Tasty Meat Warning: Only make this dish if you enjoy extremely tender, juicy shredded beef. If you’d rather have dry, tough meat, this recipe is not for you.
I began this delicious journey when Mister chose a DIY Nacho Bar for our big Super Bowl entree. I found this recipe for barbacoa on Serious Eats and used it as a guide. Although Serious Eats says to braise the beef for 4 hours at 275, I made my own version of a sauce and braised it in my oven at 250 degrees F for 6 hours instead. The roast was tough and not at all what I expected it should be. I plopped the roast and the sauce with some additional water into a crock pot and let it cook slowly for another 4 hours. The results were unbelievable. The beef was moist and fell apart to the touch.
Now, I’m no food scientist but I don’t think the time my beef braised in the oven vs the time in my crock pot really made a difference overall. At any rate, my beef was slowly braising for a long period of time no matter its location. I think the crock pot would have been just fine.
So this is how I made the best barbacoa I have ever eaten in my lifetime. It’s great for nachos, tacos, burritos or just for eating. This recipe is a new favorite in our household!
3 chipotle chilis packed in adobo, roughly chopped, with 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fish sauce
3.5-4 pounds beef chuck roast
Salt and Pepper
2 whole bay leaves
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown all sides of the beef for 3-4 minutes on each side (or until color forms). This will add a ton of flavor to your beef. Remove the beef and place it in your crock pot.
In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and heat along with onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until deep brown in color, about 8 minutes. Add cumin, cloves, and oregano and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chipotle chilis, vinegar, and remaining chicken broth. Scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pan then transfer entire contents to the jar of a blender. Add the fish sauce and start blender on low and slowly increase the speed to high. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into the crock pot.
Add the bay leaves and enough water to mostly cover the beef. Set to high heat for 1 hour, then reduce heat to low for 7-9 more hours, or until the beef can be easily pulled apart with a fork. Make sure to add more water if necessary. Remove the beef and shred in a container, add enough juice from the crock pot to cover the beef and serve. This will keep in the fridge for days. You can also freeze individual bags of the beef too for easy meals later on.
I absolutely love chicken tortilla soup and had a craving for it the other night. I only had ground beef in my freezer and decided to try The Country Cook’s Taco Soup recipe out to satisfy my craving. This soup turned out surprisingly tasty. It’s almost like a Mexican take on chili. Plus you just dump everything into your crock pot and forget about it until the smell drives you INSANE and you can’t resist eating a spoonful …or six.
The original recipe calls for ground beef but I think ground turkey is a fine substitute if you are looking to cut down on the fat. The spices will make up for the leanness (and sometimes blandness) of the turkey meat. I’m also tempted to try this with shredded chicken next time too. Yum!
If you’re looking to cut down on the heat, buy canned tomatoes without the green chiles. If you want added heat, add a dash of cayenne or a diced jalapeno to your pot.
In a pan, brown and crumble ground beef or turkey along with diced onion (season with a pinch of salt & pepper). Drain excess grease.
Put meat and onion mixture in slow cooker. Add in diced tomatoes, corn, pinto beans, beef broth and water. Stir in packets of ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning. Give it all a good stir and set on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Serve with toppings such as crushed corn tortilla chips, sour cream, Mexican cheeses and chopped green onion.
I had a craving for tacos the other day but I wanted to try a lighter alternative to your typical, high-fat taco shell. BAM! This lettuce taco wrap was born. Just like when you add shredded lettuce to any taco, the lettuce adds a fresh, crispness to the otherwise heavy ingredients. Mind you, these aren’t “walking tacos” in the sense that they aren’t finger-licking messy. Depending on your lettuce, you may need one or two pieces to keep everything in there. Keep lots of napkins handy!
What’s the benefit to using pieces of lettuce as your shell? You don’t feel as heavy after eating one. So do what I do, and have two or three or even more. Plus, I always say that anything messy is just plain tasty.
In college, I lived right across the street from this great Chinese restaurant called Jade Dragon. At the time I didn’t have a kitchen, so the Jade Dragon was a staple in my weekly diet. They had one of those typical lunch specials – where you get a cup of soup and an egg roll with your order – but it was their crispy orange beef that really did it for me.
This is a tribute to that sweet, tangy, mildly spicy dish.
Now if only I had those little to-go containers and a fortune cookie!
