I couldn’t decide what to name this Crispy Mexican Shredded Beef. I started with this recipe I found for Carne Deshehabra, which is what Chuys puts in their tacos dorados, and played around with it a bit, both with the ingredients and method until I was happy.
What makes it Crispy Mexican Shredded Beef is the single additional step at the end: after shredding the meat crank it up to high and pan-fry it in its own fat and juices. I added this step because I’m not really big texturally on the mouthfeel of fat and marbling in meat. Frying it dries it out a bit and eliminates any ‘gloopiness’ that might be there. If you enjoy it, feel free to skip this step.
Crispy Mexican Shredded Beef Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Crispy Mexican Shredded Beef recipe:
- Chuck roast: Chuck roast is a great option because it’s inexpensive and has the right amount of marbling so it’ll stay tender during the low, slow simmer. Leaner cuts might become tough.
- Chipotles in adobo, garlic, yellow onion, cilantro: Our aromatics. These do most of the flavoring, and mostly get pureed into the sauce the meat is simmered in, but some of the cilantro is saved to stir in at the end.
- Beef broth: Water, chicken broth, or vegetable are all fine substitutes. If you use water you’ll want to increase the salt.
- Vegetable oil: Just to sear the chuck roast in the beginning. The Crispy Mexican Shredded Beef is crispy because it’s pan-fried in the fat it releases as it cooks, not anything extra.
- Lime juice: A kick of freshness and flavor at the end.
- Kosher salt, black pepper, ground cumin, Mexican oregano, bay leaves: Our dry flavorings. Regular dried oregano would be fine.
How to Make Crispy Mexican Shredded Beef
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Crispy Mexican Shredded Beef recipe:
- Make the sauce. To the bowl of your food processor or blender add the onion, chipotles in adobo, cumin, oregano, beef broth, and about half of the cilantro. Blend into a puree, then set aside. Season your chuck roast pieces liberally with the kosher salt and black over. Make sure you hit all sides.
- Sear the meat. Place a heavy-bottomed pot or saute pan – I used this 6 qt braiser – over medium-high heat and allow it to preheat until the oil is rippling or the surface of the pan is slightly smoking, whichever happens first. Add the chuck roast in a single layer, leaving about 2 inches of space between them. Sear undisturbed for 3 minutes, then flip the pieces and continue until each piece is seared on each side. Sear the meat in batches if needed.
- Simmer until tender. When all the meat has been seared pour the sauce you blended together in. Turn to coat all of the meat in the sauce, and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium – medium-low if the sauce is simmering vigorously, you want it simmering gently – and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 2-3 hours, flipping the pieces every hour or so, until the meat is tender and you can break it apart easily with tongs.
- Finish up the Crispy Mexican Shredded Beef. After the meat is tender add the lime juice and remaining cilantro. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then use tongs, forks, or your fingers to pull the meat apart, shredding it. Pick out any large pieces of fat, then give everything a stir to combine it with the sauce that has formed.
- Crispy, I said! Now here’s where we make it crispy: turn the heat up to high. Use tongs to flip, toss, and turn the meat around as it begins to fry it is own fat and juices. Fry for 3-5 minutes or until it’s the consistency you desire, tossing the entire time to make sure it doesn’t burn or dry out. Remove the pan from heat and you’re done. Dassit! Do you wanna see what it looks like if you don’t fry it? Just check out this picture:
What To Serve With Crispy Mexican Shredded Beef
This Crispy Mexican Shredded beef would go great in some Steak Quesaritos, or even subbed in my Spicy Chicken Taco recipe but I developed this recipe specifically for one of the other recipes I dropped today: Chuy’s Idol Beef Tacos. They’re deep-fried shredded beef tacos, topped with Chorizo Refried Beans and shredded cheddar cheese, and I definitely recommend you give it a go – they’re delicious!
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