Best Cut Of Beef For Pulled Beef


Are you looking for the Best Cut Of Beef For Pulled Beef? If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this article I will tell you about the best cuts of beef for pulled beef that’s tender and delicious.

The most important part of pulled beef is what you select as the cut of beef. This depends on whether you want it to be soft or chewy. You can also add a twist with a bourbon or tequila glaze.

5 Best Beef Roast For Shredding: What Cuts Of Beef Roasts Make The Best Shredded Beef?

Fresh Brand – Beef Chuck Center Roast, USDA Choice, Boneless, 2 lb
Chuck Roast by Nebraska Star Beef - Prestige-Hand Cut and Trimmed,...
Beef Loin Top Sirloin Steak Pasture Raised Step 4
Beef Loin Tri Tip Roast Pasture Raised Step 4

When it comes to making a delicious and easy meal, there is nothing like shredded beef from a beef roast.

There are different cuts of beef roasts that are perfect for shredding, which will be unraveled in this article.

Let’s check it out!

How to choose beef roast for shredding?

Shredded beef, or pulled beef, is a versatile dish that can go well in many recipes.

However, the key is you can find the right cut of beef for shredding so that the result will be tender, juicy, and flavorful.

So let’s figure out what are the tips to choose the best beef roast for shredding:

1. Choose a tough cut with a good fat content

To have shredded beef, the beef cut is often slow-cooked, commonly roasted until the meat reaches a fork-tender perfection.

A tough cut with a lot of connective tissue will be tenderized after a long cooking time, while the marbling fat will help moisten the meat and add more flavor.

2. Consider buying grass-fed beef, and always buy fresh beef

Grass-fed beef is considered superior to regular grain-fed beef.

A cow that is fed a healthy and organic diet will produce higher-quality beef meat.

The texture of the beef is firmer but becomes more tender if properly cooked, and the taste is more flavorful.

The most important thing is that this kind of beef is free of antibiotics and hormones.

Moreover, fresh beef is always the top choice when it comes to making any dish, including roasting for shredding.

Frozen beef is often less expensive than its fresh counterpart but just pay a little more, the result is going to be worth the price.

Best beef roast for shredding

There are some cuts of beef that are considered roast cuts because they are meant to produce a perfect roast dish.

The suggestions below will give you some of the best options of beef roast for shredding that you can easily find in a local butcher shop, grocery store, or supermarket:

1. Chuck roast

Chuck roast is a classic cut for roasting and making pulled beef.

The reason is that it has a lot of connective tissues and a perfect marbling fat content that will help keep the meat juicy during cooking.

Don’t forget to season your chuck roast cut with your favorite seasoning so that the shredded beef will not only melt in your mouth but also be very flavorful.

2. Rump roast

Rump roast is a meaty cut that comes from the hindquarter of the cow.

The muscle in a rump roast just does little work, therefore, it is not too tough or too tender, which can become very tender after being slow-cooked, but doesn’t require a lot of time.

A rump roast is also prized for its flavorful taste, making it perfect for shredding.

3. Brisket

You can also opt for a brisket cut to make pulled beef.

Brisket is taken from the breast area of the cow, and it has a relatively tough texture with a sufficient amount of fat.

Although brisket is traditionally used for making corned beef and pastrami, it can be great for slow-roasting and making shredded beef.

4. Top sirloin roast

One of the affordable but tasty cuts you can buy is the top sirloin roast.

You will be pleasantly surprised by how flavorful it is.

At a reasonable price, you can have a delicious roast dish from the top sirloin roast cut to serve as the main course with some salads and gravies or to be pulled apart to serve with tacos or burgers.

5. Tri-tip roast

Our last recommendation of cut for shredding is a tri-tip roast.

This small cut is taken from the bottom of the sirloin and has a triangle-like shape, hence the name.

Due to the small size, a tri-tip roast only takes minutes to be cooked in a pan or oven.

The lower fat content but still enough to make the meat flavorful from the tri-tip roast will definitely satisfy even the pickiest eater.

