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taco essentials: shredded slow cooker beef

Recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

Looking for a slightly different way to make tacos… Well, here you go. Strangely enough, I got my first taste of these from a street vendor in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico. One bite and I was hooked. She wouldn’t give me the recipe; however, as I ate a couple of them, I watched as she prepped another batch, and got a fairly good idea of the ingredients involved. I would say that they are Mexican tacos with an oriental twist. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

yield 7 - 9
prep time 25 Min
cook time 6 Hr
method Slow Cooker Crock Pot

Ingredients For taco essentials: shredded slow cooker beef

  • 3 lb
    beef chuck roast, boneless
  • salt, kosher variety, to taste
  • white pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp
    grapeseed oil
  • 1 md
    yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp
    ginger, freshly minced
  • 4 clove
    garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp
    red chili paste
  • 1/4 c
    hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 c
    fresh clover honey
  • 1/4 c
    rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp
    sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp
    tamari sauce
  • 1 Tbsp
    fish sauce
  • 1 c
    chicken stock, not broth
  • 1 lg
    lime, zest, and juice

How To Make taco essentials: shredded slow cooker beef

  • 1
  • 2
    Chef's Note: This recipe was just born for a a good chuck roast. The marbling and flavor of this cut of beef are perfect, and the long slow cooking will make it fork tender.
  • 3
    Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  • 4
    Slice off any large patches of fat, and cut the beef into large cubes.
  • 5
    Add the grapeseed oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • 6
    Season the beef with some salt and pepper.
  • 7
    Add the beef in batches and cook until nicely browned, about 1 – 2 minutes per side.
  • 8
    Chef’s Note: Don’t crowd the pan or you will steam the meat instead of searing it.
  • 9
    Place the meat into the bowl of your slow cooker.
  • 10
    Reduce the heat of the pan to medium, and add the onions.
  • 11
    Sauté until they begin to soften, about 4 – 6 minutes.
  • 12
    Add the ginger and garlic, and stir until fragrant, about 60 seconds.
  • 13
    Chef’s Trick: Fonds, those yummy flavor bits that form on the bottom of your pan, essentially have a mind of their own. In Step 16, I tell you to use a wooden spoon to scrape up the fonds on the bottom of the pan. But, what if they begin forming earlier in the recipe? Like around Step 11 or 12… Use a trick that we use in professional kitchens. Keep a bit of water or stock close at hand, and if the fonds are threatening to go from yummy brown to burned black, splash a bit of liquid into the pan, scrape them up, and then continue on with the recipe. When it comes to timing, most recipes offer guidelines. The actual times will be determined by the BTU’s of your stovetop, and the heat that you are using. Most chefs understand this, and adjust accordingly.
  • 14
    Add the chili paste, hoisin sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, tamari sauce, and fish sauce to the pan, and stir to combine.
  • 15
    Chef’s Tip: Authentic chili paste is very spicy and hot, so if you have never worked with it before, you might want to go easy on that particular ingredient. The good news is that the heat of the paste will mellow considerably during the long cooking process. FYI: The paste that I am using is called: Gochu Jang.
  • 16
    Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits (fonds) that have developed on the bottom of the pan.
  • 17
    Add the ingredients to the slow cooker, along with the chicken stock.
  • 18
    Chef’s Note: I tried water, chicken stock, and beef stock. The water diluted the sauce too much, the beef stock was too heavy handed; however, the chicken stock was perfect.
  • 19
    Set the slow cooker to low, and cook for 5 or 6 hours.
  • 20
    After the allotted time, remove the beef from the slow cooker, and shred.
  • 21
    Chef’s Note: It should be fork tender and easy to shred. If it isn’t, return it to the slow cooker, and cook for an additional hour.
  • 22
    Remove the liquid from the slow cooker, and use a strainer to separate the solids from the liquid.
  • 23
    Return the shredded beef, and the solids to the slow cooker.
  • 24
    Add about 1/4 cup of the liquid back into the slow cooker, along with the zest and juice of 1 lime.
  • 25
    Allow the beef to slow cook on low for an additional 30 minutes.
  • 26
  • 27
    Serve with flour or corn tortillas, and your favorite toppings. Some toppings that come to mind are: lettuce, sour cream, black olives, diced onion, cotija cheese, guacamole, diced tomatoes... Enjoy
  • 28
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

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