I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but my mom bought me a really nice slow cooker several years ago. And I let it sit in the box, unused, for months. Shame. Sad, sad, shame.
It’s not that I ever intend to become the kind of person who sets the slow cooker every morning. I enjoy the smells, sights, creativity, and processes of cooking too much. But your slow cooker can be such a helpful tool and a gateway to rich, deeply savory dishes.
Case in point, this carne deshebrada. With minimal prep work the day before, cutting one onion, and stirring a few things together, you’ve got the filling for your favorite Mexican dishes ready to go. Tacos, nachos, burritos, bowls–your imagination is the only limit. Just be sure you also make a batch of these super simple and quick pickled onions to take whatever you choose to the next level.
Plus, shredded meat from the slow cooker freezes so well. In fact, I doubled this recipe (which fit into my 7-quart slow cooker) and increased the cooking time to six hours to make sure I would have several servings the day of and a whole bunch more to freeze. I’ve got lots of slow cookers recipes I do this with including slow cooker Tex-Mex chicken, tacos al pastor, Greek beef ragout, and the pulled pork my friends and I make at the beach every summer.
I’d say it was a good decision.
Let your slow cooker do the work with this savory, versatile, and completely satisfying carne deshebrada (Mexican shredded beef) recipe. ¡Qué sabrosa!
Carne Deshebrada (Mexican Shredded Beef)
adapted from The Little Epicurean
2 TBSP dried ancho chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1/2 tsp. dried cinnamon
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 lb. boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-in. cubes
12 oz. full-bodied lager or beer
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP tomato paste
6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-in. thick rounds
1. In a small bowl, mix together ancho powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, salt, and black pepper. Pour over beef cubes and toss to coat evenly. For best results, wrap meat up tightly in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag with the air pressed out and refrigerate at least two hours, up to overnight.
2. In the bottom of a slow cooker, whisk together beer, vinegar, tomato paste, and garlic. Scatter onion rounds into the slow cooker, creating a base to keep the beef from scorching on the bottom. Layer the beef on top and push down slightly to make sure it is covered by the liquid.
3. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours, until beef easily shreds.
4. Using tongs or two forks, shred beef into bite-sized pieces. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve in tacos, breakfast tacos, taco salad, nachos, quesadillas, burritos, or anything else your heart desires.
yield: 8 servings