Certain cuts of beef—hard-working ones, with lots of beefy flavor, that take a lot of simmering to get tender—were practically made for the slow cooker. Brisket, chuck, and other traditional pot-roast cuts—even plain old ground chuck—are never better than after 4 or 5 hours at a slow, gentle simmer in the crock pot. Here are 6 of our all-time beefy favorites.
1. Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches
This recipe is no-fail. It has richness and a sweet-spicy-tangy balance that lifts it out of the sugar-fat dimension some barbecue is stuck in. Remember to save any leftover sauce: It makes a great glaze for meatloaf and a killer topping for nachos. Get our Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches recipe.
2. Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket
Rub the beef with a combination of chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, cayenne, and garlic, then slow-cook it in a sweet-savory sauce that includes smoky chipotle chiles to be transformed into tender morsels of barbecue goodness. Get our Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Brisket recipe.
3. Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Crock-Pots, the original slow cookers, were practically invented to make beef stew: The gentle heat eases the tough meat into tender, flavorful bits. Get our Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe.
4. Slow Cooker Beef Goulash
Pieces of boneless short ribs simmer gently for 4 hours unattended so you can go do something else, until you’re ready to boil egg noodles and serve up a dish of old-fashioned comfort. Get our Slow Cooker Beef Goulash recipe.
5. Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
All the carefully attended stovetop production of traditional Bolognese becomes something far more manageable by pulling out the crock pot. Patience is still a factor (your nonna wouldn’t have it any other way), but the sauce can simmer away on its own, while you go do something else. Get our Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese recipe.
6. Easy Slow Cooker Chili
Slow cooking is the easiest way to get the richness of a long-simmering stovetop chili. To start developing the flavors, sauté vegetables, ground beef, and spices, then put the mixture into the slow cooker along with tomatoes and kidney beans. Let the chili cook overnight or all day until it’s thickened and has a nice beefy flavor. Get our Easy Slow Cooker Chili recipe.