slow cooker spicy shredded beef

slow cooker spicy shredded beef | a flavor journal
I recently mentioned that I had debated between making barbacoa or pork carnitas for quite some time.  The pork carnitas tacos won out, but like … WHAT?!  BOTH of these recipes are SO good!  Why did I ever wait so long to attempt either of them?!  Rather than naming these barbacoa, I went with slow cooker spicy shredded beef.  It just seemed more fitting, but the ingredients are nearly the same as most barbacoa recipes I’ve seen.  And, of course, it is conveniently made in your slow cooker. 🙂 
 slow cooker spicy shredded beef | a flavor journal
For the slow cooker spicy shredded beef, I took a little of everything from various barbacoa recipes I found via the interwebs.  I tried a few different versions before settling on this particular one, which is a very straight-forward spicy beef recipe.  No underlying sweetness, no extreme heat, and minimal smoky flavor.  Just solid, versatile, spicy shredded beef.
 slow cooker spicy shredded beef | a flavor journal
This stuff has the potential to be the next greatest hit in your household.  We made quesadillas last night, and I instantly fell in love with the cheesy, meaty combination.  Normally, I cannot eat the same thing two nights in a row (ridiculous, I know).  But kind of like the pork carnitas tacos I made a couple of months ago, the slow cooker spicy shredded beef is something I could eat for maybe every single meal of the day.
 slow cooker spicy shredded beef | a flavor journal
The prep work is fairly simple, which is always a plus.  First, season the chuck roast with salt and pepper.  Be as liberal or cautious as you want with this.  Personally, I prefer more seasoning, but you can always adjust later if necessary!  Next, sear the chuck roast in a sauté pan over medium heat for a few minutes on each side.  Allow it to develop a nice, crispy brown exterior before moving on.  Once it is browned, gently place it into your slow cooker.  (I am still a HUGE advocate for these slow cooker liners if you haven’t tried them!)  Set the heat to low, and place the lid on the slow cooker.  In the same pan you used to brown the chuck roast, add veggies, seasonings, adobo sauce, apple cider vinegar, and beef broth.  
 slow cooker spicy shredded beef | a flavor journal
Let everything simmer together for a while before pouring it directly on top of the chuck roast into the slow cooker.
Now it’s time for the best part!  Set your slow cooker to “low” and walk away for eight hours.  *ta da*  Or, if you’re around, turn the roast over every few hours, so all sides get a chance to cook in the veggies and juice.  

slow cooker spicy shredded beef | a flavor journal : Chuck roast, chipotles, spices, and veggies simmer for eight hours in your slow cooker to make the BEST spicy shredded beef for dinner!

After eight hours, the spicy beef should shred apart easily.  You know when you visit a restaurant, and the shredded beef is so thinly shredded that it’s basically just tiny shreds of succulent meat that nearly melt in your mouth?  Consider this slow cooker spicy shredded beef to be the thing restaurant dreams are made of.  It should shred with ease once it’s fully ready, and shredding it in the slow cooker allows the shreds to absorb a little more juicy flavor.
I’ve got at least a pound and a half of this stuff left in my refrigerator.  Looks like more quesadillas are in my future and I CANNOT WAIT.

[my additional tips!]:

Actual Prep / cook time:  8 – 9 hours

Clean-up difficulty:  1 (if you use the slow cooker liners!)

Overall difficulty to make:  2

Overall satisfaction:  9.5

Price range?  This dish is under $10 for 2-3 lbs. of spicy shredded beef.

What I would change next time?  Nothing!

For your own version, I recommend:.

  • Double the amount of beef broth if you don’t use beer.
  • Ideally, turning the beef over in the slow cooker every couple of hours is best 🙂  

© 2016 : a flavor journal : by sara alvord
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

slow cooker spicy shredded beef

Chuck roast, chipotles, spices, and veggies simmer for eight hours in your slow cooker to make the BEST spicy shredded beef for dinner!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: spicy shredded beef
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 315kcal
Author: sara rose : a flavor journal


  • 2 - 2.5 lbs. chuck roast
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup white onion chopped
  • 1 cup tomato chopped
  • 1/3 cup green pepper chopped
  • 1/3 cup red pepper chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. jalapeno minced
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup beer I used an IPA (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 chipotle peppers chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne


  • Place a large sauté pan over medium heat on the stove top. Add olive oil once pan is warmed.
  • Season both sides of the chuck roast with salt and pepper.
  • Cook each side of the chuck roast for 3-4 minutes in the saute pan, until browned.
  • Transfer roast to slow cooker.
  • In same pan, over medium heat, add green and red pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften.
  • Add onion and tomato, cook another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add jalapeño and garlic, cook 1-2 minutes (garlic will be fragrant).
  • Season veggies with salt and pepper (a pinch or two).
  • Add beef broth, IPA, and apple cider vinegar. If you omit the beer, simple add another 1/4 cup of beef broth.
  • Add chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and seasonings. Stir everything together until well blended.
  • Heat pan to medium-high heat, and allow the sauce to come to a quick boil. Let it boil for 1-2 minutes, then turn heat back down to low.
  • Once the contents stop simmering, transfer them directly on top of the chuck roast in the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for eight hours, or until easily shreddable.
  • After eight hours, shred the beef directly in the slow cooker. Allow it to absorb as much of the juicy contents of the slow cooker as possible.


For extra flavor, heat a sauté pan to medium-high heat, and cook the shredded beef for about one minute before eating. (This makes it a bit crispier and not as juicy!)


Calories: 315kcal

check the "about me" page for more information on Sara.
    • Sara
    • August 18, 2016

    Sara, this looks amazing! I can’t wait to try this combination of flavors. When I get my family together there’s 10 of us. I get teased because I never make enough food for my big eaters. This recipe should do the trick!

    1. Reply

      I hope it does!! You have to let me know how it goes!

  1. Reply

    This looks so good. All the flavors look like they would meld beautifully! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Reply

      My pleasure, Elaine! Thank you for checking it out!

  2. Reply

    Shredded chicken is a staple in our house, but this looks like a delicious way to change things up! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Reply

      Let me know what you think, Scott! Thank you for stopping by!

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