Alaena Haber of Grazed & Enthused developed the AIP taco beef recipe for our collaborative AIP cookbook and guide, The Healing Kitchen. I was blown away by Alaena’s ability to recreate Mexican flavors using only AIP-friendly seasonings (that’s right, no chili powder, which is the usual dominant spice in taco beef). Following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) nixes chili because it’s a nightshade and while I’ve been wanting to experiment with Mexican flavors while staying within AIP guidelines, I’ve always been stumped as to how to sub for chili. Well, Alaena blazed the way. Not only has the taco beef recipe in The Healing Kitchen brought Taco Tuesdays back to my home (woot!), but it’s also educated me in AIP flavoring combinations for traditional Mexican dishes.
Clearly, with my newfound inspiration, the next dish to tackle is barbacoa! This recipe isn’t much different from a traditional mild barbacoa and the amazing combination of flavors will make this a winner whether you’re following the AIP or not!
Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredients list. This dish is pretty easy to make and all of the ingredients are likely staples in a Paleo kitchen. Plus, it makes an absolute ton of barbacoa! So, while you might invest 30-40 minutes of hands-on time time into this dish, you’ll have tons of leftovers!
This is a perfect recipe for an InstaPot. You can either use the pressure cooker function or the slow cooker function, and as an added bonus, you don’t need to dirty another pot in order to simmer down the liquids after the beef is cooked.
Prep time: 30 minutes (plus optional dry rub overnight)
Cook time: 2.5 hours in a pressure cooker, 10.5 hours in a slow cooker
- 5-7 lbs beef shoulder or brisket
- 2 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp onion powder
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp turmeric
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp salt, divided
- 1 medium bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 medium red onion, roughly cut
- 1 head garlic, peeled and cloves smashed
- 2 sticks cinnamon (Mexican cinnamon, preferred)
- 5 bay leaves
- 3 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
- Juice of 4 limes
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups beef broth (enough to cover beef shoulder/brisket)
- Pat beef shoulder or brisket dry with paper towels.
- Combine oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, turmeric, ginger and 1 tsp salt. Rub all over shoulder. Optional: wrap seasoned shoulder in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
- Place chopped cilantro, onion and garlic in the bottom of a pressure cooker (it’s the perfect size for an InstaPot!) or slow cooker. Wrap bay leaves and cinnamon sticks in butcher’s twine to make a little bouquet garnis and place in the bottom of the pressure cooker or slow cooker as well (this just makes it easier to remove later).
- Place the seasoned beef shoulder (or stack briskets) over the herbs.
- Add the fish sauce, blackstrap molasses, lime juice, apple cider vinegar and remaining salt. Pour beef broth in until shoulder is just covered (about 4 cups). If you run out of broth, top up with water.
- Cook on high pressure for 2 hours in a pressure cooker or cook for 8-10 hours on low in a slow cooker.
- Remove beef from pressure cooker or slow cooker, and let cool 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove bouquet garnis and then simmer cooking liquid to reduce by half. If you’re using an InstaPot, you can do this easily by using the saute function. If you’re using a slow cooker, you’ll want to transfer liquids to a pot on the stove top to simmer.
- After the beef has rested and while the liquid is simmering, shred beef by using two forks and pulling in opposite directions, repeatedly.
- Once liquid is reduced, place in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds to form a smooth puree. You should end up with about 5 cups of puree, give or take.
- Pour puree over pulled beef and mix to evenly coat. If you like, you can pour a few cups and taste and see how you like it, add a little more, and keep going until it’s exactly to your liking!
- Serve with guacamole and fresh limes, as a lettuce wrap or with my AIP Paleo Flour Tortillas!