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Pan fried sweet Plantains topped with spicy Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef, smashed avocado, and pickled onions… all Whole30, Paleo, and Gluten Free. Make it as an appetizer or serve for dinner. Crock Pot / Slow Cooker Adaptation included!
Easy Barbacoa Beef & Plantains
I’m officially naming these Whole30 Barbacoa Beef and Plantain Sliders “Party Bites,” because (and I haven’t said this since like 9th grade), it’s like a party in your mouth! The sweet, crispy, creamy fried plantain slices are topped with ultra tender spicy Barbacoa beef, a little smashed avocado, and super bright sugar-free pickled onions.
They’d be a great gluten free, Paleo or Whole30 appetizer for your picnic or backyard cookout, but I’m just eating them as my dinner tonight. And let’s be honest, any leftovers will be definitely be tomorrow’s breakfast.
But first, did you check out my 4 Week Whole30 Meal Plan with weekly grocery lists? No? Then do that real quick. I’ll wait!
A Whole30 NSV!
Now I never thought I’d say this, but one of my coolest things about Whole30 is how it makes you learn to really love leftovers, even for breakfast! When you start thinking about your meals just as meals 1, 2, and 3, and not strictly in terms of what you’d traditionally see for each meal, life becomes soooo much easier!
Eggs are great for dinner, and dinner leftovers become the perfect breakfast! I guess it makes sense for me, though. Before Whole30, I used to love to have cold, leftover pizza for breakfast the next day.
Now I love eating leftover beef and plantains (cold, too!). Does that make me weird? I hope not! Don’t worry, I eat regular breakfasts too (like my Prosciutto Egg Cups).
Back to the recipe!
I used to only use my slow cooker for recipes like this, because that’s what I had. But ever since I got my Instant Pot, I tend to use that more…. because I’ve kind of turned into an Instant Pot fan-girl. Don’t get my wrong, I love my slow cooker too, but my pressure cooker is the absolute best time-saver in my life right now.
Don’t worry, even though my poor crock pot has been benched for a while, I’ve included a slow cooker adaptation to the recipe below.
Do you want more Barbacoa Goodness?
Of course you do! I mean, honestly, what’s not to love when it comes to this fall-apart tender beef, spiced to total perfection?
Hop over to check out my copycat Instant Pot Chipotle Barbacoa Beef Salad Bowls recipe! They’re seriously SO GOOD and really, really simple!
And please make sure you make my Whole30 Pickled Onions recipe for this. So many pickled onion recipes call for added sugar, but you do NOT need it! They’re a total staple in my home, the best and easiest condiment in my Whole30 arsenal, and so many people have told me that they love them too!
Tips for Choosing your Plantains:
Okay, now back to this recipe! Fried plantains are absolutely unbelievable! Are you as obsessed with them as I am? If you haven’t made them yourself yet, I highly recommend dropping whatever you’re doing and going to the grocery story and to buy yourself some plantains. Seriously! They’re so simple!
Just quickly pan fry them to perfection and enjoy as a sweet Whole30 snack or side dish to any meal. They’re one of my favorite things all by themselves, so you know as I was making dinner last night, a few plantain slices were quickly fried, sprinkled with salt, and dipped in salsa. I had to crack open a Coconut Lacroix, too!
- Wait until your plantains go from green to yellow to pretty much completely brown/black before you fry them.
I like to wait until the plantains are totally black with almost no spots of yellow, because then they’ll be ultra ripe and sweet, soft enough on the inside to only require a quick pan fry. It’s the same concept behind why you want to wait until your bananas are brown when you bake banana bread.
Note: Green plantains are great too, but they’re starchier and need to be cooked a second time. If you want a more savory vessel, just do a google search for “Whole30 Tostones” or for a tutorial!
How to Make Barbacoa Beef in the Slow Cooker:
- Place roast in slow cooker (I prefer to brown it on all sides in a large pan first, but a lot of people skip this step and its just fine!).
- Mix together garlic, cumin, oregano, broth, lime, salt and pepper. Add in 2 to 3 tbsp. of diced chipotle peppers (or substitute 2-3 tbsp. chipotle in adobo, but check the label!).
- Pour the mixture over roast in slow cooker.
- Cover and set to low. Cook for 6-7 hours, until the beef is fall-apart tender.
- Remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred in a bowl with two forks. Set aside any tough fatty pieces and return the shredded meat to the slow cooker
- Allow to cook together for an additional 15 minutes.
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Nothing makes me happier than seeing my recipes on your plates, so if you make my Barbacoa recipe, will you let me know?
Drop a comment below or tag me on Instagram @cookathomemom!
Fried Plantain and Barbacoa Beef Sliders
- 1 2 lb chuck roast
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1.5 tbsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 lime juiced
- 3 tbsp. diced chipotle peppers If fresh isn’t available, use canned chipotle in adobo (watch for added sugar)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3 tbsp avocado oil
- 2 plantains very ripe
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp ghee
- pickled onions
- 1 avocado smashed
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro
- 1 lime sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
Cook the Barbacoa Beef
- Pat your roast dry with a paper towel and season on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode, heat about 3 tbsp of oil, and brown the roast for about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Add in all the other ingredients, cover, and set to High Pressure for 70 minutes. Allow for a Natural Pressure Release. Remove the beef from the Instant Pot and set it in a large bowl.
- With forks, pull the tender beef apart, setting aside any large fatty pieces. Add the meat back into the Instant Pot and set to Saute mode. Bring to a simmer and cook together for about 3-4 minutes, stirring. Keep warm until you're ready to eat.
Make the Fried Plantains
- Peel and slice the plantains into 1/4 inch slices.
- In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil and ghee over medium heat.
- In batches, add the plantain slices to the skillet and pan fry for about 1 – 1.5 minutes per side. They should gently release when they're ready to be turned (they should be golden brown).
- Flip the plantains and cook for an additional 1 – 1.5 minutes. Remove them from the pan and set on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with salt.
Assemble the sliders
- Slice the lime and cilantro. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and smash the flesh with a fork.
- Assemble the sliders by topping each plantain slice with a bit of smashed avocado, Barbacoa beef, and sliced pickled onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, a little cilantro and a squeeze of lime!
-Mix together garlic, cumin, oregano, broth, lime, salt and pepper. Add in 2 to 3 tbsp. of diced chipotle peppers (or substitute 2-3 tbsp. chipotle in adobo, but check the label!).
-Pour the mixture over roast in slow cooker.
-Cover and set to low. Cook for 6-7 hours, until the beef is fall-apart tender.
-Remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred in a bowl with two forks. Set aside any tough fatty pieces and return the shredded meat to the slow cooker.
-Allow to cook together for an additional 15 minutes.
And sure to check out some of my other Appetizer recipes, like these Whole30 Big Mac Potato Skins! They’re always a hit!