Shredded Beef In A Roaster

Lightly seasoned and cooked until it falls apart in an electric roaster this Shredded Beef For A Crowd recipe is super delicious!

Close up brioche bun filled with a generous portion of tender shredded beef on a white serving platter.

How To Cook Shredded Beef In A Roaster

Warm and tender shredded beef made in an electric roaster oven is always popular at graduation parties, church gatherings, family reunions and for other crowds. Serve with our Cheesy Potatoes for a Crowd, Corn in A Roaster, and Pasta Salad for a Crowd for a party to remember.

A high quality meat cooked in tomato juice and other simple seasonings creates a wonderful center of the plate shredded beef sandwich. The tomato flavor adds a nice, sweet undertone and is not easy to recognize, but ensures the meat stays juicy.

Using chuck and round roasts is a more economical way to feed a crowd a quality beef product than our similar Brisket in a Roaster which is reminiscent of a BBQ restaurant pulled beef sandwich.

Overhead view of a big batch of hot, shredded beef in a roaster.

This hot beef sandwich recipe makes party day more successful because the bulk of the cooking and work is done ahead of time. The beef simply needs reheated in a roaster before the party. Shredded beef is great to use in a taco bar, sliders and sandwiches.

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Why This Recipe Works:

  • Easy way to cook several beef roasts at one time in an electric roaster which is more than would fit in a typical home oven at once.
  • Great way to feed a crowd in the form of sandwiches, tacos, sliders or a keto center of the plate offering without bread.
  • Prepare the meat ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to reheat for the party.
  • Cook beef in tomato juice and season later to your preference, just get the beef tender and shredded then you’ll have so many options!
  • Serve with BBQ sauce on the side because this beef tastes so good you don’t even need it!
Generous pile of shredded beef piled on a fresh bun on a white plate resting on a red and white plaid napkin.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Tomato Juice – Slightly sweet and slightly acidic to help tenderize the meat this secret ingredient makes this recipe much better. There is not a strong tomato flavor in the finished product.
  • Beef Consomme – Is richer than beef broth, but broth can easily be substituted.
  • Worcestershire – Adds that special undertone that compliments beef so well.
  • Liquid Smoke – The name implies the flavor, but use in moderation.
  • Garlic – I like garlic powder to make distribution easier, but freshly minced garlic or granulated garlic work well too.
  • Onion – Granulated onion is my preference, but cooking the beef with finely chopped onion is another option.
  • Salt – I like to use this ingredient more liberally in a beef roast than with other cuts of meat.
  • Pepper – Freshly ground black pepper is wonderful.
Ingredients to make shredded beef are chuck roasts on a cutting board, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, beef consomme, minced onion, seasoned salt, garlic powder, tomato juice.

Cook the beef in the liquid and know that more of the dry seasoning can easily be added in the serving and reheating process.

How Do You Cook Beef So It Shreds In An Electric Roaster?

I prefer to cook beef in a single layer of chuck roasts across the bottom of a larger roaster with at least 3/4 of the raw meat covered in liquid.

Electric roasters vary greatly and may not be true to temp, so be sure to watch closely and adjust up or down to change the speed of cooking.

What Cut Makes the Best Sandwiches?

Chuck roasts makes the best shredded beef that is super tender and juicy. Marbling or the white streaks in the meat and connective tissue around the bone cooks down to add so much flavor.

Round roast can also work, but takes longer to cook and will have a little less flavor because there is less fat. Fat helps flavor the meat.

Chuck roasts are the best cut of beef for shredding in our experience at home. Brisket is another great option if considering a much larger cut of meat.

How Much Shredded Beef For 100 People?

One pound of shredded beef usually makes 4 – 6 sandwiches on full size buns.

Estimate one pound will make 5 sandwiches, so 20 pounds of shredded beef is needed to feed 100 people.

Start with about 25 – 30 pounds of bone-in chuck roasts that will cook down, but liquid will be added as well to yield about 20 pounds of cooked meat. Please note there are a lot of variables that will affect this estimate, so just use this as a starting point.

I prefer to have leftovers and serve yourself food lines with a family of heavy eaters and teenagers, so I estimate 4 sandwiches per pound. If other meat like Pulled Pork is served the pulled beef will also go much further.

White serving tray loaded with fresh shredded beef sandwiches on a red and white napkin on a wooden counter top.

There is quite a bit of variation in the size of buns which can affect how many people get fed. When people are serving themselves I like to offer regular buns and sliders for kids and other people who prefer smaller portions.

When guests are being served a catered meal you can weigh out the portions and someone can offer the same amount to everyone providing more consistency.

What Temperature to Cook Shredded Beef in A Roaster Oven?

