Shredded beef is used in recipes all over the world because the cuts of meat used are easily accessible. One traditional recipe that uses shredded beef is ropa vieja, a Latin American dish that features stewed shredded beef served over rice. In American classic recipes, beef is often shredded or sliced very thin and served tossed with barbecue sauce. Whatever the recipe you choose, it is best to serve it in combination with bread or rice to help carry the tender shredded meat.
The chuck roast is a tough, inexpensive beef cut that comes from the area between the neck and the shoulder. It is sometimes referred to as the "blade pot roast" because it can include a portion of the blade bone in the shoulder. To cook this cut for shredding, braise or roast a whole chuck roast or chuck stew meat in a covered pan to slowly tenderize the meat. Cook the chuck with chopped vegetables and a seasoned broth mixture to add flavor and moisture.
The rump roast is cut from the back leg of the cow. The meat is very lean, but also tough. When the bone is left in the rump roast, it is called a standing rump roast. This is an easy cut of beef to shred because it takes little preparation to taste good. Rump roast must, however, cook for a long time to become tender enough for shredding. In general, it should cook for two hours for each pound of roast at 250 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven or on high in a slow cooker for the easiest shredding. Cook it with 1 cup of wine or seasoned stock and cut up vegetables to add flavor.
The flank steak is cut from the lower hind quarters of the cow and is tough unless cooked properly. Flank steak can be grilled then cut across the grain in thin slices to shred it to serve barbecue style. To serve it shredded and stewed, it should be rolled up and slowly roasted with vegetables and seasoned broth. After roasting, the flank steak for at least four hours it should shred easily. Flank steak is commonly used for making ropa vieja.
The skirt steak is cut from the diaphragm muscle between the abdomen and chest cavity. It is tough unless cooked properly. Skirt steak is commonly used for fajitas, but it can also be rolled and slowly roasted to be pulled for shredded beef. Skirt steak offers a substantial amount of marbling, which gives the meat good flavor after it is slow cooked.