Pulled Beef For Tacos

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Pulled beef for tacos is a must-have on your taco nights. It’s such an easy, convenient and delicious way to serve tacos because you don’t need to prepare meat ahead of time and add it to your tacos when you’re ready — which is great if you’re hosting a party. Tacos are often one of the most popular dishes at parties and pulled beef makes it much easier to prepare more tacos when you have company over.

Barbacoa pulled-beef tacos

  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:20 mins
    • Cook:2 hrs and 30 mins
    • plus 1-2 hrs marinating and cooling
  • Easy
  • Serves 6

Treat family and friends to these tasty pulled-beef tacos marinated in a punchy sauce with chipotle, lime juice and garlic. It’s a great sharing dish

NutrientUnit
kcal266
fat13g
saturates5g
carbs2g
sugars1g
fibre1g
protein34g
salt0.3g

Ingredients

  • 100ml cider vinegar
  • 2 limes , juiced
  • 1 tbsp chipotle paste
  • 6 garlic cloves , crushed
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves , crumbled
  • 1 tsp light brown soft sugar
  • 1kg boneless beef shin , cut into large pieces
  • 300ml beef stock

To serve

  • 6 large or 12 small soft tacos
  • small handful of coriander , chopped
  • pickled red onion , sliced radishes, or crumbled feta

Method

  • STEP 1Pour the vinegar and lime juice into a large bowl (it should be able to hold all the beef ). Whisk in the chipotle paste, garlic, spices, herbs, sugar and some seasoning. Mix in the beef, ensuring it’s well-coated, then cover and leave to marinate for 1-2 hrs, or chill overnight.
  • STEP 2Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/ gas 3. Put the beef on a plate, then tip the marinade into an ovenproof casserole, along with any bits that have stuck to the bowl. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the beef and simmer for 1 min, then cover and cook in the oven for 2 hrs. 
  • STEP 3If the beef isn’t tender enough to shred, cook for 15 mins more, then check again. Leave until cool enough to handle, then lift onto a board using a slotted spoon. Bring the sauce to the boil and reduce to about 300ml. Meanwhile, roughly shred the beef, discarding any fat or gristle. Stir back into the sauce to reheat, then serve in the casserole dish with the tacos, coriander and toppings on the side for everyone to help themselves.

Tex-Mex pulled beef tacos

  • 20m prep
  • 3h 55m cook
  • 6 servings

Make a big batch of this delicious pulled beef and use it for a range of recipes, including these tasty tacos.

Fresh recipe inspiration. Free in Coles stores and online.

663 calories per serve

Allergens: Recipe may contain gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, milk and fish.

More nutrition information >

  • 28 Ingredients
  • 9 Method Steps
  • Texan-Style Pulled Beef
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5kg Coles Australian No Added Hormones Beef Brisket
  • 2 brown onions, cut into wedges
  • 2 cups (500ml) beef or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dijon or American mustard
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Tex-Mex Pulled Beef Tacos
  • ½ quantity Texan-Style Pulled Beef (above)
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 12 small soft tortillas
  • 1/4 small red cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1/4 small savoy cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 avocado, stoned, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream
  • 2 tsp sriracha or chilli sauce
  • 1/2 cup (130g) tomato salsa
  • Drained sliced jalapeños, to serve
  • Coriander leaves, to serve
  • Lime wedges, to serve
  • Select all ingredients

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  • Step 1To make the pulled beef, preheat oven to 150°C. Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat. Season beef. Cook beef in pan for 5 mins each side or until golden. Transfer to a roasting pan.
  • Step 2Arrange onion around the beef in the pan. Whisk stock, vinegar, garlic, maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, mustard, paprika, onion salt, garlic powder, oregano and cumin in a jug. Pour evenly over beef, turning to coat.
  • Step 3Cover pan tightly with foil. Roast for 3 hours or until beef is very tender and falls apart when tested with a fork. Increase oven to 180°C. Uncover and roast for a further 30 mins or until beef is golden brown and sauce thickens slightly. Set aside for 15 mins to rest.
  • Step 4Use 2 forks to coarsely shred beef. Stir to combine with pan juices. Season.
  • Step 5To make the tacos, heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add the beef and taco seasoning. Cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until heated through.
  • Step 6Heat a chargrill on high. Cook the tortillas, in 4 batches, for 1 min each side or until lightly charred. Transfer to a plate.
  • Step 7Divide the tortillas among serving plates. Top with combined cabbage, avocado, carrot and beef mixture.
  • Step 8Combine the sour cream and sriracha or chilli sauce in a small bowl.
  • Step 9Spoon the cream mixture over the tacos and top with salsa. Sprinkle with jalapeños and coriander. Serve with lime wedges.

