Slow-cooked in homemade barbecue sauce and then shredded, this easy dish of pulled beef is wonderfully flavorful.
While often served in a hamburger bun, it's just as good when served in lettuce wraps!
This recipe was inspired by two of my family's favorite dinners - pulled pork and pulled chicken. Looking at the chuck roast in my fridge one morning, I thought to myself, why not try the same concept with beef? Combine the meat with homemade barbecue sauce and let them cook away in the slow cooker.
The resulting pulled beef is amazing - rich, flavorful, filling, and so comforting. I've been making it often. In the winter, it's wonderful over hot cauliflower mash. And in the summer, I love serving it in lettuce wraps.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
BBQ sauce: As mentioned above, I use my tried-and-tested homemade bbq sauce in this recipe. It's easy to make, requires no cooking, and it's delicious. But you can certainly opt for a store-bought sauce instead. My homemade sauce is made with tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, garlic and onion powders, smoked paprika, and a sweetener.
Beef chuck roast: One of my favorite cuts of beef. It's very flavorful, but it requires slow cooking or it's tough.
Making pulled beef is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by mixing the BBQ sauce in a bowl or a jar. It's very easy! Simply add all the ingredients and whisk to combine.
Next, place the meat in your slow cooker. Pour the BBQ sauce on top and use your hands to make sure the meat is well coated.
Cook the meat for 8 hours on LOW or for 5 hours on HIGH, until it's very tender.
Carefully remove the lid - hot steam will escape - and use two forks to shred the meat and mix it with the cooking juices.
For the best most tender results, cook the meat on LOW for 8 hours. If you need to cook it for a shorter time, 5 hours on HIGH is acceptable. I tried cooking it on HIGH for 4 hours and it wasn't tender enough to shred - so I do recommend 5 hours.
When buying the meat, try to select a well-trimmed piece, or ask the butcher to trim it for you. I've got nothing against fat (it's delicious!), but when making shredded meat, you don't want large pieces of fat in there.
Frequently asked questions
Chuck roast is a good choice for any recipe that requires slow cooking and shredding beef. Slow cooking makes it beautifully tender and since it's a fatty cut, it won't dry out during prolonged cooking.
It simply means shredded beef. You pull two forks away from each other, slowly and methodically shredding a cut of tender slow-cooked meat. So the term "pulled" refers to the technique used to shred the meat.
Yes, absolutely. That would obviously be the easiest choice. But do go over the ingredients list and make sure it looks ok - nice and short, and not too much sugar.
As mentioned above, you can use store-bought bbq sauce instead of making the homemade version.
You can also make this recipe with no bbq sauce at all. In fact, you can use this carnitas recipe with chuck roast, skipping the broiler at the end of cooking, and substituting a cup of beef broth for the orange juice.
Another great bed for this dish is mashed cauliflower. And you can also serve it on top of raw young spinach leaves. The warm sauce will wilt the spinach just enough to lightly cook it.
And as mentioned above, in the summer, I prefer to serve this dish in lettuce wraps, as shown in the photos.
Leftovers keep very well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Gently reheat them in the microwave, covered, on 50% power, to prevent splatters and also to prevent the meat from drying out.
Slow Cooker Pulled Beef
- 3 lb. beef chuck roast well-trimmed
- Place the meat in your slow cooker pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce ingredients.
- Pour the BBQ sauce over the meat. Use your hands to ensure the meat is well coated.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or on HIGH for 5 hours.
- Carefully remove the lid (hot steam will escape). Use two forks to shred the meat and mix it with the cooking juices. Serve immediately.
Add Your Own Notes
Nutrition per Serving
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