Beef barbacoa with black beans in pressure cooker

This is a go-to recipe of mine in the winter, a hearty stew-like dish that gives me a deep sense of satisfaction.
Preparation is relatively simple, however cooking time can be long. Originally, I prepared this in a cast iron
pot in the oven, cooked for 8 hours at 120 degrees Celsius. However, not so long ago I moved into an apartment
that doesn’t have an oven. I figured, maybe it’s the time to take out my pressure cooker. Alas, the results are
in and they are decent! I would still go for slow cooking in the oven if I had the option, but I have to say,
you can prepare this meal in the pressure cooker in a fraction of the time and to a great result.

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 120 minutes

Servings: 6


  • 1.3 kg beef brisket, chuck or shank (most cuts will do, I prefer a fattier cut)
  • 20 g butter
  • 3-4 chipotle chilis in adobo (you can use a different chili pepper or smoked paprika powder)
  • 1 habanero chili (optional, if you want it to be spicy)
  • 250 g black beens
  • 300 ml beef broth
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 limes, juiced

Tools needed

  • skillet or pan
  • pressure cooker
  • blender or food processor
  • teaspoon
  • tongs or a pair of forks


1. Prepare the beef

Cut the beef into large chunks (~5-10 cm in width) and salt them well on multiple sides. I also like to rub in the salt.
Then put this to the side. Heat the butter in a pan on high heat and braise the chunks on each side until brown
(I like them almost charred). Be very careful around the hot butter, especially if your beef is slightly wet.
Use tongs or forks to move the beef around. Once done, move them into the pressure cooker. When all the beef is
braised, you can pour in the butter as well onto the beef. Your pieces should occupy as much of the bottom as possible
without a lot of empty space in-between. This is important, because if some pieces are not covered in water during
cooking, it will cook unevenly.

2. Create the spice mix

Peel the garlic and put the cloves into the blender. Add the oregano, cumin, black pepper, cloves, the chipotle chilies
into the blender as well. Juice the limes into it then add about half of the beef broth.
Blend until smooth-ish, but it doesn’t need to be super smooth. Any fibers will dissolve during the cooking anyway.
Check for saltiness, it should taste fairly salty and adjust if needed.
Pour the spice mix onto the beef in the pressure cooker, then add the rest of the beef broth.

3. Add the beans and water

Add the black beans and arrange them with a spoon so that they are evenly distributed. Add as much water to cover the
beef and the beens and then a little bit more. The beans will soak up some of the water and you don’t want your beef
to go dry, however if you add too much, you will want to boil it away in the end which will add to the cooking time.

4. Time to cook

Once everything is neatly arranged in the pressure cooker, close it and move it onto the stove. Start cooking on high
heat and gradually lower the temperature to medium as pressure builds up. Pay attention to the pressure level until
it stops increasing but not dropping. Once pressurized, cook for 70 minutes.

5. Final preparations

After cooking, turn off the heat, move the pressure cooker off the stove and let it cool down for about 10-15 minutes.
Once cooler, release the remaining pressure and open the lid. Check the water level. If it’s too dry, now you can
add some more and cook for another 10 minutes with an open lid. If too watery, cook without the lid until the level
is good.

Shred the meat with a fork and let it rest for ~10 minutes to soak up all the juices. Your beef is ready to serve!

6. Serving

I like to serve it with a Turkish style salad with tomatoes, onion and parsley, or salsa (pico de gallo) and pita bread.
You can also serve it with basmati rice instead of the bread.

Originally I found this recipe on here and adopted it to my own taste.