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Our zesty, flavorful Mexican Shredded Beef is the delicious basis for so many different recipes! Cook up a batch tonight!

Mexican Shredded Beef

This Mexican Shredded Beef is an adapted version of the one that my husband Jack made many years ago, when he worked at the popular Edgewater Café, in Magnolia, Massachusetts.  At the restaurant, they used large, commercial pressure cookers to cook the beef, but our version is cooked low-and-slow in the oven, making it a recipe that anyone can prepare at home.

I’ve got to say – the aromas that fill our house when this Mexican Shredded Beef is cooking in the oven are pretty amazing!


How do you make Mexican Shredded Beef?

First, place a layer of sliced onions and peppers in the bottom of a baking dish or Dutch oven – this serves as a bed for the beef as it cooks.

Then, a wet rub made with tomato paste, honey, spices, chili sauce and our popular Rocket Fuel (or your favorite hot sauce) is slathered over the beef before it is cooked.

Roast in the oven for about 3 to 3 ½ hours* and your Mexican Shredded Beef will be fork tender and ready to shred for sandwiches or other recipes!

Mexican Shredded Beef

What kind of beef should I use?

We have made this recipe a number of times over the years with different grades of chuck roast – ranging from a really nice Angus beef to a less expensive, lower grade of beef known as “select”.

*The cooking times varied greatly as a result. The select grade of beef, for example, took almost five hours to become fall-apart tender, while the Angus beef was tender in a little over two hours. Depending on your cut of beef, you’ll need to check to make sure your beef is tender.  (It may even be easier to make this a day ahead of serving, or start it early in the day to make sure the meat is ready for your meal.)


Mexican Shredded Beef

What recipes can I make with this Mexican Shredded Beef?

Here are a few delicious options:

Can I make this in a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot?

Lots of readers have asked this question – and the answer is yes, although we do think the best caramelized flavor will come from roasting the beef in the oven as written in our recipe below.

Mexican Shredded Beef

Can I freeze the leftovers?

Yes – in fact, we often cook up a batch of this Mexican Shredded Beef, then freeze half for a recipe another day. Just seal the portions of beef in an air-tight bag to avoid freezer burn (a food saver bag sealing system like this works especially well.)

This Mexican Shredded Beef recipe originally appeared on A Family Feast in September 2013. We’ve updated the photos and post text.

You may enjoy these other Mexican dishes:

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Mexican Shredded Beef

Mexican Shredded Beef

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: entree
  • Method: braise
  • Cuisine: Mexican


½ large onion, peeled and cut into large slices

½ large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large slices

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon dried cumin

½ teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon Rocket Fuel, or your favorite hot sauce

½ teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce

2 ½ pounds chuck roast

1 cup beef stock


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a 9×13-inch glass baking dish or Dutch oven with cover, lay sliced onions and peppers on bottom.
  3. Mix tomato paste, agave or honey, all the dried spices, Rocket Fuel and the chili sauce. Smear all over the beef, then set beef over peppers and onions. Pour the beef stock around the sides of the beef.
  4. Cover with parchment paper and then foil, sealing tight. (Or place the cover on the Dutch oven.)
  5. Roast in oven for three hours or until fork tender. Check after three hours and cook for another 30 minutes if not falling apart tender. Depending on the size, grade, quality and cut of the chuck, this cooking time could be much longer, see notes. *
  6. With two forks, shred meat and mix with all liquid, cooked onions and cooked peppers.
  7. Use as a filling for a variety of Mexican or Southwestern-inspired dishes.


* We have made this a few times with different grades of chuck from a really nice Angus beef to a really low grade of beef known as “select”. The cooking times varied greatly as a result. The low grade of beef for example took almost five hours to become fall apart tender, where the Angus was tender in a little over two hours. Depending on all of the variables, you need to keep checking and cooking until tender. It might be easiest to make this a day ahead, or start cooking early in the day to ensure that your beef is ready for your meal.

