Perhaps you feel pretty good about cooking ground beef, but those larger cuts can straight up inspire fear. How can you cook a big brisket without making it taste like bark? Well, thanks to your slow cooker, you have the luxury of going to yoga class, book club, and work AND successfully cooking any cut of beef to tender perfection without having to nervously watch over it. Cooking beef low and slow for hours helps break up connective tissue, making less expensive cuts of meat as tender as a filet. All you need is a reliable slow-cooker beef recipe and our tips for a job well done. Pun intended.

Best cuts of beef for slow-cooking

  • Brisket: This cut is best for traditional barbecue and French dip sandwiches. Cook brisket on low for six to eight hours, and sprinkle in ample seasonings such as barbecue rub or salt, pepper, garlic, and onion. The fat on this cut of beef helps keep the meat juicy. Shred it before assembling in sandwiches or serving over mashed potatoes.
  • Chuck Roast: This versatile (and inexpensive!) cut is works well in stew, pot roast, or pulled beef — slow-cooker tacos, anyone? Though it takes the longest, eight to 10 hours on low, chuck is worth the wait. To make an easy pot roast, add the meat along with carrots, onion, potatoes, celery, mushrooms, water, and seasonings to taste.
  • Ground beef: Ground beef can be cooked in a slow cooker — pour in a fourth of a cup of water for each pound of beef.  Cook it on high for two to three hours, or low for four to six. Use ground beef in chili, hearty soup, or bolognese sauce for spaghetti.
  • Stew Beef: Butchers often take the odds and ends of beef, cut it into one-inch bits, and market it as “stew beef,” though this type of beef can be used in much more like tacos and pot pie. Try the inexpensive (and often pre-chopped!) cut in other hearty comfort foods like beef stroganoff too. Cook it on low heat for seven to eight hours or on high heat for three to four hours.

What is your favorite way to slow-cook beef? Tell us @BritandCo.

(Illustrations via Yising Chau / Brit + Co)