1 pound round beef or sirloin, sliced very thinly (1/4-inch or so)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons or more corn starch
4 tablespoons white sugar
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tablespoon oyster sauce, optional
1 teaspoon sesame oil, optional
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/4 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil for frying
The day before: Place the sliced beef in a bowl and sprinkle the baking soda over the top. Mix it with your hands until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. This will tenderize your meat.
The day of: Rinse the beef thoroughly with cold water to remove the baking soda. Pat dry and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, rice vinegar, orange juice concentrate, oyster sauce, sesame oil (if using), salt and soy sauce. Set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or medium skillet over medium-high heat. Toss dried beef in cornstarch to coat. Fry in hot oil in small batches until crispy and golden brown; set aside. Drain all the oil from your pan except 1 tablespoon.
Add orange zest, ginger and garlic to the remaining oil, and cook briefly until fragrant. Add the soy sauce mixture to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes (the bubbles will be large and 1-1/2-inches away from the edge of your pan when it is ready). Add the beef and heat through, stirring to coat. Serve immediately over steamed rice and vegetables.
We have this local butcher shop where I love to go and browse their case of fresh cut meat. If you’re a carnivore, this place is irresistible. I typically go there with every intention of browsing and find myself shoveling out my week’s allowance to buy beautifully marbled steaks or loins of lamb.
I may be due for an intervention.
During my last trip to the shop I met a very nice gentleman who was waiting for the butcher to cut his selections this way or that. He asked me about my non-existent husband whom I played off as if he were busy working. As we continued waiting for our orders (and my dream of being a stay at home cook rattled in my brain), he pointed out several cuts of meat to me.
“I am in here at LEAST twice a week. My favorite thing over here you ask? Why, the tri tip of course. It’s underrated in my opinion. Slow cook that thing and it’ll be the best thing you’ll ever eat.”
Yes-siree-bob, I added tri tip to my order as well. I had the butcher cut four pounds of the stuff in half, went home, and slow cooked the heck out of ’em. Two ways!
My first method involved browning the outside of the meat, seasoning and roasting it in the oven (on low) over the course of many hours. The tri tip turned out flavorful but tough. I was not satisfied. I readied my second chunk of tri tip for a slow, low simmering bath. I made sure the entire roast was covered in broth and let it do it’s thing while I was at work. Man, do I ever love that smell. You know, the smell where you come home after a long day at work, ready to ice your dogs and kick back and enter a home full of aromas so good that you want to lick the air.
This method of cooking turned out perfect. The meat was tender, moist and super flavorful. This recipe is a new “set it and forget it” favorite for me.
2-3 pounds of tri tip or beef rib meat (leave the bone on during cooking then remove before eating to give your broth a flavor bonus)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon or so of butter
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper, as desired
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
3 or 4 carrots, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh sage
3 cups beef or chicken broth
1/2 to 3/4 cup of red wine, reserve for sipping
Pat the meat dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper then dredge in flour. Heat the oil and butter in a large pot. Add the meat and brown on all sides over medium heat. You really don't want to cook your meat. You're just giving it some color. Remove the meat from the pot and place on the side.
Add the onions, carrots and celery (if using) and saute for a couple of minutes while stirring occasionally. You may need to add another tablespoon of oil if your pan seems too dry. Pour in the wine and scrape the yummy browned bits on the bottom of your pan as the wine evaporates. Place your meat back into the pot then add your broth, Worcestershire sauce, more salt and pepper (I recommend more pepper than salt just because the wine has a lot of salt in it already) until your meat is mostly covered. Place your fresh sprigs of herbs lightly on the top. Bring your pot to a boil then allow it to simmer, covered, for at least 3 hours (I prefer to leave mine overnight for a good 6-8 hour simmer - crock pots work great for this).
Make sure you check your roast from time to time. Try not to disturb your roast by doing so (no flipping please) but check to see if there is enough liquid to cover the meat. Add more if there isn't. Remove your sprig twigs and any bones before serving.
The broth is pretty darn good as-is, but if you're an au jus person like I am, I recommend taking some of your broth from the crock pot and placing it in a small pan. Cook the stock over medium heat until it reduces by half. Add more pepper, salt and thyme. Drench your entire plate in it or serve it on the side. Yum!
Please note: The top recipe image does not belong to me. This image belongs to Running Upward. Thank you for taking such a nice picture of your tri tip pot roast where I failed to do so myself. She added feta and sun-dried tomatoes to her pot roast too. Yum!