The bottom line

There are several roast cuts, from the chuck to the rump that gives you a lot of options to choose from when it comes to making pulled beef.

These tough cuts will become tender and easy for shredding after being slow-roasted.

The result can be served in different recipes, such as burgers, tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.

Best Pulled Beef Recipe

What is Pulled Beef?

Often overlooked in the barbecue world is the cousin to pulled pork, pulled beef. Pulled beef has all the tender, shredded, juicy, smoky goodness of pulled pork with the bold beefy flavor we love from a good beef brisket. We like to think of it as the perfect hybrid between pulled pork and brisket. However, if you’ve never made pulled beef then of course the question begs to be asked: ‘how do I do it?’

The answer is surprisingly simple. Chuck roast. Then, nearly all the steps are the same as if you were making pulled pork. Maybe that doesn’t put your mind at ease, maybe you’ve never made pulled pork either…never fear, keep reading!

Meat Selection

There are a few more details you need to know to ensure your efforts are well rewarded. To start with, let’s discuss the meat…

Pulled Beef Chuck Roast 

Chuck roast is arguably the best cut to use for pulled beef. Similar to the front shoulder of pork (or the pork “butt”) chuck roasts, being from the front shoulder of the steer, are chock full of fat, collagen, and marbling. This is the stuff we need to make delicious juicy pulled beef.

Best Cut for Pulled or Shredded Meat

You may ask ‘can I use any beef roast, like round or rump?’ The answer is no, just like you wouldn’t buy a pork ham (rear leg) or a loin for making pulled pork, we want to stay away from round or rump roasts and loins when our goal is pulled beef. They are simply too lean. Cuts like these are best suited to roasting to 135 or medium rare, then sliced thin, and they can be delicious when prepared this way. But as with many barbecue-worthy cuts, the point is to get something high enough in internal fat that we can render it out and turn it into a tender juicy delicacy.

Meat Prep

Trim Fat

Just like when making pulled pork, we want to trim excess fat and fat cap from the roast first. This will ensure proper salt penetration and rub adherence/bark formation during the cook. It is not necessary to leave any amount of fat cap on the roast, as you might with a brisket. Just like a pork butt, a chuck roast in most cases will have enough internal fat to do the job we need it to do. Surface fat in these instances will simply be a barrier to salt, rub, smoke, and bark. Trim it off, don’t be shy!

Season the Meat 

Next, dry brine the meat. It’s best if you can allow yourself 24hrs on a thicker piece of meat like this. We recommend using coarse Kosher salt*, at a rate of about ½ tsp per pound of meat, applied all around the roast. So if you have a 4 lb chuck roast, it’s safe to plan on about 2 tsp of coarse Kosher salt spread evenly around the roast. A good rule of thumb too is to add the amount of salt you naturally would if you were to eat the meat then. Oil, mustard, or other means of sticking rubs onto the meat are not necessary here. The meat should have enough surface moisture to hold onto most of this salt.

*Please note, if you use regular table salt instead of the recommended coarse Kosher salt, use approximately half the amount. Plan on around ¼ tsp of table salt per pound of meat. Table salt granules are much smaller and therefore more are packed into a given volume. You’ll likely over salt your meat if you don’t pay attention to this!

How to Store Beef

Store the meat in the refrigerator, at 34-38 F. You can wrap it in plastic wrap or leave it uncovered during this time to aid in a drier bark. Just always make sure to keep it plenty clear of other foods to avoid cross contamination.

Meat Rub

After you’ve dry brined your meat at least a few hours in the fridge, preferably 24hrs, it’s time to warm the smoker up and add the unsalted rub. (Note: If you plan to use a salted rub, please skip the Kosher salt dry brine step. Simply use your salted rub as the dry brine and proceed as directed!

We HIGHLY recommend you use a different rub than you would with pork. We know you love your favorite rib rub or pork rub and you may be seriously thinking it’ll be great on pulled beef too, but beef is generally better suited to peppery profiles, not sweet rubs like pork. 

