Every time I think/write/post about ‘slow cooker pulled beef‘, I seem to get the chorus to ‘Push It’ by the never-out-of-fashion (at least in my book), ‘Salt-N-Pepa.’ Except in my version, it’s “pull it, pull it real good,” which actually sounds incredibly filthy but hey, the mind imagines what the mind imagines. Side note; you know that car ad with the mum busting a move in the front seat and Salt-N-Pepa allegedly in the back seat? Is that REALLY Salt-N-Pepa? Or just actors who look like the original duo? Anyone know? I ponder this at least twice a week. I could Google it but as I don’t know the brand of car, it’s tricky and I frankly can’t be bothered. I’d rather be eating pulled beef, which, rather neatly, brings me back around to the topic of this post which isn’t in fact ’90’s Pop Band Trivia’ (makes mental note to write a post about that in the near future).
I make no bones about the fact that I am wholeheartedly on the pulled beef train. Pulled meat of any variety seems to be a ‘thing’ at the moment, food wise. Hell, our local bowling club now serves ‘pulled pork sliders’ and I’m telling you, if the Thirroul Bowlo is serving it, it’s moved beyond ‘trend’ and neatly into ‘suburban life.’ I wish I could say I’d been pulling for years but I haven’t. While my love affair with my slow cooker goes back a good few years (you can check out my fave Slow Cooker Butter Chicken and Slow Cooker Massamun Curry by clicking on the links), whacking a great big hunk of meat into it without it being part of a larger meal is something new to my kitchen. But I’m a convert. Oh Lord am I a convert. This is for two primary reasons:
1. It’s budget friendly – There are a numerous things I will compromise on but the quality of the meat we eat isn’t one of them. I would rather prepare something different than buy grain fed/commercial quality meats. I certainly don’t buy all organic, our budget doesn’t stretch to that, but I made the decision a while back that our meat would always be grass fed (organic where possible) and free range. By using a large piece of secondary meat (i.e. not steaks, prime cuts etc), I can afford to buy the good stuff. I also get a number of meals out of it so the cost is divided up by 3-4. I bought a large piece of grass fed blade roast last week for $18. It will have done us for 2 dinners + 1 lunch by the time it’s all gone.
2. It’s so easy – It truly is one of the easiest meals I have on regular rotation. I don’t think people believe how easy it truly is. Yes, you can certainly jazz things up with a spice rub or marinade and add things to the crockpot but if you’re running low on pantry staples (or have *ahem* drunk all the red wine), you can pretty much stick the meat in your cooker and switch it on. Seriously.
While the above could be construed as the recipe, I have put a little more effort in than that and written up my go-to, foolproof method PLUS a few ways I like to use my pulled beef after it’s done. Go forth and storm your local butcher for a piece of blade people, it’s worth it!
- Large piece of beef -1-1.5kg - Looks for cuts like blade, chuck or even brisket. The tougher the meat, the better. If you can find a piece with the bone in, definitely buy that. Bone marrow adds so much flavour.
- ½ cup boiling water
- 3-4 tbsp plain flour - I use wholemeal or white spelt
- 2 tbsp olive oil or cooking fat of choice - I sometimes use dripping
- 1 onion - sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic - peeled
- A good grind of quality salt - I use pink himalayan
- Combine flour and salt on a large dinner plate
- Add beef and coat well with flour/salt mix
- Slice onion and place in the slow cooker bowl
- Add garlic cloves
- Heat oil/dripping in a large frypan over medium heat
- Add the beef and brown on each side
- Transfer beef to the slow cooker and sit atop onion
- Pour ½ cup boiling water into the frypan
- Bring to the boil and scrape pan to remove any stuck on beefy bits
- Reduce heat and simmer till jus thickens a little
- Pour into the slow cooker
- Switch onto LOW setting and cook for 6-8 hours
- When finished, switch slow cooker to 'keep warm' or off.
- Peel fat off the top of the meat and discard
- Carefully transfer meat to a large bowl
- Use two forks OR electric mixer to shred and set aside
- Place a sieve over a small saucepan
- Scoop 1-2 cups of cooking juices out of the slow cooker and pour through the sieve into the saucepan
- Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer till sauce thickens
- Pour into the shredded beef and mix to combine
One of the best things about pulled beef is using it as a base for 8 billion other meals (seriously, 8 billion, I counted). I usually serve ours straight out of the cooker with crispy potatoes and a big green salad. I then use it in dishes like:
- Sweet Potato Shepards Pie
- Healthy enchiladas (I use the recipe at the link but just substitute the beef for the chicken)
- Chilli Con Carne
- Freaking delicious salad