These slow cooker shredded beef sandwiches are effortless to prepare on a busy day and are amped up with a generous dose of seasonings, a deep smoky flavor, and just a touch of sweetness the entire family will love.
Growing up I was always underwhelmed with the idea of eating shredded beef sandwiches. They were served at parties and large gatherings, but they seemed to trade flavor for low effort. If that has been your experience as well, I recommend giving this recipe a try. This versatile recipe is aggressively flavored, easy to prepare, and always leaves you craving more. These are one of my favorite sandwiches for a reason!
What are Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Sandwiches?
This slow cooker shredded beef sandwiches recipe is loaded with generously seasoned beef, flavored with black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, and onion powder, and boasts just a touch of sweetness. I also like to add a touch of liquid smoke for a hint of barbeque flavor. I promise your house will smell amazing after letting this relax in your slow cooker all day.
The shredded beef will be swimming in a flavorful pool of juices by the time it is done cooking. These juices will incorporate into the meat as you shred it, however, the juice makes a ridiculously delicious au jus for dipping as well.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Beef chuck roast - Using a boneless beef chuck roast is best for this recipe. The fat in a chuck roast provides added moisture and flavor. However, any large pieces of fat should be removed prior to shredding the beef. If you are looking to trim calories, I have made this many times with lean beef rump roasts and the dish still turns out great.
- Beef broth - You can substitute beef stock, or even some beer.
- Apple cider vinegar - Red wine vinegar can be substituted.
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Ground black pepper
- Smoked paprika - Regular paprika and ground paprika both can be substituted.
- Garlic powder - Fresh garlic cloves are a great substitute.
- Onion powder
- Ground mustard
- Brown sugar
- Cayenne pepper
- Liquid smoke
- Bay leaf
How to make Slow cooker shredded beef sandwiches
This easy recipe is made simply by throwing all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and covering it with the lid. The crockpot will do the rest!
The beef roast slow cooks for about 4 hours on high or 6-7 hours on low in your crockpot. But rather than focusing on time, let the beef tell you when it is done. If the meat is falling apart and easily shredded, then it is done. If it is still tough, it needs to cook longer. It is really that simple.
Can this be made ahead of time?
Absolutely! This is the perfect crock pot recipe to make in advance and can taste even better the next day. Leftover beef can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container and reheated as needed. This is perfect for serving at a party, or just for meals during a busy week.
You can reheat the shredded beef in a microwave, or by warming it back up in the slow cooker. If the shredded meat looks dry just add a small splash of beef broth or water.
Shredded beef sandwiches
Shredded beef is versatile and can be used in many dishes, such as serving over pasta, or making some mean nachos. However, my favorite use for it is making shredded beef sandwiches. Here is how to craft the best shredded beef sandwiches ever!
- Buns - Hamburger buns, sourdough bread, hoagie rolls, or onion rolls are the best for these delicious sandwiches.
- Toppings - If you are craving a cheese to serve with it, I recommend Muenster cheese, however, a slice of Provolone cheese would be my runner-up recommendation. Pepperoncini peppers (or banana peppers) make for a tangy topping, or caramelized onions would be phenomenal with Muenster cheese.
- Condiments - Similar to my crockpot French dip sandwiches and Italian beef sandwiches, the cooking liquid in the slow cooker makes a phenomenal dipping sauce. However, if you are craving a separate condiment try horseradish, mayo, Dijon mustard, Comeback sauce, or BBQ sauce.
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Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Sandwiches
- 3 pounds beef chuck roast
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
- Salt to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- hamburger buns or rolls
- Heat all ingredients in crock pot on low for six hours, or until beef is falling apart. Taste liquid for salt and add more as needed.
- Remove bay leaf, and shred beef.
- Serve on sandwich rolls or crusty bread.
- Store leftovers in the fridge and reheat as needed.
This recipe was originally published December 11, 2014 on FoxValleyFoodie.com.