The secret to the best shredded beef is to cook it low and slow. We use our oven for this, but you can just as easily use a slow cooker. Check the notes section in the recipe below for our tips.
4 to 5 pounds boneless beef chuck, pork shoulder or lamb shoulder
2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil, such as grape seed or canola
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder, see our homemade chili powder recipe
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
Taco toppings such as avocado, onion, cilantro, and lime
Heat oven to 275 degrees F and heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Generously season both sides of the beef with salt and pepper. Add oil to hot pot. Add beef and cook, turning occasionally, until beef is well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes.
Add garlic, tomato paste, and the spices to the pot. Then, add the water so it comes up about three-quarters of the way up the side of the beef. Stir then cover with lid and cook until the meat is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Transfer the meat to a bowl, and let it cool, then shred it with a fork. Strain the cooking liquid and skim off the fat that has collected at the surface. Place the liquid back into the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced by about half. Taste the liquid and adjust with more salt or pepper. Pour liquid over the shredded beef. Serve with tortillas and taco toppings.