This is one of my readers' favorite crockpot meals. It's wonderful because you throw the beef in the crockpot in the morning, and the main part of your meal is ready for dinner. I've also included some different meal ideas using shredded beef.
Shredded beef is a great main dish to serve when a crowd is over. Think of groups like a sports gathering. Or even when you have friends and family over and want a homemade meal with lots of serving variations. Serve with rolls and have salad on hand so everyone can customize their plate. I would suggest something like cowboy caviar, potato salad, and perhaps a light, simple salad like a dill vinaigrette dressed salad.
Table of contents
Why I love serving this.
There are so many different ways to serve this. Your guests can customize it. Serve on a roll, serve as the main protein on your plate, or have it with a salad. I'll share specifics of how I serve this below.
I love serving this to family and friends because it's so darn delicious. But it's easy for me to make so I can focus on other things when I'm getting ready to have people over. I used to add various ingredients to make the meat tender and flavorful.
Shredded beef with delicious gravy is a no-fail meal that brings back memories of Sunday dinners or other fun get-togethers.
3 - 4 lb chuck or other inexpensive beef roast (lower quality, less expensive cut)
2 envelopes of brown gravy - I buy the red McCormick's envelopes.
1 envelope ranch dressing - Hidden Valley brand is the best! I buy the bulk container, and using 3 teaspoons is the same as the envelope.
1 envelope Italian dressing mix - Good Seasons is a nice zesty Italian and works great with this recipe
2 cups water
If you and your family like different brands of seasoning envelopes, go ahead and use them! In a pinch, I doubled the ranch dressing if I realized I didn't have any Italian dressing mix at home. Or you can also use ½ cup of bottled Italian dressing instead of the dressing mix.
Pour the water and mix the packages of brown gravy and ranch dressing in with the water. I usually whisk it because you can't really stir it once you put the roast in.
Turn your crock pot on high. Add the beef roast to the water and seasoning mixtures.
Plan on cooking for at least 6 hours (time varies based on your slow cooker and the size of your roast). More is better than less. If the beef is easily shredded, go ahead and shred and turn the crockpot to a warm setting until ready to serve. Avoid opening the lid - that increases the cooking time.
When the meat is fork tender, put it in a bowl and pull it with two forks to shred it. I bet you can't do that without taste-testing the meat! When you make this, your home will smell really good!
While I'm shredding, I pour the gravy into a large cup (or a bowl if you don't have a cup large enough). Let it sit for about 10 -15 minutes, and skim off as much of the fat layer as you can.
Place the gravy and the shredded meat back into the crock pot and change the temperature to low or warm until ready to serve. If serving right away, a serving dish that can be covered with foil also works.
Here are a few ways to serve your shredded beef so none of it goes to waste. This is a great recipe to make on a Sunday, and then you have a few dinners during the week.
Shredded beef on a Fresh Roll with Cole Slaw.
- If you are buying deli cole slaw, ask the ladies which one is best or the most popular. They always tell me which one they just made!
Shredded Beef with a Veggie side (like broccoli)
Are people attending who are avoiding carbs? Shredded beef on a plate with a ton of vegetables is an option.
Shredded Beef Nachos
My kids love having nachos. Nachos feel healthier to me when I use shredded beef instead of ground beef.
On a baking sheet lined with tin foil, layer your ingredients.
Lots of tortilla chips make the base, add some 'dry' shredded beef (shake off the gravy), then add a generous amount of cheese (I usually have shredded cheddar handy).
Place in a preheated 400-degree oven. Just check it after about 3-4 minutes. You want the cheese all melty, and then it's ready to go. Top with some salsa, a dollop of sour cream, some chopped tomato, and lettuce. You could also provide some extra toppings for people to serve themselves. Provide chopped olives, guacamole, and even some chopped peppers if serving a crowd.
Tacos are even easier than the nachos. I mix a little salsa into the shredded beef. Add the beef to the shell (hard or soft, your choice). Top with your favorite taco toppings. Lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, and maybe a little more salsa. I'm getting hungry again!
This is such a great way to use up leftover shredded beef! Buy a couple of cans of Enchilada sauce. I usually use a mild red sauce. Spread a thin layer on the bottom of your baking dish. Add a little enchilada sauce to your shredded beef.
Place about 3-4 oz of meat in a soft tortilla shell and then roll it up. Place it seam-side down in the dish. Continue until the dish is full. Add enough enchilada sauce until the enchiladas are generously covered in sauce.
Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes. You want the ingredients hot and the cheese to be melted and lightly brown.
I hope this helps you with your meal planning! Truly, make the shredded beef on a Sunday and then make a couple of these recipes during the week. They are all easy to assemble and foolproof. And, most importantly, delicious! No complicated instructions or fancy ingredients. Just meals loved by all (including the kids)!
Storage and Reheating
Place this in a covered container in the fridge, and it will last at least 4 days. As an FYI, I have put the whole crockpot insert with the lid on many times. It's a nice, easy way to put the meat away when you are finished entertaining.
Shredded beef also freezes well. I portion into freezer bags, adding some of the gravy to each bag. This can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Sometimes you need to add a little water when reheating since the gravy may thicken.
I have used round roast, and it worked great!
Low and slow is the way. It will take about 3-4 hours at 300 degrees F. Use a heavy-lidded pot like a Dutch oven. I find the water evaporates more, so I check every hour or so and add a little more water.
Other Recipes for a Crowd
Shredded Beef Recipe Ideas
- 4 pound beef roast Less expensive roast like chuck roast
- 2 envelope brown gravy I like McCormicks brown gravy mix envelpes
- 1 envelope Ranch dressing Hidden Valley is my favorite brand
- 1 envelope Italian seasoning dressing Good Seasons is a nice zesty Italian
- 1 cups water
- Pour the water and mix the packages of brown gravy and ranch dressing in with the water into your crockpot / slow cooker. I usually whisk it to get any lumps out.
- Turn your crock pot on high. Add the beef roast to the water and seasoning mixtures. Plan on cooking at least 6 hours (time varies based on your slow cooker and the size of your roast). More is better than less. If the beef is easily shredded, go ahead and shred and turn the crockpot to warm setting until ready to serve. Avoid opening the lid - that increases the cooking time.
- When the meat is fork tender, put it in a bowl and pull it with two forks to shred it. Bet you can't do that without taste-testing the meat! When you make this, your home will smell really good!
- While I'm shredding the beef, I pour the gravy from the crock pot into a bowl. Let it sit for about 10 -15 minutes and skim off as much of the fat layer as you can.
- Place the gravy and the shredded meat back into the crock pot, and change the temperature to low or warm until ready to serve. If serving right away, a serving dish that can be covered with foil also works.
Hey, please do me a favor. Would you please pin this to your Pinterest board? I'd appreciate it!
Originally published Aug. 17, 2017.
Do you love beef? Here are a couple of flavorful hamburger-based meals.
Here is a chicken-based crockpot meal. This is a great family one where everyone can pick their own toppings!
Easy shredded chicken tacos