Mexican slow-cooked beef (and all the trimmings)

Apologies in advance for the lack of pictures in this one.  Didn’t realise it was going to be SO good…

I’ve been slow-cooking pork for months now, following the recipes in “Wahaca at Home” with great success and to much adulation from the family.  “Make your own wraps” has become one of the family’s firm favourites.  I took a pot of the Pork Pibil to a bring-and-braai held at one of the local halls and was asked if I was a chef!  Stunned.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I signed up to the Mexican Food newsletter and this little beauty dropped into my inbox…


  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 2kg beef – one large slab, for preference.  Recipe calls for chuck roast, I used a Tesco topside joint. Given that it’s going to cook for 8 hours, you can use a cheap joint.
  • 25g cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon annatto (achiote) paste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons chile powder (ground chiles)
  • 2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz can chopped green chiles* (didn’t do this as I hadn’t got them in the cupboard! Shame on me.)
  • 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pint/500ml water or beef broth

I’ve de-Americanised the recipe, cups to pints and so on


Heat a large saucepan or pot over medium high heat and add in the cooking oil. Swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan or pot. Sprinkle the flour over the roast and rub it in evenly over the surface. Carefully place the beef into the hot pan and let it sizzle for 2-3 minutes or until it’s browned nicely. The idea is not to cook it, but to sear the outside to seal in the juices. Turn the roast over and sear the other side. If the roast is thick enough, you can also brown the sides as well.

Place the roast into a slow cooker (or, as I did, carry on in the pan you fried the beef in and stick the oven on to 110C). Use a spoon to smear the annatto paste over the top. One at a time, sprinkle on the ground cumin, chile powder, oregano, garlic, cocoa and salt. Add a can of chopped green chiles, and the can of tomatoes. You can pour them right on top of the roast. Peel the onion, and chop it into quarters or smaller. Add those in as well. Pour the water or beef broth into the bottom of the crockpot, it should come up at least an inch or two up the sides of the roast. You don’t want the liquid to come up too high, or it will be soupy.

Cook at 110-130C for 7-8 hours. After the time is up, the beef should be fork tender and fall apart easily. There should be barely any liquid in the bottom of the pan and what is left should be of a gravy consistency. Use two forks or a slotted spoon to remove any large chunks of fat from the roast. Shred the remaining beef by pulling it apart into chunks or strands. Mix the liquids and beef together until it is well combined. We had this with hot tortillas, chipotles en adobo, pink pickled onions, rice and beans.

The original of this recipe can be found here: / Mexican Shredded Beef and I urge anyone and everyone to sign up to their newsletter.

3 responses to “Mexican slow-cooked beef (and all the trimmings)”

    • It really was awesome! And there was enough left over to do another full meal on Tuesday. Very cost-effective and not a lot of hassle to cook. I can really recommend the Wahaca At Home cookbook, it does a great job of de-mystifying and Anglicizing a lot of the recipes you find online. And is one of the best online shops for the hard-to-find stuff I’ve ever come across.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *