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Slow Cooker Shredded Beef

This slow cooker shredded beef is so simple to make, but it looks impressive and tastes even better! Pull out your Crockpot and get cracking to make this delicious, melt-in-your-mouth meal!

Special thanks to my sister in law, who gave me the idea for this recipe. (Actually, I had it at her house and said I must make this myself asap because it is amazing.) Of course, I totally changed around the recipe from what she told me, because I am physically incapable of following a recipe as it is supposed to go, but I think my pulled beef came out pretty darn amazing.

First, let’s discuss some questions that may arise around slow cooking, shredded beef, and all that type of stuff.

shredded beef on a bed of mashed potatoes.

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How can I use a slow cooker without it getting full of burnt-on crud at the bottom?

I feel your pain. Cleaning Crockpots is the worst, and can drive anyone up the wall. Luckily, there is a solution! Use a slow cooker liner bag to reduce mess and clean your slow cooker easily!

I personally have found that Reynolds brand is the best. Others have melted in my Crockpot, even though they supposedly were “heat resistant” and “melt proof” and all that. Reynolds slow cooker liners are also BPA free, so no need to worry about dangerous chemicals leaking into your food.

(I’m finding this really interesting – there are some reviewers claiming that the Reynolds bags ripped/melted for them. I’ve used a Reynolds bag in my slow cooker, on high, for nearly 20 hours, and never had any issues. I’m wondering if the reason their bags melted is they didn’t have any water on the outside of the bag. I always put 1-2 cups of water in my Crockpot before putting in the liner bag, so the bag isn’t directly in contact with the hot slow cooker.)

Can you cook frozen meat in the slow cooker?

Technically, yes, and I have done it many times. However, it is not recommended by food safety experts, because the meat doesn’t reach safe temperatures quickly enough and bacteria gets a chance to form. So basically: do it at your own risk.

What cut of meat is best for shredded beef?

Chuck roast or beef brisket are the two most commonly used cuts for shredding. They are inexpensive, tough cuts of meat, so cooking them for a long time at a low temperature makes them extremely soft and shreddable.

And now, on to the recipe!

How do you make slow cooker shredded beef?

Step 1. Fry some onions and brown the meat.

Roughly dice an onion and quickly fry it over high heat. When the onions are soft (roughly 5 minutes), add your entire roast into the frying pan on top of them. Sear the meat 3-5 minutes per side, until the meat is browned and the onions are caramelized (yes, the onions keep cooking while you sear the meat. Funny how that works.)

pan of fried onions on the stove.
Start by frying the onions.
Add the meat to the pan…
seared meat in the frying pan.
…and sear on both sides.

If you want to avoid getting an additional pan dirty, you can brown the onions and meat right in the crockpot by putting oil, onions, and meat directly into the slow cooker without a bag and leaving it on high for a bit. I personally would rather have an extra frying pan to clean than use a slow cooker without a liner bag, because I find unlined crockpots to be so much harder to clean, but it’s your call.

Step 2. Put the meat, onions, and meat juices into the slow cooker liner bag.

Use tongs to transfer the meat into the crockpot easily. Make sure you scrape in all the delicious meat juices from the pan to get all that flavor in.

Tongs and slow cooker liners are both on my list of top kitchen tools that make life easier. Check out which other kitchen tools I recommend here!

Overhead view of slow cooker lined with liner bag containing meat and onions.
Carefully transfer the meat and onions to the slow cooker.

Step 3. Add barbecue sauce and wine, and cook for hours

Pour half a bottle of barbecue sauce and half a cup of wine over the meat. Don’t worry about mixing it, it will cook and steep together in the slow cooker.

(I need to note here that my sister in law who gave me the recipe uses a full bottle of barbecue sauce and a full can of beer. The pulled beef tastes delicious that way as well, but will have a stronger barbecue flavor.)

Overhead view of crockpot containing meat, onions, and sauce.
Pour the barbecue sauce and wine over the meat.

Cook the meat on low for around 8 hours. Check the meat at around 6 hours by poking it with a fork. If it still seems very tough, put the Crockpot on high for the next 2 hours, to make sure the meat will be soft enough to shred.

Step 4. Shred the meat, and enjoy!

Remove the meat from the slow cooker with tongs. Place it in a serving dish, and shred it with a fork.

If the meat is not soft enough to shred easily, it needs to be cooked for longer, so put it back in the slow cooker for another hour or so, and then check if it’s soft enough.

Serve the pulled beef over mashed potatoes and watch your guests drool over the deliciously simple meal you prepared.

shredded beef on a bed of mashed potatoes.

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

This slow cooker shredded beef is so simple to make, but it looks impressive and tastes even better! Pull out your Crockpot and get cracking to make this delicious, melt-in-your-mouth meal!

If you enjoy this recipe, please rate it 5 stars!


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 3-lb chuck roast
  • 1/2 bottle barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat.
  2. Dice the onion, and add to the frying pan. Saute until onion is soft, around 3 minutes.
  3. Place the roast in the frying pan on top of the onions. Sear for 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. Place 1-2 cups water in a slow cooker, and insert a Reynolds slow cooker liner.
  5. Transfer the seared meat and onions into the lined slow cooker. Make sure you scrape in all the meat juices.
  6. Pour 1/2 bottle of barbecue sauce and 1/2 cup of wine over the meat.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Poke the meat with a fork at around 6 hours; if it still seems very tough, raise the heat to high.
  8. Remove meat to serving dish with tongs and shred with a fork.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 605Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 188mgSodium: 203mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 56g

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Slow cooker shredded beef Pinterest image 1.
Crockpot pulled beef pinterest image.
Slow cooker shredded beef pinterest image 2.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Tinuke

    Brilliant, another recipe for me to try on my slowcooker!

  2. Philomath

    I think we have tried it and taste good, I like your instructions and I’m traveling now and might do it myself haha.

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      Great! Enjoy the food, and your travels!

  3. Meeeee

    This sounds AMAZING! I can’t wait to try it!

    1. Bee - Bites 'N Pieces

      I hope you guys enjoy it! Let me know how it turns out.

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