Delicious EASY slow cooker shredded BBQ beef recipe perfect for sandwiches, or with your favorite fixins’, or my go-to lettuce wraps with coleslaw!
BTW, in case you were wondering. BBQ beef might be the hardest thing I’ve ever photographed. It tastes delicious and looks like slop. But, I think that’s why you see it shown in sandwiches all the time. It looks mouthwatering, exploding out of a sandwich, but not necessarily on its own. So there is that, but I couldn’t help but share this recipe with you! The slow cooker creates a shredded beef that can be eaten on its own or tossed with a barbecue/ketchup mixture, both freaking delicious if I say so myself.
We ate ours in lettuce wraps paired with healthy coleslaw and everyone’s favorite fixings. I love it paired with potato chips, but Mr. Hungry LOVES mac salad, and for more veggies, sliced cherry tomatoes are plentiful and in season right now! I also have other fixing ideas linked below!
How to Make Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Beef
Back in the day, I loathed any slow cooker recipe that required me first to sear my meat on a skillet. In my mind, slow cooker recipes should be one-stop shops. You shouldn’t be dirtying up a bunch of pans just to have to wait for your food for 8 hours. But now I know better. Now, I know that if you want to LOCK in your flavor instead of letting it wash off when you add your broth, you have to sear the seasonings into the meat first. I know it’s annoying, but it’s 100% worth it. Trust me. I wouldn’t do it if it weren’t.
After searing, there is one more flavor blaster method I use for the slow cooker and the instant pot. Stuff that meat with garlic cloves. I promise it will be ten times more delicious than garlic powder. And of course, top with sliced onions. Then, you’ll carefully pour the liquid (broth and Worcestershire sauce) around the meat, again to preserve the seasonings. Finally, close the lid and avoid opening it again for at least four hours.
The more times you open the lid, the longer it takes to cook it, so only open it to flip your beef. It will shred super easily, be juicy, and be flavorful in every bite when it’s all done. In fact, you might not even want to add the bbq sauce. The meat is delicious on its own. And it 100% does not have that weird pot roast taste I hate. Or you can drain the liquid (reserve for soups or discard) and mix it with BBQ sauce and ketchup. The ketchup gives it that tang that sometimes gets lost when you just toss the meat with the BBQ sauce.
We made ours into lettuce wraps with healthy coleslaw and green onions. I don’t know why but I LOVE the combination of BBQ meat and coleslaw in a crunchy wrap. I do it the same thing with pork sometimes as well!
How to Store and Freeze Slow Cooker BBQ Beef
To store: Store unused portions in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To freeze: After the meat is done cooking, allow the whole thing to cool for 24 hours in the fridge. Freeze the meat separately from the liquid, but do not discard the liquid. When you reheat it, you may want to use some liquid to “rehydrate it” before adding the barbecue sauce and ketchup. Alternatively, you could freeze with the BBQ and ketchup mixed in. Still, I think separately would yield a better-tasting result, especially because it would allow you to discard any excess liquid. It can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What to Serve with Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Beef:
Slow Cooker Shredded BBQ Beef
- Combine sugar, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the blend all over the outside of the beef chuck roast.
- Heat a large skillet to medium-high and sear beef chuck roast on each side for 1-2 minutes to lock in the flavor.
- Cut slits into the meat and stuff with garlic cloves.
- Place the meat on the bottom of the slow cooker, and top with sliced onion. Pour the broth and Worcestershire sauce around the meat, but not directly on top.
- Cook on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8-10 hours. Around the halfway mark, flip the meat if you can. Or, if you are using two cuts of meat like I did, bring the bottom one to the top and the top one to the bottom. The meat is done when you can easily shred it with two forks. If you can't easily shred it, it needs more time.
- Remove liquid and discard or save for soup bases. Using two forks, shred the meat. Toss with BBQ and ketchup, and serve immediately.
- Make healthy coleslaw, reserving some of the dressing for topping. Add two layers of lettuce leaves, 1/4 cup healthy coleslaw, 1/4 cup shredded beef, and top with green onions and drizzle with healthy coleslaw dressing for each lettuce wrap.