Today I made a big batch of shredded beef as a “base recipe” for which I’ll provide various uses throughout the next week or two. This is a basic shredded beef with neutral, plain beef flavor, that will have other flavors added to it later on for each recipe. By keeping the flavor plain, I’ll be able to use this is Asian recipes, Tex-Mex recipes, or with any other flavor profile.
This is super simple to make and you can do it while you’re at work or even while you sleep. The shredded beef can then be frozen and quickly reheated for use in recipes any night of the week. Below I’ve provided cooking and freezing instructions. Shredded beef like this can be used for basic BBQ sandwiches, burritos, tacos, and more, but I’m going to post a few new ideas over the next week or two. Look for the first recipe using the shredded beef tomorrow!
Recipes Using Multi-Purpose Shredded Beef:
One word on portions – as with most of my meat recipes, I use meat in small portions combined with vegetables and grains to stretch it out across many servings. I estimate that I’ll use 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the shredded beef per serving in the future recipes. I’ll be freezing the beef in 2 cup portions, so that I can thaw/reheat one recipe’s worth at a time (or 4-6 servings of the beef).
Multi-Purpose Shredded Beef
multi-purpose shredded beef
- 4 lbs boneless beef rump roast ($17.91)
- 2 cups beef broth* ($0.30)
- Cut the rump roast into chunks approximately 3 inches each. This will allow the meat to cook evenly and come up to a safe temperature faster in the slow cooker. Place the beef into the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour the beef broth over the meat, place the lid on the slow cooker, and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. The beef should be so tender that it shreds with the slightest pressure of a fork.
- Pull the chunks of beef out of the cooking liquid and shred it with two forks. Divide the shredded beef into freezer safe containers (approximately 2 cups of shredded beef per container) and pour some of the cooking juices over top. The juices will help prevent the beef from drying and getting freezer burn while stored in the freezer. Refrigerate the beef until completely cooled before transferring to the freezer. Always label and date packages before freezing. Keep the beef in the freezer for up to three months for best flavor and quality.
- To reheat the beef, simply transfer it from the freezer container to a small pot and heat over medium-low until fully thawed and reheated. Strain the shredded beef from the cooking liquid and season according to the recipe it is being used in.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
Step By Step Photos
I bought this boneless beef rump roast because it was the least expensive (per pound) beef roast at my local store. Anything that is labeled “roast” is meant to be cooked long and slow to achieve a tender texture. Mine was about 3.75 pounds and yielded 7 cups of shredded beef. This will vary, of course, depending on how much fat your particular roast has.
Cut the roast into 3-inch chunks and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker. Cutting it into chunks allows the heat to distribute and cook more evenly than one large piece of beef. Don’t cut the chunks too small, though, so that your shredded beef isn’t in super small pieces. Also, I didn’t bother trimming the fat because that will mostly cook off into the juice, but you certainly could if you want to.
You’ll need two cups of beef broth to help keep the meat moist and act as a heat conductor. You can use any brand, but Better Than Bouillon is my fav.
Pour the broth over the beef and wiggle the pieces down so that they’re as submerged as possible. It’s okay if they’re not totally submerged, though.
Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or until the beef is EASILY shreddable with a fork. I checked mine at 4 hours and it was still a little tough, so I let it go for another hour. At five hours I barely had to touch it for the beef to shred into nice strands. You probably could cook it on low for 8 hours, although I always suggest cooking raw meat on high for at least one hour to make sure it comes up to a safe temperature quickly.
Pull the cooked beef chunks from the cooking liquid and shred them with a fork. Again, it should easily fall apart when pressure is applied with the fork. If not, put it back in the cooker and let it go for a little bit longer.
I divided my shredded beef into two cup portions because I estimate that’s what I’ll use for recipes with 4-6 servings. I then poured a cup or so of the cooking liquid back over the shredded beef to ensure that it stays moist while in the freezer. Make sure to cool the beef completely in the refrigerator before transferring it to the freezer, and always label and date frozen foods.