RECIPE NOTES

STEP-BY-STEP PULLED BEEF

Brown the meat – For richer-tasting pulled beef, brown the beef in a frying pan before slow-cooking it in the oven. Not only does this seal in the juices and keep the beef tender, but it also creates a caramelised crust that tastes delicious.

Pour in the liquid – Adding stock mixture to the pan boosts the flavour. The liquid will also turn to steam as it heats in the oven, which cooks the beef evenly and keeps it juicy and tender. This makes the beef easier to shred at the end of cooking.

Cover it tightly – To trap the liquid in the pan, cover the pan tightly with foil. This creates steam, which cooks the beef and makes it meltingly tender. If steam escapes, the liquid evaporates too quickly and the beef becomes too dry to shred.

Get ready to shred – For a great-tasting finish, you want even-sized pieces of beef well-coated in the sauce. Use 2 forks to shred the beef along the grain. Forks are the best utensils for pulling beef as the prongs will finely and evenly tear away meat.

SHREDDED BEEF TACOS

BEEF TACOS STUFFED WITH JUICY, TENDER SHREDDED BEEF (MADE IN THE CROCKPOT, OVEN, STOVE OR INSTANT POT) AND OOZING CHEESE, BAKED UNTIL CRISPY!

This Beef Taco recipe of saucy, spoon tender shredded beef, melty cheese and crispy tortillas is mouthwatering flavor fireworks in each juicy, cheesy, crunchy addictive bite. Finish it off with cool and creamy Cilantro Lime Ranch and these might be the best tacos of your life. These Shredded Beef Tacos are an easy, crowd-pleasing dinner, perfect for weeknights or entertaining because the beef can be made 100% ahead of time in the crockpot, oven, stove or instant pot and all the tacos can be baked at once!  PS.  You’ll be amazing at how crispy the tacos become without frying! 

WHY THIS BEEF TACO RECIPE WORKS

This beef taco recipe comes after sharing my hypnotic Mexican Shredded Beef with you – because what’s the best thing to make with shredded beef?  Crispy, cheesy tacos!  These tacos are a nod to quesabirria tacos, but in more accessible, weeknight dinner form!

These beef tacos are easier to make than beef birria tacos.  While quesabirria tacos are worth the effort, sometimes you just don’t have the time, patience or ingredients to make chili sauce from scratch. This recipe requires half the prep time by utilizing pantry friendly, flavor packed shortcuts like chili powder, ground chipotle chili pepper and salsa.

The beef tacos are baked, not fried.  You will be blown away at how crispy these BAKED tacos become! The tortillas are lightly coated in olive oil, folded over the shredded beef then baked to crispy gloriousness, without the extra fat.  This technique is SO easy and you’ll love that all the hand-held heroes come out of the oven at once.

Shredded beef tacos are only as good as the beef, so we’re using the best!  The shredded beef is rich and saucy, with an enticing complexity of flavor and SO tender.  It’s braised low and slow in a mélange of earthy, fiesta seasonings, punchy salsa, tangy green chilies, rich beef broth and smoky liquid smoke until it’s succulent, meltingly tender. 

Most of the cooking is hand’s off!  The braising does the tenderizing in the crockpot, oven, stove or instant pot and the oven crisps up the tortillas.  Just add the cheese, beef and bake!

up close of juicy shredded beef for tacos showing how juicy it is

WHAT IS THE BEST CUT FOR SHREDDED BEEF TACOS?

For the most tender, juicy and flavorful shredded beef tacos, use boneless chuck roast. It can also be labeled as a shoulder roast, chuck eye roast, or arm chuck roast.  It boasts a succulent, beefy flavor and melt-in-your mouth texture due to its rich marbling. The marbling melts as it slow cooks, creating a self-basting effect that drips over the meat, keeping it extra juicy and infusing it with a coveted depth of flavor.  It is guaranteed to become fall apart tender when cooked long enough.

