 oz tomato deseeded and diced
  • 1 oz cheddar cheese grated
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chopped


  • Sauté the meat: turn your Instant Pot on sauté setting. Heat up the olive oil in the pot. Add beef brisket and sear for 5 minutes. Then flip and cook for another 3 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Sauté the onions and spices: add red onions, minced garlic, chili powder, ground black pepper, ground cumin, ground cloves, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, and salt to the pot. Stir constantly for 1 minute.
  • Put the meat back in the pot: stir to coat the seasonings on the meat. Add dried bay leaves to the meat.
  • Add liquid and deglaze the pot: add unsalted chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, and water. Scrape off any bit of meat that sticks to the bottom of the pot.
  • Pressure cook: put the lid on and seal the steam valve. Switch to the high pressure setting and set the timer for 45 minutes. When the timer beeps, carefully open the valve and release the steam. (We recommend using a long wooden spoon to turn the valve, standing away from the pot.)
  • Shred the meat: remove the brisket from the pot and into a large bowl. Switch the pot to sauté setting and let it cook for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce. In the meantime, use a pair of forks and shred the meat. Then put the meat back into the pot and stir well so that the sauce clings onto the meat. Turn off the Instant Pot.
  • Serve: divide the meat into 8 equal portions. Divide the avocado, diced tomatoes, cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, and the remaining 1 oz red onions into 8 equal portions to use for garnish. Put one portion of the meat in a tortilla and garnish with the garnish. Serve immediately.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 503kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 592mg | Potassium: 753mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 388IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 4mg