To reheat your frozen beef, simply transfer it to a small pot and heat over medium-low until it is fully thawed and reheated. You can also freeze the beef in quart-sized freezer bags and lay them flat as they freeze to make nice “bricks” of frozen beef. Then, just cut the bag away and place the contents in a pot to reheat.
Stay tuned for uses for your Multi-Purpose Beef! I’ll update this post with the recipes as the’re posted!
I just subscribed!
Has anyone tried this in an instant pot? Do you have any suggestions or a time for doing it in an instant pot?
I have some stew meat in my freezer (probably 1.5inch cubes) about 1.25 pounds… do you think I could do this similarly with that? I want to try your beef ragout recipe! yum!!
Yes, I bet that would work for this. :)
I want to make “roast beef ” salad sandwiches. So can I still freeze the shredded beef and then thaw to grind and add mayo for cold sandwiches. Most of this seems to be for heating up the frozen shredded beef when thawed.
I’m not sure about grinding and adding mayo, I’ve never seen that done to cooked meat before.
My roast is frozen; any suggestions? Can I just cook it longer or should I wait until it thaws?
Definitely thaw it first. It’s not a good idea to put frozen meat into a slow cooker (especially a large roast) because it will take far too long to come up to a safe cooking temperature in the slow cooker, which can be a food safety hazard.
I have made roast wrapped up with onion soup mix and baked it for 3 to 4 hours at 325..company praised the flavor! My son made beef sirloin two days ago in a dutch oven on top of the stove..simmered 5 hrs in broth..just giving you heads up on those ways too..shredded left over in soft shell tacos tonight .
Mine is still in the slow cooker but I feel like a genius for making these changes and wanted to share:
First, sear the meat chunks on all sides in a cast iron or whatever. Then, use the beef broth to deglaze the pan and put all that flavor in the slow cooker with the meat. Learned this from Beth on the tikka masala recipe. Thank you!
I was going to make this recipe, but a few of the links here are dead or lead to somewhere where I cannot find the recipe:
Hoisin Beef Tacos with Sweet & Sour Slaw-link is dead and I can’t find the recipe via search
(not) Philly Cheeseteak Sandwhiches-link leads to a round up that doesn’t mention the recipe
Were these removed? Are there any other good recipes using this beef?
Hi Andrea! We’ve since removed a few recipes from the site. But you can email us at email@example.com and we’ll get those for you!
I usually brown my meat before slow cooking it to give it more color and flavor. Now that a lot of people (including me) have various brands of multi-cookers that have both a saute/brown feature and a slow cook feature, it’s really easy to add that first step of browning. For those concerned about lack of flavor, you can spruce it up a bit with some sliced or chopped onion, or just leave it cut in half. For better oniony flavor, brown it with the meat.
Can I do this in oven bags in the oven
What temperature? 275 or 300
I’m sorry, I haven’t tried this in the oven, so I can’t advise. You might try Googling “slow cooker to oven conversion” to see if there is a chart with general time and temperature conversions to guide you.
can I make the shredded beef a week in advance and freeze for a picnic
You sure can. :)
this is the best recipe that i’ve been tried at home..salute for you!
Hi Beth, just found your site and love everything I’ve seen so far. Quick question, does this method and freezing option work for chicken and pork as well? Thank you in advance for your help!
Yep, it sure does! :)
I usually LOVE EVERYTHING on your site but this didn’t seem to have much flavor??? It was nice and tender but not very flavorful. I used it for the Philly sandwiches.
Hello. I mean to butt in but I just wanted to let you know the reason is plain tasting is because she specifically doesnt use any spices because she makes a large batch and then uses it in meals and spices it then
For instance maybe mexican spice for shredded beef burritos ….etc. It’s supposed to be plain so u an use it for different meals and add flavoring at that time
Hi Beth! Have you tried this in the Instant Pot yet? I haven’t used my Slow Cooker in months as I absolutely love everything that comes out of my Instant Pot :-D
Any idea on how long I should cook this in the IP?
I haven’t, but I’ve found that “slow cooked” meats work even a little better in the IP! I would just check the chart that is in the booklet that comes with the IP for the recommended cooking time for beef roast and go with that.