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Feb 13, 2013 04:03 PM

Best beef cuts for slow cooking

So I'm asking this question on behalf of my boss. He likes to do roasts in his crock pot, but hasn't been able to get the texture he likes with beef. He's wondering if he is using the wrong cuts. He did a pork shoulder, and liked how well that "pulled", but he prefers the taste of beef. I've never used a crock pot and have never roasted whole roasts of beef (other than tenderloin) or pork, so I have no idea.

So, what are the best cuts for doing in the crock pot to get a nice "pulled" result?

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  1. Beef chuck is pretty good for a slow cooker pot roast.

    If he wants a cut of beef that will shred, I suggest a 7-bone pot roast which is from the chuck. Rump/bottom round roast will shred too.

    Brisket is an option, but I personally think briskets dry out too quickly if you don't eat it fresh.

    First choice would be chuck.

    1. Any chuck or round will work best for slow cooking.

      The big question for your boss is: How long did he cook his roasts before... This would make all the difference. :-)

      6 Replies
      1. re: madcookist

        I agree with this and I have the same problem as your boss. Beef takes forever. When you think it's been in for so long that it can't possibly cook any more it probably needs a couple more hours. You have to get out of the mindset that you're cooking meat. You're not. The meat is already cooked way past well done. You're cooking connective tissue.

        1. re: nokitchen

          This is a very good point, I'll have to ask him how long he does it for.

          1. re: juliejulez

            How long is the wrong question. Ask someone who does barbecue, and they'll tell you "it's done when it's done." Personally, I use a remote thermometer. Tough beef cuts are "done" (sliceable) at about 195 degrees, and "pullable" at about 205-210 degrees.

            1. re: sbp

              Keyword is "Slow Cooking"... :-)

              So, how long is actually an important variable in the equation, maybe much more than temperature, since she mentioned Crock Pot. A Slow Cooker doesn't have much options in controlling heat very well.

              Pulling meat is due to connective tissues, "disconnecting", which is a process done from slow and low temperature cooking.

              In cooking, "How Long" is as important as "How Hot", one doesn't go without the other.

              1. re: madcookist

                Well, yes and no. I assumed low and slow. At that point, final temp is what you need to look for. Hot enough for collagen to melt, not so hot it dries out. You can't give an accurate time based estimate on "done." The same sized pork shoulder may take 9 hours one time, 12 hours the next. Sometimes the meat is denser, some time there is more fat content, etc.... But a low and slow "tough cut" roast will be ready at 200 degrees.

                1. re: sbp

                  True enough. But if his problem is texture as opposed to moisture I guarantee the answer is "longer." How much longer? I can't tell that. But longer.

      2. Chuck, short rib, brisket, shanks.

        3 Replies
          1. re: gordeaux

            I like a chuck roast, choice if I can get it, throw in some short ribs, a little red wine plus veggies all in the crock pot. Yum.

            1. re: gordeaux

              Seems a shame to waste a perfectly good brisket in a crock pot.

            2. Short ribs
              Chuck roasts

              1. Beef shank gives a good result, if you do it for long enough. And long enough is a lot longer than you might think.