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Shredded Beef Tacos

by on January 7, 2012 · 14 comments

umm. yeah.

We love tacos, don’t you? We love them even more after eating these. We braise (cook something that has liquid added and is covered with a lid or foil) beef with our favorite selection of spices and lots of garlic for over 3 hours until we could literally pull it apart. We dare you to only have 2 tacos. We top our tacos with avocado, lime and cilantro. A few diced raw onions would be a nice touch, too. Keep it simple, the beef should shine.


How to make Shredded Beef Tacos

You are going to need a few spices for this, start with chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. In addition to that, grab 3-4 cloves of garlic and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.

Peel and smash the garlic cloves, you won’t need to mine or chop the garlic, we just want the flavor.

That is a 4 pound chuck roast (on the label it said Pot Roast). Generously season one side with salt and black pepper.

Add the beef, seasoned side down into very hot oil, and then season the other side. Allow the beef to brown on each side.

Thrown in all the spices, garlic and tomato paste. Then, add 3-4 cups of water. Add enough water so that it comes at least 3/4 of the way up the beef.

Cover then bake in a 275 degree oven for 3-4 hours. Our 4 pound roast did it in 3, but just check after 3 hours. If the beef is easily shredded, it’s done.

See… that is done.

Now, remove the beef and use two forks to shred the beef.

Strain the liquid left in the pot.

Next, use a spoon to remove the fat that collects on the top of the cooking liquid. See that smaller bowl on the right? That is all fat. Discard all the fat, we don’t need it.

Add the cooking liquid (with fat removed) to the pot then add 2-3 teaspoons of real maple syrup to the liquid. This is only to balance the flavors a bit. This is also a good time to taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary.

Allow the liquid to reduce by half then pour over the shredded beef.

Now, find a tortilla, some avocado, cilantro, lime and maybe some diced onions and make yourself an AMAZING taco!

We created this recipe for Betty Crocker and are excited to share it with you!

3.7 from 3 reviews
Shredded Beef Tacos
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Making shredded beef is quite a simple process, you just need to have the time to allow it to braise. A 3-4 pound chuck roast will take around 3 hours to cook. The trick to melt in your mouth shredded beef is cooking low and slow.
Created By:
Yield: 4-6
You Will Need
  • 4 to 5 pounds chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons real maple syrup
  • 10-12 tortillas
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 limes, quartered
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F and heat a large dutch oven (large oven safe pot with lid) over high heat.
  2. Generously season one side of the beef with salt and pepper.
  3. Add oil to hot pot then add the beef, seasoned side down, to the hot oil. Allow to sear 2 minutes until browned. While the first side is searing, season the second side of beef with salt and pepper. Flip then sear on the other side.
  4. Add garlic, spices and tomato paste to the pot. Then, add the water so it comes up 3/4 way up the side of the beef. Stir then cover with lid and cook in the oven 3 hours. Check beef after 3 hours, if the beef shreds easily, it is done, if not, cook for 30-40 more minutes.
  5. Remove beef and shred with 2 forks.
  6. Strain cooking liquid and skim off any fat then add strained liquid to the pot and bring to a simmer.
  7. Add maple syrup and cook liquid until reduced by half. Taste for seasoning then pour over shredded beef.
  8. Add beef to tortilla and top with avocado, lime and cilantro.

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About the Author


I'm Joanne Gallagher and alongside my husband, Adam, I develop, test and share favorite recipes from our kitchen. I'm completely in love with food and you'll most likely find me covered in flour, chocolate or both.

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1 SugarFreeMom January 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm

LOVE this recipe, LOVE.IT!


2 Molly @ Toffee Bits and Chocolate Chips January 11, 2012 at 11:29 pm

yummm!! These look amazing!!


3 John May 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Can you use ground cinnamon for the sticks?


4 Joanne May 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Hi John, Yes – You can use ground cinnamon — try 1/4 teaspoon per stick. So, in this recipe, you’ll want to add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.


5 Madison July 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm

That looks so amazing! But seriously, maple syrup? Can you taste the maple syrup? You mention that it balances all the spices. Can you say more about that? I’ve just never heard maple syrup use in the same sentence as Mexican food. I better ask my brother the gourmet but would love to hear your reasoning.

Thanks for your great site!


6 Joanne July 18, 2012 at 11:45 am

Hi Madison – yep, we really love using maple syrup when we’re working with smoky and spicy flavors. Maple syrup has a little edge to it’s flavor — a little smoky itself. You could certainly use brown sugar, honey or regular sugar — we just like the depth the maple adds.


7 Karla September 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m in the process of making it. I’ll let you know how it turned out. :)


8 Tim November 15, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Tried this yesterday. Definitely the best shredded beef tacos I have ever made. My wife came home and said “what is that heavenly smell”? after the pot had been in the oven all afternoon. Mine was fork tender in 3 hours. Thank you.


9 Hu December 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

“In addition to that, grab 304 cloves of garlic…”

304 cloves of garlic! Keeping the vampires away? jk

I think I’ll try this recipe this weekend.


10 Joanne December 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm

haha..good catch! Just edited the post :)


11 Wenonah March 13, 2013 at 7:30 am

FIVE stars! It came out like authentic Birria. I made this for a potluck at work and received a lot of compliments on it! I made it in the crockpot. it cooked on high for 2-3 hours then reduced to low and left for 5-6 hours more. Beef was shred tender. I added dried ancho chile (remove stem and seeds and soak two chiles in boiling water and purée in blender) and a little extra tomato paste too. After reducing the cooking liquid it tasted really salty on its own but it was fine once added to the meat. I only added a scant teaspoon salt to the broth at the beginning of cooking.


12 jdavis August 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm

thats not a taco. wheres the cheese onions tomatoes lettuce salsa?


13 Joanne August 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Hi there, we like to keep things really simple. You are welcome to add your favorite toppings, though :)


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