Instant Pot Barbacoa Shredded Beef with Corn Salsa

You are gonna love Barbacoa Shredded Beef! Spicy beef is braised in a blend of chipotle adobo, cumin, cloves, garlic, oregano and lime juice. Served over rice, this tender shredded beef is delicious topped with corn salsa, just in time for Cinco de Mayo! #InstantPot #Beef #Barabacoa #Spicy #CornSalsa

You are gonna love Barbacoa Shredded Beef! Spicy beef is braised in a blend of chipotle adobo, cumin, cloves, garlic, oregano and lime juice, served over rice.

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Instant Pot “Slow Roasted” Beef

I simply adore recipes that are rich in flavor and easy to make. I guess that’s why I love South of the Border and Caribbean cuisine- because it is so dang flavorful! The key component in these easy weeknight recipes, though, is the  6-quart Instant Pot. This small appliance workhorse takes a recipe that usually simmers for hours (“barbacoa” means “slow-roasted”) and cranks it out in just over ONE hour. Yep, in just one hour (give or take a few minutes), and you’ve got melt-in-your mouth, Barbacoa Shredded Beef infused with chipotle, cumin, and garlic with a hint of tangy lime. It’s the perfect accompaniment for warm white rice and crunchy corn salsa.

Corn Salsa

If you’re looking to lighten up any dish with Spanish or Southwestern flavors, this fresh corn salsa is a must-try! It is low-fat and comes together in a flash. Add diced jalapeno for heat, and be sure to zest your lime to get maximum zesty-ness. A microplane zester like this one does the trick, so don’t be tempted to skip the lime zest – it adds so much zing! I love serving this corn salsa alongside Barbacoa Shredded Beef or even with my favorite corn chips.

Easy Recipe Tips for Making Tender Barbacoa Beef

  • This recipe calls for chuck roast.  Can I substitute another cut of beef roast if I need to? Yep.  Feel free to use any beef roast that you have on hand.  My personal favorite is a good, meaty chuck roast because it’s got such great marbling and flavor.
  • Could I substitute a pork roast in place of the beef roast in this recipe?  Totally, and I’ve done just that many times.  This recipe is delicious with either protein, beef or pork.
  • Why does this recipe say to cut the chuck roast into chunks?  2 reasons:  First, if you’ve got chunks of roast, you’ve got more browning surface and that’s definitely going to amp up the flavor….because when we COOK, brown is not a COLOR, it’s a FLAVOR – remember? Secondly, cutting the roast into chunks instead of leaving it in one big piece allows the roast to cook much quicker.  If you decide to leave the roast in one big piece, you’ll need to increase the cooking time by 25-30 minutes or so.
  • Why do I need to give this roast a Natural Pressure Release instead of a Quick Pressure Release at the end of the cooking time?  Great question – so glad you asked because this is essential for a nice, fork-tender roast! Allowing the roast to rest during the Natural Pressure Release is key because this is where the protein fibers of the roast can relax and become super tender.  If you opt for a Quick Pressure Release when you cook big beef roast and pork butts, you are likely to gain the “Rubber Ball” experience – never fun! (Nobody wants to eat chewy, tough roast, right??)


You are gonna love Barbacoa Shredded Beef! Spicy beef is braised in a blend of chipotle adobo, cumin, cloves, garlic, oregano and lime juice, served over rice.

Printable Recipe for Barbacoa Shredded Beef

Instant Pot Barbacoa Shredded Beef With Rice and Fresh Corn Salsa

You are gonna love Barbacoa Beef! Spicy beef is braised in a blend of chipotle adobo, cumin, cloves, garlic, oregano and lime juice. Served over rice, this tender shredded beef is delicious topped with corn salsa.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Chef Alli



  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 small red onion
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbs. minced chipotles in adobo, or to taste
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs. oregano flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 lbs. beef chuck roast, cut into 6 large chunks, trimmed if necessary
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt combined with 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1-2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Warm, cooked rice

Corn Salsa

  • 12 oz. frozen baby gold and white corn, thawed
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, minced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt


To Make the Beef

  • Place garlic, red onion, lime zest and juice, cumin, oregano, chipotles, cloves, salt, and water into a food processor; pulse to process until smooth.
  • Meanwhile, season beef chunks on all sides with salt and pepper mixture.
  • Using the sauté setting on your Instant Pot, add the oil. When the oil is nicely hot, add half of the seasoned beef chunks, browning them on all sides. Remove the beef to a plate and repeat with the remaining beef chunks.
  • Add the prepared sauce from the food processor, along with the bay leaves, to the Instant Pot, returning all of the beef to the pot.
  • Lock the Instant Pot lid into place. Use the manual setting to choose High Pressure for 45 minutes, bringing the Instant Pot to full pressure.
  • When the timer sounds, use a natural release for at least 20 minutes, allowing the pressure in the Instant Pot to gradually come down on its own.
  • Unlock the Instant Pot lid and carefully remove it. Using a fork, test the meat to be sure it is fork-tender. (If the beef isn’t nice and tender, re-pressurize the Instant Pot for 10 more minutes and test the beef again following that.)
  • Using two forks, shred the meat and reserve the cooking liquid; discard the bay leaves.
  • Place the shredded beef into a hot skillet over medium high heat; add some of the reserved cooking liquid to the meat to make it a nice juicy consistency. Serve the beef over warm rice, topped with Corn Salsa. 

To Make the Corn Salsa

  • Combine all salsa ingredients in a bowl. 


**Please note:  the cooking time stated for this recipe does not include the time required to bring the Instant Pot up to pressure since this can vary. This recipe was made using a 6-quart Instant Pot. 
If you opt to leave the chuck roast in one big piece of meat instead of cutting it into chunks as per the directions here, be sure to increase the pressure cooking time by 25-30 minutes.  Cutting the roast into chunks allows for more browning surface and also helps the roast cook much faster.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beef, corn, instant pot

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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli

This recipe was happily shared on Southern Bite – Meal Plan Monday and Country Cook’s Weekend Potluck.


Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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