It’s been quite some time since I’ve made homemade tacos, and after being in Miami the past few days I was feeling inspired to create something with bright, fresh flavors. These Spicy Barbacoa Tacos with Pineapple Salsa are full of flavor, and totally delicious. If you’ve never had barbacoa, it’s a Mexican preparation of beef, traditionally slow-cooked and loved for its delicious seasonings. This smoky blend of flavors – paprika. cumin and cayenne – perfectly complements the richness of the beef. Top these tacos with fresh pineapple salsa, pickled onions, and thinly sliced radishes for a bit of crunch.


The slow cooker or crock pot, whatever you want to call it, is one of those kitchen gadgets that I have a love-hate relationship with. It can make even the toughest cut of meat tender and flavorful, however, it takes time and patience. Because the slow cooking process typically takes about 8 hours, you’ll have to plan ahead. The good news is, you can set it and forget it. With a little prep in the morning, you can come home from work and have dinner practically finished.

I have a “thing” for pineapple salsa, and love it so much more than the tomato variety. The tropical flavors of pineapple and lime combine with sweet onion, and jalapeño for a salsa that’s great with beef, pork, shrimp, or chicken. It can be made in under ten minutes, and its bright yellow color adds a pop of color to the dish. For the best flavor, make it at least 30 minutes ahead of time to allow the flavors to mingle.

How pretty are pickled onions? I love their hot pink color, and the tangy taste of them. Thinly slice a red onion, and soak the slices in a mixture of vinegar, water, sugar and salt. They take about an hour to pickle, but can sit for as long as two weeks. This bright, jewel-toned condiment offers a zesty tang to countless dishes and adds a lovely splash of color as well.

This is one of those recipes you’ll want to keep in your rotation. With a little preparation, you’ll have one delicious dinner.

Prep Time

10 mins

Cook Time

8 hours

Total Time

8+ hours


2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 (4 pound) beef chuck roast

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

4 garlic cloves

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

½ red onion, diced

3 tablespoons adobo sauce

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

corn or flour tortillas

Pickled onions

1 red onion, thinly sliced

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon coarse salt

Pineapple salsa

1 cup fresh pineapple cubes, diced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced

1/2 sweet onion, diced

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime, juiced

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the garlic, peppers, onions, adobo sauce, vinegar, lime juice, cumin, oregano and cloves in the bowl of your food processor and blend until combined.
  2. Season the beef with the salt and pepper. If you have a slow cooker that you can sear in, heat it to the highest setting. If not, heat a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil (to either, whatever you’re using) and once it’s hot, add the beef and sear until deeply golden on every side, about 2 minutes per side. Place the sauce mixture in the bottom of the slow cooker (and if the beef was seared in there, just lift up the beef and pour it underneath) with the beef over top. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until the beef falls apart.
  3. To make the pickled onions, place the onions in a jar or cup. In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt dissolve. Pour over the sliced onions. Let sit at room temperature for an hour. You can obviously make this ahead of time and once made, store it in the fridge in a sealed container or jar.4. To make the pineapple salsa, combine all the ingredients together in a large bowl and stir. Let sit for 30 minutes or so for the flavor to develop.