Home >> Recipes >> ChipotleŽ Mexican Grill >> Chipotle Mexican Grill Barbacoa Burrito Copycat Copycat Recipe  
Chipotle Mexican Grill Barbacoa Burrito Copycat Copycat Recipe
Chipotle Mexican Grill Barbacoa Burrito
By Todd Wilbur

Recipe Type: Entree
Calories: 820
Cook Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Recipe Rating: 4.8 (17 reviews)

Menu Description: "Spicy, shredded beef, braised with our own chipotle adobo, cumin, cloves, garlic and oregano."
The original Mexican dish barbacoa was traditionally prepared by cooking almost any kind of meat goat, fish, chicken, or cow cheek meat, to name just a few, in a pit covered with leaves over low heat for many hours, until tender. When the dish made its way into the United States via Texas the word transformed into "barbecue" and the preparation changed to incorporate above-ground techniques such as smoking and grilling. The good news is that we can recreate the beef barbacoa that Chipotle has made popular on its ginormous burritos without digging any holes in our backyard or tracking down a local source for fresh cow faces. After braising about 30 pounds of chuck roasts, I finally discovered the perfect clone with a taste-alike adobo sauce that fills your roast with flavor as it slowly cooks to a fork-tender delicacy on your stovetop over 5 to 6 hours. Part of the secret for great adobo sauce is toasting whole cumin seeds and cloves and then grinding them in a coffee grinder (measure the spices after grinding them). Since the braising process takes so long, start early in the day and get ready for a big dinner, because I've also included clones here for Chipotle's pico de gallo, pinto beans, and delicious cilantro-lime rice to make your burritos complete. You can add your choice of cheese, plus guacamole and sour cream for a super-deluxe clone version.

Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons lime juice
3 to 4 canned chipotle chiles 
4 garlic cloves
4 teaspoons freshly toasted and ground cumin seeds (see Tidbits)
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly toasted and ground cloves (see Tidbits)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 to 5 pound chuck roast
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 bay leaves
Pico de Gallo
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinto Beans
Three 15-ounce cans pinto beans (with liquid)
3 tablespoons bacon fat (from cooking 3 to 4 pieces of bacon)
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
Cilantro-Lime Rice
3 cups water
2 cups converted rice
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
For the Burritos
Eight 12-inch flour tortillas
Shredded Cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
Guacamole (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

1. Make the adobo sauce by combining the vinegar, lime juice, chipotles, garlic, cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt, and cloves in a blender or food processor and puree on high speed until smooth. 

2. Trim the fat from the meat, then slice the roast into 6 smaller pieces. Sear all sides of the chunks of meat in the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat until browned. Add the adobo sauce to the meat, pour in the chicken broth, and add the bay leaves. Cover the pot, turn your stove to medium/low heat, and let the meat simmer (braise) for 5 to 6 hours, or until the meat easily flakes apart. Turn the meat every 30 minutes as it cooks. After 4 hours, keep the lid off the pot. At the 5-hour mark, you should be able to tear the meat apart into bite-size chunks with tongs.

3. As soon as your meat is in the pot, make the pico de gallo by combining all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill for several hours while the barbacoa is cooking.

4. Just before the meat is done, prepare the pinto beans by combining the beans with the bacon fat and oregano in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until most of the liquid is gone and beans are soft. Keep the beans covered until the meat is ready.

5. Make the cilantro-lime rice by combining the water, rice, butter, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer for 20 minutes. When the rice is done, stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Keep the rice covered until you're ready to assemble the burritos.

6. Make each burrito by first heating a flour tortilla on a large skillet over medium heat, or wrapped in moist paper towels in the microwave. When the tortilla is warm, spoon a healthy portion of barbacoa meat into the tortilla, followed by the cilantro-lime rice, beans, pico de gallo, and your choice of cheese. You can also add sour cream and/or guacamole, if you like. Fold the bottom edge of the tortilla over the filling, then fold in the ends. Continue rolling the burrito up and away from you until it's rolled up tight, and consume.

Makes 8 large burritos.

Tidbits: Toast whole cumin seeds and cloves separately in a small saute pan over medium/low heat. Toss often and watch the spices closely so they don't burn. The spices are done toasting when they are fragrant and slightly browned. Use a clean coffee grinder to grind each of the spices to a powder, and then measure for the recipe.