A few notes about using chuck roast in this recipe:

  • This recipe calls for a 3–4-pound chuck roast but the seasonings and liquid are very forgiving – so don’t worry if your roast is slightly larger. If it is smaller, than reduce the salt.
  • Use boneless beef chuck roast that is thick cut and not rolled and tied with a string.
  • I purchase my chuck roast at Costco, use one roast for this shredded beef recipe and freeze the other for later. You’ll love having it on hand to pull out when you need it!

DO I HAVE TO USE CHUCK ROAST?

Chuck roast is the best choice for shredding although many other tough cuts such as brisket, rump roast, round roast and even flank and skirt steak can be used as long as they are cooked long enough. Take care that whatever beef cut you choose has rich marbling (fat=flavor and tenderness) because these cuts are already leaner than chuck roast and therefore won’t be as flavorful.

SHREDDED BEEF TACO RECIPE INGREDIENTS

This shredded beef taco recipe requires a few ingredients, but remember, you’re just dumping most of them into the slow cooker!  You will need:

FOR THE TACOS

  • Corn tortillas:  We love corn tortillas in this recipe for their robust, nutty, sweet corn flavor and thicker, pliable texture that becomes crispy when baked. In order for your corn tortillas not to tear when folded, you must choose from the following two options, dry run-of-the-mill tortillas will not work:
    • White corn tortillas: Are made with white masa harina as opposed to yellow masa harina and tend to be softer, more tender, with a higher moisture content, which makes them more pliable. White corn tortillas can be easily rolled and folded without cracking or breaking. Look for “super soft” white corn tortillas (like Mission brand).
    • Freshly made or homemade corn tortillas: Are moister, thicker and more pliable. The packaging will often be labeled “homemade,” “organic” or “made in small batches,” – or just look at the edges!  I love La Tortilla Factory Corn Tortillas, specifically their corn/flour combo which are extra malleable. I used to only be able to find them at Sprouts but I just picked them up at Alberton’s last week, so be on the lookout! 
  • Cheese: You can use any good melting cheese that you shred yourself such as Oaxaca, Monterey, Pepper Jack, mozzarella or sharp cheddar. I’ve used Pepper Jack here because I love cheese with an extra kick.

WHAT ABOUT FLOUR TORTILLAS?

You can absolutely use flour tortillas and should use flour tortillas if you can’t find white corn tortillas or homemade corn tortillas as discussed. Just be aware that flour tortillas won’t be as crispy.  Flour also tends to come in larger sizes, so be aware you will get less tacos out of the recipe.  

showing how to serve shredded beef tacos by topping with cilantro lime ranch and pic de gallo

FOR THE SHEDDED BEEF

  • Chuck roast:  Select boneless chuck roast that’s deep red, smells sweet and boasts bright, white marbling of fat throughout the meat. Beef that appears grayish brown isn’t as fresh and may have been sitting on the shelf too long.
  • Oil: You need a little oil for searing the roast. Use a high smoking point oil such as vegetable oil, avocado oil or sunflower oil to sear the beef– don’t substitute olive oil.  Olive oil has a lower smoking point and will not only smoke like crazy but can burn, leaving behind a bitter taste and harmful chemicals.
  • Beef Broth: Use low sodium beef broth so we can control the salt level and also add beef bouillon for more flavor.
  • Beef bouillon:  Adds a depth of concentrated beefy flavor. I use granulated beef bouillon for ease but you may also use an equal amount of better than bouillon, or cubes. If using cubes, crush them up then add directly to the crockpot then stir to dissolve.  You will need three cubes in this recipe.
  • Salsa:  Use your favorite salsa, whether chunky or smooth.  Use mild if you don’t like spicy foods or use medium if you crave some heat.
  • Chopped green chiles: Come in a 4 ounce can and are delightfully tangy to cut through the richness of the beef.  Use mild diced green chiles so it’s easy to control the heat. 
  • Tomato paste: Adds concentrated tomato flavor that mingles with the spices to create a thick, rich aromatic sauce.
  • Lime juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice is best but you may also use bottled.
  • Liquid smoke:  Adds a delightfully subtle smoky flavor that makes the recipe.  Liquid smoke comes in a bottle and is located next to the barbecue sauces at your grocery store.  I use mesquite but hickory will also work.
  • Brown sugar: A little sugar is needed to balance out the tangy heat in this dish. If you must omit the sugar, it will still be tasty, just tangier.
  • Dried herbs and spices: A mixture of chili powder, ground chipotle pepper, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, salt and pepper create a spice rub to bring the FLAVOR.  

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