How to Shred Beef
Shredded beef can be used in a wide range of recipes—tacos, barbecue beef sandwiches, chili, and more. You can shred cooked beef roast easily as long as you have one or two forks.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
2 lb (900 g) boneless beef rump roastORboneless beef chuck pot roast
1 cup (250 ml) beef broth
Single Fork Shredding Technique
Use a cooked roast.You cannot shred raw beef. Instead, you will need to shred the beef after you have already cooked it.
- Let the beef cool slightly before shredding it. For this method, it needs to be cool enough for you to safely touch without burning your skin.
Hold the roast steady with one hand.Place the beef on your cutting surface and hold it steady with your non-dominant hand.
- Make sure that your hands are clean and dry.
Shred off the beef with one fork.Identify the direction of the beef grain. Scrape the tines (prongs) of the fork along these grains, ripping off portions of cooked beef as you go.
- It will be easiest to hold the beef so that the grain runs to and away from you. As you scrape, draw the fork down the length of the grain and toward you.
Repeat as needed.You will need to continue scraping the fork along the grains of your beef roast until all the meat has been shredded. Pause occasionally during the process to manually remove pieces of beef from the fork whenever the tines get clogged.
- If you see any gristle in the beef as you work, discard the gristle, then continue shredding.
Use or store.Shredded beef can be used immediately, or you can store it in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- If you plan on storing the shredded beef, place 2-cup (500-ml) portions inside airtight containers and pour enough of the cooking liquid over the beef to moisten it. This cooking liquid prevents the beef from drying out.
- If you cannot use the beef within three days, place it in the freezer and store it for up to three months.
- Thaw the beef in your refrigerator, or place the contents of the container in a small saucepan and heat it over medium-low until the beef is adequately warm.
Double Fork Shredding Technique
Use a cooked beef roast.If you have not done so already, you will need to cook the beef before you can shred it. You cannot shred beef while it is still raw.
- Allow the beef to cool slightly before you shred it. You do not need to handle it directly with your hands when you use this method, so it does not need to be cool to the touch. Nonetheless, allowing the beef to rest for five minutes or so will let the juices settle and disperse throughout the meat more evenly.
Place two forks in the beef.Stick the tines (prongs) of both forks in the beef so that the two forks stand adjacent to each other and back to back.
Pull the forks in opposite directions.Drag both forks in exact opposite directions to remove shreds of cooked beef.
- Ideally, you should shred the beef along the grain instead of trying to work against it. Shredding in the direction of the grain will make the process easier and quicker.
Repeat as necessary.Continue pulling off shreds of beef by dragging the forks across the roast in opposite directions. If the beef does not fall off naturally, peel it off the fork from time to time and continue shredding. Repeat this as needed until all the beef has been separated into shreds.
- You may run across gristle and fat as you shred the beef. Discard it as you see it before continuing on.
Use immediately or save it for later.The shredded beef can be eaten immediately, but if you need to save it, you can store the beef in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- For longer storage, freeze the shredded beef up to three months.
- When preparing the refrigerate or freeze the beef, separate it into 2-cup (500-ml) portions and place those portions inside airtight containers. Pour enough cooking liquid over the beef to prevent it from drying out or from getting freezer burn.
- The beef can be thawed in your refrigerator or microwave. Alternatively, you can place the contents of the container in a saucepan and heat the beef on medium-low on your stove until warm.
Cooking Suggestion (Slow Cooker)
Cut the roast in half, if necessary.One of the easiest ways to cook beef you plan on shredding is to use a slow cooker. Depending on the size of the slow cooker, you may need to cut the roast in half to ensure that the entire thing will fit inside.
- For best results, use a 4-qt to 5-qt (4-L to 5-L) slow cooker.
- If you can fit the beef roast inside your slow cooker without cutting it in half, consider cooking it whole.
Combine the roast and the broth.Place the beef roast in your slow cooker and pour the beef broth over it evenly.
- If desired, you could add other ingredients to the slow cooker at this time to give the taste of the beef more depth. For instance, you could add up to two onions, cut into wedges, and two cloves of garlic, minced well. Place any aromatic ingredients like these on the bottom of the slow cooker and sit the beef on top of them.
Cook on high for 5 to 6 hours.Cover the slow cooker and slowly cook the beef roast until the beef is tender enough to peel off using nothing more than a fork.
- If you have enough time, try cooking the beef on low for 11 to 12 hours. Doing so will make the beef even more tender than it will be when cooked on high.
- The beef will be well-done. If you use a cooking thermometer to check the internal temperature of the beef roast, look for a temperature between 160 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit (71 and 77 degrees Celsius).
Consider alternate cooking methods.While a slow cooker is one of the simplest kitchen appliances you can use to cook beef for shredding, this is not your only option. If you do not have a slow cooker or prefer another cooking technique for roasts, you may cook the roast using an alternate technique.
Things You'll Need
Forks, 1 or 2
Airtight container (optional)
Slow cooker (optional)
Sources and Citations
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