Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Chili is my signature Chili recipe made with pulled beef! With deeper, even more complex flavours than classic Chilli Con Carne, beef is slow cooked in a rich, heavily spiced sauce until it’s fall apart tender, then gently teased apart before being tossed back into the sauce.
Make this in your slow cooker – OR pressure cooker, stove or oven. Directions provided for all!
Shredded Beef Chili
As far as I’m aware, the title for the world’s best Chili still sits with the original Ben’s Chili Bowl in Washington DC. It’s an institution, with a run down charm. The kind of place where you have to fight for a table and yell to put in your order.
Give me that any day over the quiet hush of fine dining!
Visiting Ben’s was the catalyst for my mission to make my own signature chili con carne. I didn’t even try to replicate Ben’s because I know it’s not possible. It would be like trying to crack the KFC code! (Which I have tried)
So this, my friends, is my signature Chili. A pulled beef chili. The same rich, complex, heavily spiced flavour in the sauce as classic Chili – with juicy shredded beef!
The effort vs output of this Chili Con Carne is off the charts!
What you need
Here’s what you need for Shredded Beef Chili.
No chili powder?
That’s right (she says firmly). Chili Powder as you know it in the US is actually a spice mix made with spices including ground chilli, cumin and oregano. Besides not being readily available outside the States, the flavour of Chili Powder varies from brand to brand. Being that it’s made of basic spices, it’s so much better to make your own which is what we do here – more consistent flavour!
How to make it
And here’s how to make it in the slow cooker.
The key step is to brown the beef very well. Colour = flavour, not only on the beef, but also the sauce because all the golden bits left on the skillet after browning the beef is dissolved into liquid and adds extra flavour into the sauce.
Having said that though, there have been times when I’ve skipped the browning (in emergencies only!). Then this literally becomes a dump, set and forget 10 minute prep job!
What to serve with Shredded Beef Chili
Just like with “normal” Chili made with ground / mince beef, lade into bowls then serve something on the side for dunking!
- Corn chips – my fave!
- Cornbread – muffins or made in a skillet (cut into pieces)
- With tortillas, bread rolls or similar
- Over rice
- Stuffed into baked potatoes!
In my world, Chili is just as much about the toppings as it is the dunking part. The non-negotiables are:
- Shredded cheese
- Sour Cream
- Coriander/cilantro leaves
The highly desirable include:
- Diced avocado or Guacamole (possibly I will move this up under non-negotiables)
- Lime wedges (a little squeeze can do wonders)
- Jalapeno, finely diced – very on theme, plus extra fresh heat
That’s it from me! Onto the recipe. 🙂 Just drop a comment below if you have any questions and I’ll be sure to answer them! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Shredded Beef Chili Con Carne
Recipe video above. My signature Chili recipe, made with pulled beef! The sauce has richer, more complex flavours that you can never achieve using ground / mince beef like traditional Chilli Con Carne. If you’re out of time, skip browning the beef – then it’s a 5 minute prep job, “set and forget”. Freezes exceptionally well.
- 2kg / 4lb beef chuck roast ((Note 1))
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp EACH salt and pepper
- 4 cloves garlic (, minced)
- 2 onions (, diced (brown, yellow, white))
- 1 large red capsicum/bell pepper (, seeds removed and diced)
- 1/2 cup (125ml) beef broth/stock ((or water))
- 800g / 28oz canned red kidney beans (, drained (2 x 400g/14oz cans))
- 800g/28oz crushed tomato
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup (250 ml) beef broth/stock
Homemade Chili Spices (Note 2)
- 1 tbsp EACH cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, smoked paprika ((or plain paprika))
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (, or to taste (spiciness))
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp cornflour / corn starch
- 1/4 cup (65ml) beef broth/stock or water
Brown Beef (Note 2)
Cut the beef into four equal sizes. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1/2 the oil in a heavy based skillet over high heat. Brown beef well all over – about 1 1/2 minute on each side, then remove onto a plate.
Add a touch more oil if needed.
Add the garlic, onion and capsicum (bell peppers) and saute until caramelised, around 2 to 3 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup beef broth, bring to simmer, scraping the bottom of the skillet to dissolve brown bits into the liquid. Simmer for 30 seconds then scrape it all into the slow cooker.
In the slow cooker, add the beans, tomato, tomato paste, beef broth and Chili Spices. Stir, then add beef – it won’t be fully submerged, beef juices will raise liquid level (see video).
Cook on low for 8 hours.
- Remove beef from slow cooker and shred with two forks.
Mix cornflour and 1/4 cup beef stock, then pour into slow cooker. Add beef, then slow cook for a further 20 minutes to allow sauce to thicken.
- Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with garnishes of choice, such as sour cream, guacamole or diced avocado, grated cheese, coriander/cilantro. Serve either with corn chips or cornbread for dunking, or serve over rice!
1. Beef – beef chuck is ideal, it’s marble with fat so it’s juicy and it shreds well. Boneless beef short rib is also ideal – beautifully juicy and also shreds well (slightly stringier than chuck).
Other cuts that work:
- Brisket will also work but it’s leaner
- Bolar blade roast – quite a lean cut but will work great, add 1 hour to cook time
2. Homemade Chili Powder – Chili Powder as sold in the US is a mix of spices. The flavour differs from brand to brand and also it’s not readily available outside the Sites. So I prefer to make my own – more consistent flavour outcome of the dish.
3. Searing the beef adds extra flavour as well as helping to seal the juices in the beef. But it’s an optional step – skip it to save time, just place everything in the slow cooker Still super delicious!
4. Other cook methods:
- Stove & oven – Add 1 cup water and simmer covered for 2.5 hours on low heat, or 3 hours (covered) in the oven at 160C/320F. Adjust sauce quantity at end with water if needed (depends how much evaporation there is which depends on how heavy your pot lid is)
- Pressure cooker / instant pot – 60 minutes on high
5. Storage – leftovers keeps 100% perfectly in the fridge for 4 – 5 days, or in the freezer for 3 months (thaw then reheat).
6. Nutrition per serving, Chili only (no toppings)
Originally published October 2014. I can’t believe it’s taken me 5 years to update it with new photos – and more importantly, a recipe video so you can see how amazing it looks!
Life of Dozer
Dozer on the job – cleaning up after filming the video. He takes his job very seriously!