This slow cooker shredded beef recipe has a hint of citrus flavor and a unique spice blend. This shredded beef is healthy and perfect for meal prep with only 5 minutes of hands-on time. Just throw all the ingredients into a crockpot and enjoy later. Use it in all your favorite recipes from tacos to lunch bowls.
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📖Why This Recipe Works
Large tough cuts of meat benefit from the slow cooking process. As the beef cooks at a low temperature, the connective tissue breaks down and the fat renders off. The result is a delectable au jus sauce and beef that is easily pulled apart.
Instead of heavy sauces and seasonings, I kept the seasonings light so you can use this recipe in new ways. This mouth-watering beef recipe has citrusy Caribbean-inspired flavors that meld well with Asian, American BBQ, and Mexican-inspired dishes.
These delicious flavors stand on their own but also make a great base for so many options. We especially love it on lettuce wraps with shredded carrots, radishes, and the easiest Sweet Potato Nachos.
This versatile recipe doesn't have any added sugar and is naturally gluten-free. It is also AIP, Whole30, and paleo-friendly.
Beef Roast- When making shredded beef it is best to use an inexpensive cut of meat like a beef chuck roast, shoulder, or blade roast.
You can also use beef brisket which is one of the best cuts of meat but is also more expensive. With a little more fat on it, it will be amazing in flavor. You can also use short ribs.
You will want something in the 2-3 lbs range with good marbling. I prefer grass-fed beef from Butcher Box.
Citrus- This recipe uses both zest and juice of one lime and one orange.
Aromatics- For the aromatics, I use white onion and garlic. You can use yellow onion or red onion if you like.
Spices- This recipe uses kosher salt plus a few spices to get that quintessential Caribean flavor. We use ground cinnamon, ground ginger, dried thyme leaves, and a few whole cloves. You can add up to 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.
⏲️How to Make Shredded Beef
Depending on the size of your crockpot you may need to cut down the beef into small chunks to fit it in.
Step 1- Combine
Mix the salt and spices in a small bowl and set aside.
Put the beef roast in the crockpot. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and citrus zest. Sprinkle over the spices.
Add in the lime juice and orange juice. You need about ⅔ cup of liquid in total. Add beef stock or water if needed.
Cook on low heat until beef is fall-apart tender. This takes about 6 hours.
Step 2- Shred
Using tongs move the beef to a serving platter. Use two forks to shred the beef. Spoon over the onions and pour on enough of the juice from the crockpot to keep the beef moist but not soaking wet.
Do not forget to pick out the whole cloves.
I don't bother to sear the meat first unless I decide to make this in the oven, like a braise. Speaking of which let's do some quick oven directions.
How to Make Shredded Beef in the Oven
In a large heavy bottom roasting pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the beef roast with salt and pepper, if using. Sear the meat on each side until brown, 6 to 8 minutes a side.
Deglaze the pan with the citrus juices, add the remaining ingredients, and cover. Bake in the oven at 325 F degrees for 3 hours. Check every hour and add more water as necessary.
Shred the beef the same as above. Return the shredded meat to the broth.
🥗What to Serve with Shredded Beef
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
When seasoning the pulled beef follow the recipe and make adjustments at the end. As the sauce cooks it will become more intense in flavor.
The recipe only gets better the next day. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
The beef can be frozen for up to 3 months. Store in a zip-top bag or another plastic container. Thaw out in the fridge overnight.
The beef can be reheated in a skillet with a little of the liquid over medium heat. Or zap in a microwave at 50% power until warmed through.
More Easy Dinner Recipes
We have a whole recipe box of quick and easy weeknight dinners. Here are a few that I love!
💬Frequently Asked Questions
The best cut of meat is a tough roast cut like a chuck roast but there any many different cuts you can use. As beef slowly cooks the tissues break down allowing you to shred the meat into long flavorful pieces.
Yes, shredded beef is just another way to say pulled beef.
While not ideal, you can substitute dried spices for fresh produce. Use a ½ teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 tablespoon of onion powder.
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📖 Printable Recipe Card
Citrus Shredded Beef (Crockpot)
- Place all ingredients in a crock pot on low heat for 6-8 hours.2-3 lbs beef roast, 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, 1 lime, 1 orange, 1 small onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, 5 whole cloves
- Once beef is falling apart tender, remove the beef and drain the broth. Shred the beef with a fork. Be sure to pull out the cloves! Add back enough broth to keep it moist but not wet.
- You need between ½ cup and ⅔ cup total liquid. If the lime and orange aren't juicy you may need to add up to an additional ¼ cup of liquid. You can use beef broth or water/
- Depending on the shape of your roast and the crock pot size you may need to cut the beef into large chunks.