Barbacoa meat on a platter with slaw on the side

Slow cooker barbacoa

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(6 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 7 hrs


Serves 4

This slow cooked lamb dish from Mexico is great for family meals. Our easy recipe has a touch of dark chocolate and ancho chillies for smoky heat

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal752
  • fat43g
  • saturates21g
  • carbs24g
  • sugars7g
  • fibre5g
  • protein45g
  • salt1.6g


  • 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 dried ancho chillies, seeds removed (see tip)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano



    Closely related to marjoram, of which it is the wild equivalent, oregano has a coarser, more…

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves peeled
  • 400ml red wine
  • ½ lamb shoulder, bone in (about 1¼kg)
  • 50g dark chocolate, broken into squares
    Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

    Dark chocolate

    dahk chok-o-let

    Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 large new potatoes, about 450g
    New potatoes

    New potatoes

    n-ew po-tate-oes

    New potatoes have thin, wispy skins and a crisp, waxy texture. They are young potatoes and…

  • white cabbage & radish slaw (see goes well with), to serve


  1. Put the tomatoes, chillies, oregano, cumin and garlic in a food processor with one-third of the wine, add 1 tsp salt and blitz until smooth.

  2. Put the lamb in the slow cooker pot (we used a 6.5-litre model). Pour over the chilli mix, then add the rest of the wine with the chocolate, cinnamon stick and whole potatoes. Cover and cook on low for 7 hrs until the lamb is really tender and the potatoes are still firm.

  3. To serve, remove the bones and skin from the lamb and pull the meat apart into large chunks. Chop the potatoes into chunks and skim the fat from the cooking juices. Serve the lamb, potato and juices in bowls with the slaw on top.

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Comments, questions and tips

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6th Apr, 2019
A bulb of garlic is way too much - the meat tasted ok but the sauce wasn't edible
14th Jan, 2018
I tried cooking this a few months ago however, having followed the recipe exactly, when my husband and I came to eat it we found it was really salty and we couldn't taste anything else. Unfortunately we had to throw it out. I will try it again but will add salt to taste later on in the process.
28th Jan, 2018
Did you use a tablespoon or a teaspoon of salt?
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