Slow Cooker Pulled Beef with maple chipotle barbecue sauce is a delicious, kid-friendly weeknight dinner with only 15 minutes of prep. Serve it on top of buns with coleslaw for a yummy easy meal.

two plates with pulled beef sandwiches and coleslaw

I love this Slow Cooker Pulled Beef recipe because it is a combo of barbecue food- that which we associate with outdoor summer ease– buns dripping with slow cooked and smoky meat– married with the time-saving necessity of using a slow cooker for busy weeknight dinners.

Ingredients For Slow Cooker Pulled Beef

Beef chuck roast

Beef chuck is a great cut of meat to use for pulled beef because it is a tough and inexpensive cut of meat from the shoulder area of the steer. It has a lot of connective tissue that breaks down when slowly simmered in the slow cooker. I use it in this Slow Cooker Beef Chuck and Porcini Mushroom Pasta too for the same reasons. It needs to braise for four hours to become tender.

Sweet onion

To improve the level of sweetness in the barbecue sauce, I used a sweet onion. To learn how to dice an onion check out my tips. 

Crushed tomatoes

The body of the barbecue sauce/braising liquid is canned crushed tomatoes. If you can find them, I prefer the fire roasted variety because it adds smoky flavor to the recipe.

Pure maple syrup

I like to use maple syrup in place of refined sugars whenever possible. My family makes and sells maple syrup and I even wrote a cookbook about it (published in 2015.) Look for amber rich or dark robust grade A pure maple syrup. You can buy our syrup when available here

Tomato paste

To thicken the braising liquid I used a quarter cup of tomato paste.

Apple cider vinegar

The vinegar in the braising liquid balances the sweetness and is a nice balance with the rich beef. 

Coarse grain or brown mustard

For added flavor and a savory taste I added in mustard. I like coarse grain if you can find it, but brown deli style mustard also works really well. 

Chili powder, Salt, Pepper and Chipotle chili powder

The seasonings are chili powder, chipotle powder and salt and pepper. If you do not like spicy food, use 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon chili powder and the salt and pepper instead of the ratio in the recipe card below. 

How To Make Shredded Beef in the Crock Pot

  1. Place beef chuck roast in the insert of a large slow cooker. Top with onion.
  2. Whisk crushed tomatoes, maple syrup, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, salt, chipotle chili powder and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour over the beef.
  3. Cover the slow cooker, and set to low heat for 8 hours.
  4. When timer is up, remove beef to a cutting board, and remove any visible pieces of fat. Shred the meat with forks. Skim any fat off of the sauce. Return the meat to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve with the barbecue sauce.

a bun piled high with shredded beef

Make Ahead Tips and Serving Suggestions

To Make Ahead:

Fridge: Cook and cool the beef. Store in a resealable glass container for up to 4 days. Reheat until steaming hot in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Freezer: This beef can also be frozen and thawed as well. Freeze portions up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat until steaming hot. 

Serving Suggestions:

I love this recipe on soft buns. You can also serve it with soft slice bread like they do at Texas barbecue restaurants. My Whole Wheat bread is really soft and ready in just over an hour. If you are looking for a coleslaw to go with this recipe I have several. Cornbread is great. My gluten-free cornbread is a great alternative for GF folks. 

This Festive Kale Slaw with Raspberries is the one we shot these photos with. We skipped the almonds today, but they would also be great too. 

This Classic Healthy Coleslaw is basic and delicious! For a fresh twist, this cilantro and lime spiked Mexican Coleslaw would pair well with these flavors too. 

We had corn on the cob too. Try grilled corn with chipotle lime butter!

Classic Cookout side dishes are also good options with this recipe. This German Potato Salad, or if the weather is nice enough to grill these grilled potatoes are nice slightly sweet accompaniments. 

Other Recipes You’ll LOVE

 

Thanks for reading. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! 

Happy Cooking!

~Katie

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bbq shredded beef in a bun from the side

slow-cooker pulled beef with maple chipotle barbecue sauce

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Slow-cooker pulled beef with maple chipotle barbecue sauce is a delicious, kid-friendly weeknight dinner with only 15 minutes of prep. Serve it on buns with coleslaw for an easy meal.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 to 3.5 pounds beef chuck roast, preferably grass-fed
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, dark or amber
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coarse grain or brown mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Place beef chuck roast in the insert of a large slow cooker. Top with onion.
  2. Whisk crushed tomatoes, maple syrup, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, salt, chipotle chili powder and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour over the beef.
  3. Cover the slow cooker, and set to low heat for 8 hours.
  4. When timer is up, remove beef to a cutting board, and remove any visible pieces of fat. Shred the meat with forks. Skim any fat off of the sauce. Return the meat to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve with the barbecue sauce.

Notes

To make ahead:

Cook and cool the beef. Store in a resealable glass container for up to 4 days. Reheat until steaming hot in the microwave or on the stovetop.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 3.5 ounces meat
  • Calories: 262
  • Sugar: 13 g
  • Sodium: 427 mg
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6 g
  • Trans Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 20 g
  • Cholesterol: 66 mg