Slow cooking has become one of my favourite ways to cook but you need to know what the best cuts of beef for slow cooking.
Not only does it produce rich, tasty, melt-in-your-mouth dishes.
But it often means, very little prep and hands-off cooking.
So, you can pop it on, leave it to do its magic while you enjoy some free time.
You can cook everything from stews and casseroles, giving them amazing depth of flavour.
To chilli’s, Bolognese and even soups.
Slow-cooking is the way forward, in my opinion.
But what are the best cuts of beef for slow cooking?
The benefits of slow-cooking beef
The number one benefit is you can’t really dry out your meat.
Instead, low and slow pretty much guarantees juicy tenderness.
You can use cheaper, tougher cuts of beef.
Like beef chuck, which is a well-used muscle, and low and slow will turn it into melt-in-your mouth.
The reason it becomes really tender…
By cooking on a low heat for a long time in liquid encourages the breakdown of connective tissues and collagen.
So a low and slow cook breaks it down into gelatin, which makes it more tender.
And gives depth of flavour.
The fattier cuts of beef are good for slow cooking, as the fat helps to ensure beef won’t dry out.
And let’s be honest, fat equals flavour to.
You can also use slow-cooking to cook large batches and freeze for midweek meals.
Don’t like washing up loads of pots and pans?…
Or have a teenager who groans loudly at having to help?
Slow cooking is a one-pan meal… our teenager is much happier to see a slow-cook on the go.
Last but not least… a huge benefit to low and slow is the hands-free, no fuss cooking.
Just prep your food and leave it to simmer for hours until it becomes lovely and tender.
What are the best cuts of beef for slow cooking?
Beef chuck comes from the front of the animal.
Made up from parts of the neck, shoulder blade and upper arm.
You’ll have no problem finding chuck at a butchers.
But often they’ll just call it ‘diced beef’ or ‘beef stew meat’… something vague.
So, make sure you ask if it’s actual chuck because we need that tough collagen in the meat.
Check out this 4 ingredient beef chuck Italian stew, Tuscan peposo.
Beef shin comes from the animal shank.
So is a well worked muscle making tough and sinewy.
Perfect for braising slowly in the oven or slow cooker.
Shin can be cooked on or off the bone — osso bucco is a great bone-in shin dish.
A new love of mine.
It’s sometimes harder to get but usually you can order I advance.
Not as much meat but made up for by the extra gelatin-rich broth that’s beefy and mind-blowing.
Check out a fantastic oxtail and gnocchi recipe, here.
Skirt steak is a thin, long cut of beef with an intense beefy flavour.
It’s great for a high-heat flashed cook steak.
But is great for low and slow as it’s lean and tough.
Silverside is a lean, boneless cut of beef with less marbled fat than other cuts and a wide-grained texture.
It’s similar to topside, but slightly tougher, so it’s best when cooked low and slow to get nice and tender.
Brisket comes from the belly of the cow and can be fatty — hooray! That means flavour!
Cook brisket low and slow and you can literally shred it with a couple of forks.
Here’s a great recipe to try, Bloody Mary Brisket
Tips for slow-cooking
- Brown the beef first. You may need to do in batches.
- Seasoning. Just add just a little at the start and adjust at the end. Slow-cooking intensifies flavours.
- Keep the lid. This keeps the heat consistent on the low heat. If you want less liquid at the end, take the lid off for the last 30-45 mins.
- Make the day before. If you can do this then you’ll enhance the flavour and tenderness.
What’s your favourite beef cut for slow-cooking? Leave a comment…