Sunday, October 27, 2013

Testing a new product: Slow Cooker Taco Meat

I wanted to make tacos for today's game and I usually make them with ground beef seasoned with spices. Nothing special. I went to the market and discovered a packaged sauce mix called Campbells Slow-Cooker Sauces; Mexican Red Chili Taco. "Just add beef" it says. As I already used a pre-made spice mix for my tacos, and I love my slow cooker, I thought... "What the Hell?" and gave it a try. I have now made it twice. I did make a couple of alterations but essentially it was just as made by the directions. Here's how it went...

The recipe on the package says to use a 2-3 pound boneless chuck roast. My first time making this I felt that it was wayyy to juicy and could braise more meat so there'd be leftovers for enchiladas later in the week. So I used a 4 pound roast.
It also did not say to brown the meat but I always brown meat before it goes into the slow cooker to develop that nice carmelization. Brown on all sides.

After the meat was browned I added just a little chopped onion and deglazed the pan with some red-wine vinegar and a little water. I boiled that down to a syrup and added it to the slow cooker.

I popped the roast into the slow cooker, squeezed the sauce onto the top of the meat and covered. I cooked the roast on low for 8 hours.
After 8 hours, it has shrunk considerably and produced a lot of juices. At this point you can take the meat out and de-grease the juices while you shred the beef.

Using two forks, shred the beef and remove any fat or collagen that may be apparent. (Note: At this point I shredded the beef and poured the juices into a dish and put it into the fridge overnight so that the fat would congeal for easy fat removal. Warm the juices and add to shredded beef and continue with the next step.)

Add the shredded meat back to the de-greased juices, add salt to taste and 1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar (as they say at America's Test Kitchen) to brighten the sauce up and keep warm until time to eat.

Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!
I will say that it was very tasty and so easy too. They have other flavors I am going to try like "Korean BBQ" and "Tavern-Style Pot Roast". The pot roast cannot be any more peculiar than that old stand-by of onion soup mix and condensed cream of mushroom soup. I'm going to try them all.

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