Keywords: Mexican Shredded Beef

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Mexican Shredded Beef

Mexican Shredded Beef

Mexican Shredded Beef

Mexican Shredded Beef

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  • Erik wrote:

    Great recipe, mine turned out perfectly. Do you have any thoughts on adding achiote to the rub?

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Erik! We haven’t cooked with achiote! Please let us know how it comes out if you try adding it to the recipe!

  • Jenni wrote:

    I was wondering if I’m only using 1 1/2 lbs do I need to cut the cooking time down by half?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jenni – It will take less time with less beef, but probably more than 1/2 the original cooking time. I’d suggest start checking it half way through and then every 20-30 minutes until the beef is fork tender. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Lina wrote:

    Hi Martha,

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely recipe. I have done this meal in advance for lunch wih friends and I am a bit worry on how to reheat it. Would you recomend to heat it up in the oven a low temperature or high temperature or maybe better in a pan?



    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Lina – Assuming you’ve cooked it completely, I’d recommend simply reheating it in a pan on the stove top or even in the microwave – just enough to warm it up! Hope that helps and we hope you all enjoy the recipe!

  • Sandra Bee wrote:

    I made the Mexican shredded beef. I thought it was pretty flavorless and desperately needed salt. Also, it took a lot longer to cook than 3 hrs, it actually took over 5 hours. The consistency was wonderful, and it was a great base recipe, but it needed way more flavor. I did leave out the sriracha, as we do not like that, but I put extra regular hot sauce in. I will doctor it up tonight to give it some flavor, and will use the recipe as a base recipe, after I adjust the seasonings. Love the red pepper in it, gives it a beautiful and authentic look!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Sandra!

  • lawrence wrote:

    Hello Susan,

    This recipe looks amazing. If I were to make double the recipe, and cook side by side in separate pans, do you think it would affect the cooking time in any way?

    • Jack wrote:

      Yes, your oven’s heat is now dissipated which will extend the cooking time. I would cook to the directions, then test every 30 minutes to gauge the extended cooking time. With baked goods, you don’t want to do this but with non-baked goods, it is fine and just takes longer. Another option would be to boost the temperature by 25 degrees and still check it every 30 minutes after the full cooking time.

      • lawrence wrote:

        Thank you Jack for the swift reply. I am going to be making this tomorrow for a gathering, and appreciate the feedback.

        • Jack wrote:

          You are quite welcome. If you are worried about timing, you could make this ahead, refrigerate and reheat as needed. Pulled meat recipes are very forgiving.

  • Alma wrote:

    I am so happy I came across this recipe. Absolutely love it! I’ve already made this recipe three times. I’m obsessed!!

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you are enjoying the recipe Alma! (You should try the chicken version too!) 🙂

  • Susan Lee wrote:

    Thanks for the great recipe, and thanks also for adding the feature that let’s you print off just the recipe! I will be back for more recipes.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Susan!

  • Serena wrote:

    Hi in the recipe it states to use red pepper – but what kind? I’ve been to a farmers market, and 3 different grocery stores including a specifically hispanic one. The only red peppers I can find are either bell peppers or dried peppers, maybe if you can tell me more specifically the name of the red pepper I’ll have a better chance of finding it???? Thanks

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Serena – my huge apologies for the confusion. It should be red bell pepper – and we’ve updated the recipe to reflect the clarification. I hope you enjoy the recipe and sorry again for the confusion!

  • Bill wrote:

    In your instructions you say in number 3 to add chili paste-didnt you mean chili powder?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Bill – Thanks for catching our typo! We meant to say chili sauce! I’ll go update the recipe right away! Thanks again!

  • kinski wrote:

    Hi, I made this and cooked for the recommended 3.5 hours but my beef turned out a little chewy (I used very high quality organic chuck) to make it melt in the mouth would you recommend cooking further? Can I re-cook it after it’s been in the fridge overnight?

    • Jack wrote:

      Yes – you can definitely cook it further. Just make sure there is enough liquid as you start to reheat and cook further.

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