03 September 2009

Tender, juicy beef slow roasted all day in onions and Mexican spices. A great alternative to the usual ground beef popular on taco nights. I read several different recipes for this, but didn't find any specific one that I wanted to follow, so I made this up myself.

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef for Tacos

2 lb. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of as much fat as possible
½ large onion, diced
1 cup water

Rub taco seasoning into beef on all sides. Place onion in slow cooker. Pour in water. Place beef on top of onions. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove beef from slow cooker (carefully, it will be falling apart!), and shred with a fork. Remove contents of slow cooker and strain out the onions, reserving the liquid. Return beef to either the slow cooker or a saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Add onions and taste for seasoning. Add more taco seasoning if necessary. Add reserved liquid to keep beef from drying out.

Use as filling for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, taco salads, etc.

Makes about 4 servings.

Wow, this was so delicious and the best part is that it is even easier than browning ground beef. I find browning ground beef to be a big pain. Something gave me the idea of doing shredded beef for tacos instead of ground beef. I have had shredded beef in chimichangas in Mexican restaurants before and liked it better than the ground beef. So why not try it at home? Of course, I immediately thought of my lovely new slow cooker for the job.

Taco night is one of my favorite dinner nights. And it has always been an easy meal to prepare. But with the shredded beef, it's even easier. No browning ground beef. Just put the roast in the slow cooker in the morning, and eight hours later it will be ready to shred and eat. This is especially great for me because I often have taco night on the days I do my huge once-a-month grocery trip. I am usually pretty tired by the time I get home and I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to walk in the house and smell the wonderful aroma of cooked taco meat waiting for me. All I had to do was shred the meat, toast up the taco shells and tortillas, and put out the fixings. So great.

And it is so good! I liked it much better than the ground beef. Jim liked it as well, but he said he liked it "as much as" the ground beef. I would be perfectly happy making this for every taco night from now on. I did add some seasoning after I shredded it. I felt it needed a bit more heat, so I sprinkled in some of Penzey's Northwoods Fire seasoning. It's a chipotle blend.

Here are a few pics.

Rubbing the taco seasoning into the beef. How much seasoning you will need depends on the size and shape of the meat. I had 3 tbsp ready to use, but only used about 2 1/2 tbsp of it. And a bunch ended up on the board.

Beautifully cooked beef. The little piece on the right fell off while I was lifting it out of the slow cooker.

It shredded so easily. Usually you say "shred the meat with two forks", but this doesn't even require two forks. One will do the job. Actually, I think you could just look at this beef and it would fall apart!

Draining the liquid off the onions. A note about that: The recipe says to return the beef to either the slow cooker or to a pan on the stove. I used the stovetop. Here's the reason. I use disposable slow cooker liners in my slow cooker. It makes clean-up so much easier. I have a small sink and it is very difficult for me to clean my slow cooker crock. So the liners are a must for me. And it makes removing cooking liquid incredibly easy. I set up my colander over a bowl and lifted out the liner (it's like a plastic bag), and dumped it into the colander. I threw the liner away, and since I didn't want to dirty my crock, I put the beef into the pan on the stove. If you don't use a liner, and your crock is already dirty, then you might as well just put it back into the slow cooker to finish it up. Does that make sense? I'm really tired and am probably just babbbling now.

Please try this. It's so good and easy!

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  1. You always make me so hungry. It is hard to believe this recipe is easier than browning beef. That sounds like something I will need to try sometime. I love your adventurous spirit in the kitchen!

  2. Thanks, Joyful. What lovely comments! The kitchen is the only area in which I am the least bit creative. And I get bored easily, hence the obsession with trying new recipes! Thanks so much for reading, and let me know if you do try it.

  3. From Facebook:

    "Hey Lesa! I wanted to tell you that I finally tried the shredded beef tacos that you put on your blog a while ago. They were SO good!! After a whole day in the crock pot the meat was fall-apart tender...yum! I also can't wait to make up some new recipes with the leftover shredded beef (hello enchiladas!)."

    (Liz M.)