Delicious healthy food for nerds

Delicious healthy barbacoa beef taco

Delicious healthy barbacoa beef taco

Did I already mention that I really enjoy mexican food? Yeah I probably did, but well it is how it is. 🙂 Since we were on a paleo diet for the last view months I had to figure out a way to prepare typical mexican food in a more healthy way. So instead of using corn taco shells I had to come up with something else.

On the internet I then found multiple ideas on paleo-friendly recipes for tacos, like on a plantain base or lettuce and based on different vegetables combined with egg and/or cheese. As we decided to add cheese to our paleo diet at least from time to time I was eager to try out taco shells based on vegetable & cheese (find the recipe here) and they just came out great!!!

As I also love chipotle (I know, most Mexicans will say that the food has nothing to do with real mexican food, but I still love it <3) and really enjoy eating barbacoa beef tacos I decided to try to make barbacoa beef myself. If you have ever eaten pulled pork you might know what it means to eat meat that is as tender and juicy as it can be, the same is true for barbacoa beef even though it has a lot less fat.

Ingredients for barbacoa beef taco

For the beef:

  • 1 kg low-fat beef like e.g. shoulder
  • 400 ml chicken or beef stock
  • 100 ml apple cider vinegar or apple juice
  • 5 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp oil (I prefer olive oil)
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • a pinch of salt, black pepper & oregano
  • 3 to 4 chipotle chiles or chipotle chili powder (add more if you want more heat)
  • 2 bay leaves

Some ideas for the taco filling:

How to prepare an awesome barbacoa beef:

  • First remove bigger fat pieces from the meat. Other than with pork, beef fat begins to taste odd if it is cooked for too long and it gives the meat a specific taste we don’t want. So remove the bigger parts, pat the meat try, and season with some salt and pepper.


  • Preheat the oven to 120 °C (248 °F) and prepare a casserole with lid or a clay pot next to the oven. In the meantime heat a large coated pan and add some oil to coat the bottom. Wait until the oil is heated up and add the beef to sear. Turn after a view minutes to sear from all sides. It should get a nice brown crust.
  • While the beef is searing, start preparing the marinade. To do so blend together chicken/beef stock, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, cumin, cloves and season to taste with black pepper, salt, oregano and chipotle chilies. Either put it all in a blender or blend by hand until smooth. Set aside.


  • When the meat reached a nice crust remove it from the pan and place it in the casserole or clay pot. Cover the meat with the prepared marinade. Add the bay leaves on top and put on the lid. Put in the oven for at least 8h at 100-120 (212-248 °F) degrees. For the meat to be perfect it needs to reach a core temperature of 93-95 °C (200+ °F) and you need to adjust the temperature of the oven accordingly.


  • 30min before the meat is done start preparing taco shells as described here.
  • After 8h+ your meat should have reached 93-95 °C (200+ °F) core temperature. Take out of the casserole/clay pot and either shred immediately or put in aluminium foil to keep warm and juicy.


    • Pour sauce over the meat once shredded – mix until well combined.
    • Fill taco as you please with barbacoa beef and for example lettuce, sour cream cheese and if you like and have at hand hot sauce and guacamole.

Let me know what you think of the barbacoa beef recipe. Did it come out as juicy and delicious as it did for me? What are your ideas and variations for this taco?


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