Do you add oil to the meat first? Mustard? Sure, you can. But you don’t need to. These additions are merely to help the rub adhere to the meat better. Even a light coating of plain water will suffice. We like to use a quick spray of PAM or similar, simply because a spray can of anything is simple and easy! Add your rub generously. It’s not a bad idea to add another light sprinkle of finishing/table salt to the surface after the rub is on. This will enhance the flavor of the bark.

How to Cook Beef

Grill Temperature

We recommend the typical low & slow 225 F lighting technique for pulled beef/chuck roast, including hot water in the water reservoir. When your kettle gets up to 225 on the cooking side, at grate level, as measured by a quality digital thermometer probe (not your grill’s lid temp gauge), add the chuck roast directly from the refrigerator to the grate. Place a thermometer probe in the center-most spot in the roast that you can.

Best Wood For Smoking Beef

Let this be the least of your concerns. However, if you have many woods to choose from, we’d recommend

  1. Oak
  2. Pecan
  3. Hickory
  4. Apple or any fruit wood

We say to let it be the least of your worries because there are so many other things that will affect the final outcome and flavor of your end product than the choice of wood. But if all you have is cherry, don’t fret, use it! Refer to our lighting instructions, we recommend only about 3 fist-sized (or 4 if smaller) chunks. You don’t need a lot of wood with your Slow ‘N Sear.

Beef Internal Temperature 

From here on out, things will be very familiar. The meat will rise in temp fairly quickly, and will stall anywhere from 150-170. It may stall for an hour, or it may be 3. Eventually the meat temp will rise once again. And as you’d expect, we’re going to take it up past 200.

One main difference when doing pulled beef vs pulled pork, is beef chuck roasts often need a little higher internal temp to soften and fully render the fat. Where with a pork butt we’d be happy around 203 then a Cambro hold, a chuck roast may require 205, 207, even 210. When the meat hits this level, let’s hold it there if we can for about an hour.

THEN, let’s hold it further in a faux Cambro. If you’re familiar with the time frame it takes to fully cook pulled pork, pulled beef will be strikingly similar, but perhaps an hour or two longer. Most important is not the clock, or even the temp necessarily, but ‘probe tender’- when you can stick a thermometer probe into the meat and it slides in with little resistance “like butter”, or a fork easily twists in the side, then it’s ready! If the meat feels tough or dry, give it more time. Come back in an hour and try again. Repeat if necessary.

To wrap or not? 

Wrapping in foil, known as the “Texas crutch” or “crutching”, will help speed things along. A foil wrap will inherently sacrifice some bark and maybe some of the rub coating, but it will significantly reduce your cook time. We highly recommend you do not wrap right at the start of the stall.

If you can hold out until the internal temperature of the meat is ~180 F, which is after the stall, you will have a much better bark developed. Bark is the flavorful crust on the outside of the chuck, full of seasonings, salt, and smoke. Bits of bark mixed into the pulled beef provides extra bursts of flavor in the finished product, and is what will set yours apart as ‘REAL Q’!

We recommend that you hold it in the faux Cambro, wrapped tightly in foil, when cooking is complete. Often 1-3 hours is all that is necessary for a faux Cambro hold. Make sure to save any drippings from the foil and add them back to the pulled beef. It’s good practice to leave your leave-in thermometer probe in the chuck during this hold, and make sure the meat temp does not drop below 140F.

You’ll notice this is no quick endeavor- one of the main secrets to great barbecue is patience and allowing time for the magic to happen!

Simple Recipe Ideas for Pulled Beef


Shredded cheddar and/or Monterrey Jack cheese along with your favorite nacho toppings and generous amounts of hot smoked pulled beef will make some of the best nachos you’ve ever tasted!

Philly Steak & Cheese Sammies

Pulled beef, provolone cheese, sautéed peppers & onions, mushrooms optional, on lightly toasted ciabatta bread. 

