When you are meal prepping or trying to get an easy dinner on the table, your slow cooker can be a life saver. If you are wondering How to Make Beef in the Slow Cooker, look no further. These tips and tricks for cooking beef in a crockpot will help you create the perfect meals all year long!
HOW TO MAKE BEEF IN THE SLOW COOKER
My slow cooker is one of those kitchen helpers I use on a weekly basis. I use it year-round, whether the weather is hot or cold. I love it in the summer because my house won’t heat up by using the oven and I love it in the winter for all those comforting meals it provides my family. Today The Ohio Beef Council and I are teaming up to talk to you about How to Make Beef in the Slow Cooker.
When things get crazy in my house during the school year I turn to my crockpot for an easy, convenient beef dinner that is packed with protein. You can spend more time around the table eating as a family and less time cooking. I like to make beef as part of my meal-prep each week because preparing healthy meals ahead of time can help avoid eating unhealthy foods on days you’re short on time.
A 3-ounce serving of beef (about the size of an iPhone) provides more than 10 essential nutrients and half the daily recommended value of protein for less than 150 calories. Beef is a great source of protein for dinner and helps keep your energy fueled.
TIPS AND TRICKS WHEN USING YOUR SLOW COOKER TO COOK BEEF:
LOW & SLOW: When using a slow cooker, set the heat to low as often as possible. A slow, gentle heat really brings out the flavors. When preparing beef in the slow cooker, it should be cooked to 160 degrees, or until it is fork tender.
NO CROWDING: No one likes to be overcrowded, and beef is no exception. A slow cooker works best when it’s between ½ and 2/3 full of ingredients.
NO PEAKING: Leave that lid on and resist the urge to peek when using a slow cooker. This prevents the heat from escaping the crockpot which could lead to slowing the cooking process. Each peek you take will add an additional 20 minutes of cooking time.
LAYER BEEF ON TOP: When you are making something like a roast that has other ingredients besides beef, like vegetables and potatoes, make sure to cut everything into uniform size. Place potatoes and root vegetables, like carrots on the bottom and the beef on top.
DAIRY LAST: Dairy is great for creating a creamier dish but it can tend to bread down in the crockpot. Stir it in the last 15 minutes of cooking for best results.
HOW DO I ACHIEVE THE BEST FLAVOR WHEN USING A CROCKPOT TO COOK BEEF?
FRESH HERBS AND CITRUS: Fresh herbs are always a great way to brighten up a dish after cooking. I love to sprinkle fresh basil, parsley, thyme and oregano on top of my finished dish.
ADD OTHER FINISHING INGREDIENTS: Depending on your dish adding other finishing ingredients will boost the flavor. For example if I am making my Slow Cooker Italian Short Ribs I will sprinkle parsley and Parmesan cheese on top. If I am making Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce I will sprinkle on fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Other ingredients that can help brighten a dish include a squeeze of citrus, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or Sriracha for those Mexican or Asian style dishes.
BROWNING EQUALS FLAVOR: Browning the beef before adding it to the slow cooker boosts the flavor. Take an extra few minutes to brown each side of meat in a skillet with a small amount of oil which will help give it a deep, caramelized flavor.
While you are browning your meat you should preheat the slow cooker. By adding hot ingredients to a cold slow cooker means that the cooking is halted and the flavors are halted while the slow cooker heats up. So preheating will save you time– the best way to preheat it is to turn it on high when you start sautéing your aromatics or you are browning your beef. The cooker will heat up fast and be ready to turn down to the appropriate temperature when adding your sautéed mix.
WHAT MEALS CAN I MAKE WITH A 3 POUND SLOW COOKER ROAST OR SHORT RIBS?
Meal prep is such an important way to cut down time during the week cooking and preparing meals. When life gets busy it is nice to have your vegetables, grains and proteins already prepped and cooked. Beef is a great way to take some of the time out of meal prep by using the slow cooker.
Here are some ideas of meals you can make with a 3 pound slow cooker pot roast or short ribs. Once the meat is cooked just shred the meat to create these mouthwatering meals.
Beef Nachos: These easy Beef Nachos loaded with your favorite Mexican ingredients. Slow Cooker shredded beef is added to chips along with black beans, salsa, jalapeños, cheese, green onion and cilantro.
Three Cheese Beef Enchiladas: Use your shredded beef in these cheesy enchiladas. Just shred the beef and use it in place of the ground beef.
Greek Pitas: When making these Greek Pitas use the shredded beef in place of ground beef and load on your favorite Greek ingredients like olives, feta and fresh vegetables.
Shredded Beef Tacos: I love making tacos out of shredded beef. When serving the tacos give your guests a variety of toppings to pick from to spice up their tacos.
WHAT CUTS OF BEEF WORK BEST FOR THE SLOW COOKER?
The best beef cuts to cook in the crockpot are chuck roasts, shoulder pot roast, bottom round roast and short ribs. They all become meltingly tender with the moist, low heat of a slow cooker. One thing I really love about these cuts is that you can get a lot of servings of beef out of one meal. It is nice when you are meal prepping or want freezer portions. For example, a 3 pound roast makes up to 12 three-ounce servings.
ADDITIONAL SLOW COOKING RESOURCES:
These additional articles will help you with your slow cooker beef needs:
Today’s post is sponsored by the Ohio Beef Council. As always, opinions are 100% my own.