My slow cooker summers on the countertop, seeing even more action in my little kitchen than it does in the cold weather months. I'm much more willing to flip a switch on the cooker than I am to endure the heat of the oven or stove.
That does not mean I'm averse to hot food, especially hot and spicy food, the kind of food that originates in hot-weather countries. For this shredded beef, I use my favorite flat-cut brisket, covered with a dry rub, then simmered in a sauce made entirely of tart green salsa verde (made with tomatillos rather than tomatoes). What could be easier? You can find salsa verde in fiery or mild varieties, so please choose your favorite. Though I often use Trader Joe's Hatch Valley Salsa, which is incendiary, my current hearthrob is Herdez, with a delightful, but slightly milder, kick, and no sugar or preservatives. The salsa mellows a bit in the long, slow cooking. Shred the cooked beef and roll it in a tortilla, or fold into scrambled eggs.
Slow cooker salsa verde shredded beef
From the pantry, you'll need: chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, kosher salt, fresh black pepper, peanut oil (or other neutral oil), salsa.
1-1/2 to 2 lb flat-cut brisket, trimmed of exterior fat
2 Tbsp chili powder (I like Penzeys BBQ 3000)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1 tsp neutral oil (vegetable, peanut, canola, etc.)
16 oz store-bought salsa verde (I like Herdez brand, which has no preservatives or sugar)
Dry the brisket with paper towels. Cut into four pieces, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Dredge each piece of meat in the spice mix, coating all sides well.
In a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, add the oil, and brown the pieces of meat on all sides. (If you are using a 6-quart Ninja Cooking System, like I do, you can do this step right in the slow cooker.)
Transfer the meat to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Pour in the salsa verde. Set the cooker to LOW and cook for 8 hours; the meat should be very tender.
After the meat is cooked, transfer the pieces to a large mixing bowl. Turn the slow cooker to HIGH and let the liquid reduce by half (this will take 10 minutes or more, depending on your slow cooker).
With two forks, shred the beef, and when the liquid is reduced, return the meat to the slow cooker and mix well with the liquid.
Serve hot, or remove from the cooker, let the meat cool completely, and refrigerate or freeze. Serve over rice, with tortillas, or in quesadillas or burritos.
More slow cooker spicy beef:
Slow cooker Southwestern beef brisket, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooker chipotle beef enchiladas, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooker spicy Asian beef short ribs, from Hip Foodie Mom
Slow cooker shredded beef tacos with spicy slaw and avocado, from Kalyn's Kitchen
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