Summary of Pulled Beef Recipe 

  • Chuck Roast is perfect for pulled/chopped beef
  • Trim excess surface fat
  • Dry brine (salt) overnight
  • Season/Rub before cooking; beef works well with pepper-based seasoning
  • Cook low & slow at 225 F
  • Cook until probe tender (~205-210 F internal)
  • Faux cambro an additional hour or two

Tender Slow Cooker Pulled Beef

This slow cooker pulled beef is an absolute must-try. By the end of cooking, it will be tender, succulent, and packed with so much flavor.

By the time the beef is ready, it should pull apart easily and be packed with flavor from the garlic, wine, tomato paste, and the fennel seeds. It’s certainly a dish that will please almost anyone.

You don’t have to serve this beef with the slow cooking marinade. Much like the pulled pork, you can mix the pulled beef through a smoky BBQ sauce or something similar.

 The Best cut of Beef to use for Shredded Beef

When it comes to cooking beef in the slow cooker, it is essential that you buy a cheap, tough cut of meat.

You don’t need to worry about the toughness as by the time it is ready to eat, the meat will be tender and flavorsome. There is no need to buy expensive cuts of meat.

The best cuts of beef that you can use include chuck roast, rump roast, brisket, flank, or skirt. These may go by different names depending on the country you’re living in.

 What to Serve with Pulled Beef

This pulled beef is best served alongside a dish or incorporated into a dish. This something can be nachos, pizza, a salad, beef enchiladas, and so much more.

The beef will even go great alongside something such as sweet potato fries or cauliflower cheese. There is so much that goes great with slow cooker pulled beef.

Pulled Beef

One of the simplest ways to serve the beef is in a sandwich or bread roll. There are plenty of accompaniments that you can add to the bread roll, such as cheese, lettuce, tomato chutney, and so much more.

Of course, there are lots more ways that you can serve pulled beef, so if you have any suggestions, be sure to share them with us.

 What to do with Leftovers

As you would expect, the leftovers are well worth keeping. You can keep them in either the fridge or freezer.

If you’re storing the leftovers in the fridge, then it should last for a few days. Alternatively, it should last for up to six months in the freezer.

Pulled Beef using chuck roast or brisket

Videos can make following a recipe so much easier. If you prefer a video, then you can find a super handy video right below. It will take you through all the steps to making this tasty pulled beef in the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Pulled Beef Recipe

Prep time: 15 Minutes

Cook time: 8 Hours

Total time: 8 Hours & 15 Minutes

Serves: 6


  • 1 kg (2.2 lb) beef chuck
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, crushed
  • 125 ml (4.2 fl oz) red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp salt


  1. Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker except the beef. Mix until well combined.
  2. Add the beef, and baste with the marinade.
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  4. Remove the beef from the slow cooker and place it to the side.
  5. Gently remove the fat from the beef and shred using two forks.
  6. Remove excess fat from the slow cooker by gently ladling it out. Pour the remaining marinade over the shredded beef.
  7. Serve & enjoy.

Recipe Tips

  • You can brown the beef before placing it into the slow cooker. This process is a personal preference and won’t profoundly impact the outcome of this dish.
  • The slow cooker marinade is likely to be quite thin by the time it is finished cooking. You can thicken it up with some cornstarch and water. Just mix one tablespoon of water with one tablespoon of cornstarch. Once combined, add to the pulled beef marinade.
  • As I mentioned above, you can mix the beef in with a BBQ sauce rather than the marinade that we cook with the beef.

Note: I use a 5.5L (6 Quart) slow cooker for all the recipes that I have on this website unless specified. If you have a smaller or larger slow cooker, then you might need to adjust the ingredients.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 253g (8.9 oz)
  • Servings Per Recipe: 6
  • Calories Per Serving: 309
  • Total Fat: 9.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.7g
  • Trans Fat: 0.6g
  • Total Carbohydrate: 20g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 19g
  • Cholesterol: 123mg
  • Sodium: 330mg

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