Favorite at our house!
Heidi Hintz  
Submitted on: 08/31/15
I love your recipes Todd! We make this all the time. I tweak the rice a little: add 1 bay leaf to the rice during cooking. Discard when fluffing rice. I also add 2x as much lime juice (caviat: I do use bottled juice). The bay leaf really adds a mysterious "something" that the recipe was lacking. Keep up the good work, can't wait for your next book!
Ben Lipinski  
Submitted on: 03/24/14
Well worth the time but is a little on the pricy side to get ingredients if you don't have all the things needed....however, is very very close and just as good as the real thing. I fed 5 people dinner with this recipe and had one for lunch the next day and still have enough for at least 6-7 more burritos. Going to freeze it for later. Well done Todd.....this is a keeper!
Amber M  
Submitted on: 02/09/14
This recipe does take more time than most to make, but well worth it. I think it taste very much like Chipotle's barbacoa. You won't be disappointed! Not to mention, it makes a lot of food, so you can be eating on this for days or freeze some for later.
Pretty Good!
Lytorre Vidaurri  
Submitted on: 07/20/13
This is delicious, but it doesn't taste like Chipotle's barbacoa (which isn't a bad thing). My family gobbled it up. I made my own beans (sorry, beans, bacon fat and Mexican oregano does not make Mexican beans---this coming from someone married to a Mexican-American for more than a decade!). Anyhow, this will definitely become a staple in my home. However, when I want Chipotle barbacoa I'll go to Chipotle. Thanks for the great recipe.
very close
Alice Hathcoat  
Submitted on: 07/11/13
I found the clove was a little heave and I think it cooked a little too long but other than that the flavor was nearly spot on in my book.
No cigar
Submitted on: 11/12/11
This recipe is good but it does not taste like Chipotle's barbacoa. With a couple of minor tweaks, it comes fairly close: 1. Reduce vinegar to 1/4 cup. The goal is to not taste the vinegar once barbacoa has finished cooking. 2. Reduce cloves to 1/4 tsp. 3. Salt the roast with kosher or sea salt and let sit at room temperature for about an hour before searing.
Submitted on: 07/17/11
Excellent recipe. For those who want a less spicier beef batch, use two parts roasted red peppers (in a jar) and one part spicy peppers instead. I prefer the chicken broth over beef broth because that adds a unique flavor that totally blends well.
john h  
Submitted on: 06/05/09
Very good, I used beef broth instead of chicken broth and a little less cumin seeds. We make it ones every couple of weeks, it goes fast!!!!!
Submitted on: 12/10/08
I FLIPPING LOVE IT!!!! I live in WY and there is NO Chipotle in the town I live in! Its just SSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOO YUMMY! I love it!
Submitted on: 07/09/08
Perfect! I love the barbacoa at Chipotle, but all of the internet recipes were bogus (or for authentic Mexican barbacoa, which is a completely different thing). Now I don't have to pay $1.50 for a couple of extra shreds of beef -- I just pile it on! Nice touch to add the other recipes! (But could you figure out how to make their hot tomatilla sauce -- I'm stuck.)
Submitted on: 03/27/08
Glad to have found this recipe because we just moved to a town with no Chipotle restaurant. I've made the recipe twice and it was awsome both times. Last time I cooked it in the crockpot overnight - 8 hours on low. The meat was very tender and shredded easily. This will become a regular meal in our house!! Thanks for all your efforts Todd!
Submitted on: 02/03/08
Mmmmmm.... deeeee-licious! Thanks to your outstanding recipe, my husband now thinks I am a true kitchen goddess! So easy...and so, so, so yummy! Thanks so much, Todd! You ROCK...always! :D
Submitted on: 08/30/07
This is so great!!!! I used a crockpot to cook it in....great time saver....just leave to cook for the day on med-high setting.
Submitted on: 08/09/07
LOVE IT!!!!! GREAT JOB!!!! I tried it with pork and it was fabulous!!!!
Submitted on: 07/30/07
This recipe was awesome! Our two teenaged sons devoured the burritos and argued about who could have the leftovers. I used a rice cooker then mixed the butter, salt, lime and cilantro into the cooked rice - it was great. Otherwise, I followed the directions exactly but found it only took a bit over 3 hours for the meat to shred.
Submitted on: 07/09/07
Fabulous and flavorful! With the adobo sauce and cilantro rice (which would make a great side dish), it's a good Chipotle clone. I couldn't find any chipotles, so I roasted jalapenos instead. The yield of 8 large burritos was about 16 for my guests, so invite a crowd, eat hearty, and enjoy!
Sue in OH  
Submitted on: 07/04/07
This was wonderful, my family loved it. It took a long time, but I made it ahead and we had it around for quick meal, just some meat and cheese on a tortilla. My husband says it tastes like the real thing.