This Mexican Shredded Beef has incredible depth of flavour! The sauce is really rich and thick, and there is PLENTY of it. Make this on the stove, in the oven or even slow cooker! This shredded beef is fantastic for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, sliders or just served on rice.
This took me a handful of goes to get right. Each batch makes a lot of beef – A LOT. I’ve been using them to make frozen burritos and my freezer has been packed to the max. I’ve been off loading them left, right and centre!
The infuriating thing about giving food to friends is that they always tell me they love it. Always! They claim they couldn’t tell the difference between batch #1 and batch #5, even though I probed them persistently to give me honest feedback. Honestly. They tasted completely different! How could they not tell? 😉
The thing I was struggling to get right was the strength of flavour. Beef has a much “meatier” flavour than pork so it requires stronger flavours to carry it. The sauce for this is very different from my Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Mexican Shredded Pork) (one of the most popular recipes on my bog, a must try if you haven’t already!) because pork doesn’t need such a thick, deep flavoured sauce.
Here’s a close up of the sauce. You can just tell by looking at it how gorgeously full of flavour it is, can’t you?!
This Mexican Shredded Beef is perfect for using for any number of Mexican dishes. I use it for tacos (this recipe), burritos (fully loaded freezer friendly recipe coming on Monday!), enchiladas, quesadillas and I also serve it on its own as well. In fact, you can use it for anything Mexican or Tex Mex dish that you make with shredded meats. You can check out my collection of Mexican shredded meat recipes here. (They are all made with Pork Carnitas, simply substitute with this Mexican Shredded Beef).
In this particular recipe, I’ve used it for tacos. A DIY spread of warmed taco-sized tortillas, a big pile of shredded beef, a quick Pico de Gallo, avocado, sour cream, and the sauce from the shredded beef served on the side. YUM!
So – who’s in the mood for MEXICAN tonight?! – Nagi x
PS This recipe makes loads. Freeze it! SO GREAT for having on hand for quick meals!
- 1 1/2 tbsp chipotle powder (Note 7)
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp All Spice powder (ground All Spice)
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp onion powder or garlic powder OR 1 tsp of each
- 1 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 lb / 1.5kg beef brisket (or chuck, gravy or any other slow cooking beef) cut into 2 or 3 large pieces
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion , diced (yellow, brown or white)
- 3/4 cup / 185 ml orange juice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 14 oz/400g can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups / 500 ml beef or chicken broth/stock
- Salt and pepper
Combine the Spice Mix ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons over the beef and pat so it sticks.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based pot over high heat. Add the beef (in batches if necessary) and cook so it is browned on all sides. Remove onto a plate.
Turn the stove down to medium. If the pot looks dry, add more olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until soft.
Add the orange juice and lime juice, and scrape the bottom of the pot so the brown bits mix into the liquid. Then return the beef into the pot, add the remaining Spice Mix, canned tomatoes, beef broth and enough water so the beef is mostly, but not completely submerged. (Note 1)
Put the lid on, bring to a simmer then turn the stove down so it is bubbling gently, not rapidly. Cook for 2 hours with the lid on, then 30 minutes with the lid off or until the beef is tender enough to shred. (Note 1) OR cook in slow cooker for 6 hours on low Or pressure cooker on high for 50 minutes.
Remove the beef and shred it with 2 forks. Leave the sauce to simmer with the lid off for 10 to 15 minutes to reduce and thicken to your taste. Adjust salt to taste. Optional: puree with stick blender to make it smooth (I did this for the photos).
To serve, toss the beef in the sauce - use as much as you want. Serve the extra sauce on the side.
To make tacos, serve the beef with warmed small tortillas, avocado slices, a simple pico de gallo (Note 2), shredded cheese, sour cream, lime wedges and extra cilantro/coriander leaves.
1. The cooking time will vary depending on what cut of beef you use, how heavy based your pot is (dutch ovens cook faster because they retain heat better) and also how thick your cut of beef is. This recipe is very forgiving so even if you leave it 1 hour too long, it will still be great! Check it at 2 hours and every 30 minutes thereafter to see if it is "shreddable" tender.
2. Simple Pico de Gallo - toss together diced tomatoes, finely chopped red onion, cilantro/coriander, lime juice, salt and pepper.
3. This makes enough for 20 - 25 tacos, 12 - 15 burritos (recipe coming next week for freezer friendly burritos). It is enough to serve 8 to 10 people.
4. To freeze or refrigerate, keep the sauce and beef separate. Reheat the beef in the microwave or in the oven (covered with foil), heat the sauce then toss. It's best to keep it separate because otherwise I find the beef gets quite soggy (especially when defrosting).
5. Slow Cooker - after deglazing the pot in step 4 with the orange juice and lime juice, pour the liquid and onions into the slow cooker and place all other ingredients (including the beef) into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 10 hours if beef is kept whole in 1 piece, or 6 hours if cut into 3 x 500g / 1 lb pieces per recipe. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan to reduce the sauce on the stove, as required by the recipe.
6. Oven - after completing step 4, cover and place in 325F/160C oven for 3 - 3 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender enough to shred. The liquid should reduce enough to make a thick sauce. If not, just simmer it on the stove until thickened to your liking.
7. Chipotle powder can be annoyingly difficult to find in Australia. 🙂 It is not sold in the major supermarkets (yet) but you can find it in fruit & veg stores, delis and gourmet/speciality stores. It does not cost much more than ordinary spices. If you can't track it down, I think the best substitute is 1/2 tbsp each SMOKED paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper.
8. Nutrition per serving, assuming 8 servings.
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