When you want to pack major flavor vibes into a beef taco in the easiest way possible, Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos are where it’s at! In this dish, chuck roast goes for a braise in a savory, beefy broth kicked up with chipotle peppers and a simple blend of spices.
The Mexican shredded beef comes out of the crockpot fork-tender and tortilla-ready! Pile the meat high on corn or flour tortillas, and top it all off with your favorite taco toppings!
This is a great recipe to turn to any time you need a low-stress, family-friendly meal on the table. There’s no chopping, the prep time is minimal, and the kids love this dinner just as much as the grown-ups!
MEXICAN SHREDDED BEEF VS. BARBACOA
Although this meat for these Shredded Beef Tacos copycats the flavors of barbacoa, it comes together a bit more like Mom’s Sunday pot roast.
An authentic barbacoa recipe includes a series of steps including the steeping of dried Guajillo chiles, marinating beef, a blended and strained sauce, and a slow braise.
This recipe, on the other hand, skips all the hard stuff and gets straight to the point with a flavorful mix of dried spices and pantry-found, power-house ingredients like canned chipotle peppers and fire-roasted tomatoes.
WHAT CUT OF BEEF DO I USE?
The best cut of meat for Shredded Beef Tacos is a chuck roast. When cooked correctly, this beef becomes so very tender, you can shred it with a fork, and it’s the perfect cut for making the best Shredded Beef Tacos!
HOW TO MAKE SHREDDED BEEF TACOS
Preparing the beef for this recipe is very simple. The following is a quick overview, and below, we’ll get into a little more detail.
- Prep | You’ll begin by patting the roast dry with paper towels, mixing your spices, and rubbing down the roast.
- Sear | Then, you’ll sear it on both sides in a large pan or Dutch oven.
- Sauce | Next, you’ll whip up a quick sauce on the stovetop, and into the crockpot it all goes!
- Cook | Once the beef is cooked, shred it, add it to a warm tortilla, and top it off with your favorite taco toppings.
1. MIX THE SPICES AND PREP THE ROAST
To start, pat away the excess moisture off the surface of the beef with a paper towel. Removing the exterior moisture will help you to get a better sear, and browned meat equals flavorful meat!
Then, it’s on to the spices. The spice mix for your Shredded Beef Tacos is used both to season the beef directly and to flavor the sauce. It consists of a flavorful blend of Kosher salt, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Combine all of the spices in a small bowl and then take half of the spices and rub them all over the beef. Next, rub the chuck roast down with all-purpose flour.
2. SEAR THE BEEF
You can’t get a good sear on your beef unless you get your pan and the oil good and hot first. Place the pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once the oil starts to appear as though it is shimmering, it’s ready for the beef!
Add the prepared chuck roast to the oil and allow it to sit, without moving or jostling around for 3 to 4 minutes. Then, flip and sear it on the other side as well.
Transfer the beef to your slow cooker and it’s on to the sauce!
3. ADD FLOUR AND BROTH
To make the sauce for your Shredded Beef Taco, you’ll use those flavorful browned bits left behind from the beef, and if the pan looks dry, you can add a tablespoon or so of more oil. Then, you’ll the remaining flour to the pan and whisk it until it is combined. Then, add your beef broth one big splash at a time, whisking well after each addition.
Once your broth is fully incorporated, add the remaining spices, canned tomatoes, and adobo sauce. Stir and pour the sauce over the beef in the slow cooker.
ABOUT THE MEXICAN BEEF GRAVY
If you’ve looked through other Mexican shredded beef recipes on the web, you’ll see many of them are gluten-free and come without the addition of flour. Here’s the reason for using it: Sauce.
If you love nothing more than a watery sauce that drips right off the meat come serving time, no flour is surely the way to go. On the other hand, if you like a sauce with a little more body, one that stays put and keeps that beef extra succulent from slow cooker to taco, flour’s your friend.
Bonus alert: It’s also a time-saver. Using a 1/4 cup of flour at the start of the recipe keeps you from having to waste time with a simmer/reduction at the end!
4. COOK, SHRED, AND SERVE
Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 6 1/2 to 8 hours on the low setting. The cook time may vary depending on how large your roast is. Once the beef easily pulls away with a fork, it’s ready for shredding!
Remove the beef, shred it into big bite-sized pulls, and return it to the crockpot. Stir it around until every shred is fully coated in the sauce and it’s time to serve!
HOW TO SERVE SHREDDED BEEF TACOS
There are lots of delicious ways to top off Shredded Beef Tacos, but, because this meat is so super savory and rich, Mexican Street Taco-style might be my favorite route.
Street tacos are served with simple toppings like sprigs of fresh cilantro, chopped white onion, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. The freshness and acidity of these combined ingredients brighten up the flavors of your beef and make for one seriously enjoyable eating experience.
On the flip-side, you could also pile your Shredded Beef Tacos high with guacamole, maybe a drizzle of creamy chipotle sauce for extra decadent vibes, and a pinch of Monterey Jack Cheese. In this rendition, the addition of pico de gallo would add both texture and acidity to your taco, taking it to heights of comfort food deliciousness!
Got beefy leftovers from your Shredded Beef Tacos? Perfect — this meat keeps deliciously. This shredded beef is so extremely versatile there are a ton of ways to use up any leftovers!
- Enchiladas | Use it to stuff some seriously beefy enchiladas! You could sub it in for ground beef in this Tex-Mex Enchiladas recipe topped with a savory Tex-Mex gravy.
- Quesadillas | If you need a quick-fix dinner, look no further than the quesadilla! Shredded beef will make a delicious substitute for pulled pork in this Pulled Pork Quesadilla recipe. And, if you plan to use it, I suggest excluding the BBQ Sauce as well!
- Nachos | This is another quick and easy dinner idea for those leftovers! Take out the fajita meat and sub in your leftover beef in this hearty nachos recipe!
Note, leftover shredded beef can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days. If you’d like to store your shredded beef for a time period beyond this, transfer it to a freezer-safe, gallon-sized zip-top bag, seal, and freeze for up to 2 months.
6 MORE TACO RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
With these Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos, there's no chopping and the prep time falls under 20 minutes! Chuck roast goes for a braise in a savory, beefy broth kicked up with chipotle peppers and a simple blend of spices. Pile the meat high on corn or flour tortillas, and top it all off with your favorite taco toppings! It’s an easy, family-friendly meal the kids will love just as much as the grown-ups!
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, separated
- 2 1/2 - 3 pound beef chuck shoulder roast
- 2 tablespoons canola or avocado oil
- 1 cup low-sodium or unsalted beef broth
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)
- 1 (14-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
- Flour or corn tortillas for serving
- Desired taco toppings
Pat away the excess moisture from the exterior of the roast using a paper towel, and combine all of the spices in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle the roast with half of the spice mixture. Rub it and pat the make sure it sticks. Then, sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of flour and rub that all over the roast as well. Set the roast aside.
Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to a large pan over medium-high heat and allow to come to temperature. Add the beef and sear for 3-4 minutes on each side, and transfer to the slow cooker.
Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour into the pan and whisk to combine. Add in the beef broth one big splash at a time, whisking after each addition. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 2 minutes, then add the remaining spices, adobo sauce, and crushed tomatoes.
Stir, remove from the heat, and carefully pour (or ladle) over the beef.
Cover and cook on the high setting for 4 hours or on low for 6 1/2 to 8 hours.
Shred the beef, return to the slow cooker, and stir.
To serve, add the beef to warmed tortillas and top with desired taco toppings.