Cook beef roasts at 350℉ with liquid. Check every 30 to 60 minutes to ensure the edges and corners are not burning. If sections of the meat are getting too dark turn the roaster down to 325℉ or even 300℉ if necessary.

Cooking low and slow over several hours is the key to making tender beef for sandwiches.

What If The Beef Is Tough?

When using chuck roast and tomato juice which is acidic and helps to tenderize the meat while cooking the longer the meat cooks the more tender it will become.

If the roast looks cooked on the outside, but is difficult to put a fork in then be patient and keep cooking!

Add liquid if it looks dry and turn or rotate every 45 – 60 minutes until the pieces fall apart. Keep moving the meat around until it falls apart or shreds very easily.

Round roasts and sirloin roasts may take longer to cook.

Defrosting the Meat is Important

Always start with defrosted meat when using a roaster to cook a big batch. If using several roasts it may take 3 to 5 days to defrost in the refrigerator. Move the roasts around to help them thaw. A pile of frozen roasts may thaw on the edges, but stay frozen in the center.

Beginning with meat that is the evenly defrosted and all the same temperature is important for food safety and will ensure a more even, predictable cooking time.

Foil pan full of six roasts to make pulled beef.

I like to put the packages of meat in a foil pan in my refrigerator to help contain any juices that may turn to liquid while defrosting.

Recipe Tips & Tricks:

  • For best results choose the same roast or cut of beef that are all the same size. This makes cooking time more uniform and predictable if you have multiple batches.
  • Make sure beef is defrosted before placing in the roaster to cook or re-heat.
  • My preference is to cook a single layer in the bottom of a 20 quart roaster and make multiple batches as opposed to packing a roaster too full and having to handle the meat more and increase cooking time.
  • Cook beef ahead of time, separate from the juices and then refrigerate to allow the fat to separate from the juice. The product will increase in quality and the unpredictability is decreased by preparing ahead of time.
  • Plan a whole day to cook the meat as times will vary greatly depending on appliances and amount of beef cooked.
  • Shred beef with your hands as finely and evenly as possible for maximum flavor when reheating.
  • If you have a lot of items to make ask a friend or neighbor to help cook and store items in their fridge or freezer.

How Full To Fill The Roaster

I prefer cooking a single layer in a bigger 20 quart roaster. However I have tested cooking chuck roasts in a 16 quart roaster by lining the sides and bottom since basically only two roasts fit well in the bottom.

A bigger roaster cooks more quickly which shortens the day.

Using the smaller roaster filled about 3/4 full with beef makes for a looonnnngggg day. Start early and save some energy for the end!

Electric roaster loaded with beef chuck roasts, round roast and sirloin roast.

My friend likes to cut up her roasts to help speed up the cooking process, but I prefer the more hands off method of using larger pieces.

The bottom line is that you cook the beef until it’s fork tender and the amount of time that takes is likely to vary with every batch.

Ideas for Leftover Beef

Step By Step Instructions

Generously grease a large electric roaster oven all the way up the sides of the pan. Take extra care to coat the corners and creases well.

Heavily greased large black roaster.

Beginning with defrosted beef and a trash can and soapy dish cloth nearby unwrap the roasts.

Place in a single layer in the bottom of the greased roaster. Do not trim any fat.

Season with salt pepper and other dry spice if desired. This step can also be done after cooking if preferred.

Assorted raw beef roasts in a large black roaster.

I like the roasts to fit close together while remaining flat.

Pour tomato juice in the gaps between the raw meat and along the outside edges.

Tomato juice poured around five chuck roasts in a 20 quart electric roaster.

Set roaster to 350℉ and start cooking!

Mix together any remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. I like to mix the beef consumme, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, garlic powder, granulated onion. Then pour this mixture in the gaps and around the edges of the beef for extra flavor.

Small white mixing bowl with seasoning for beef roasts.

Cover the roaster and cook for 1 – 2 hours. I like to be in the general area and if I hear it really sizzling and bubbling I check sooner and more often.

If the roasts stick in any corners or brown too quickly then the temperature needs turned down 25 – 50 degrees.

Just turned roasts in a roaster cooking in juices.

Use tongs to look at the bottom side and corners of the meat.

Continue to look at and rotate the meat every hour or so.

Single layer of beef roasts browning and cooking in tomato juice for a couple hours in an electric roaster oven.

Once the meat is starting to fall off the bone have a large bowl or dish ready nearby and use tongs to remove the bones.

At this point the meat should fall apart in sections of different muscles. Use your tongs to help the process.

Beef roasts cooking long enough to be almost tender enough to shred apart easily in juices and liquid in a roaster oven.

Continue to flip and rotate the pieces around the electric roaster every hour until they fall apart.

The pieces should continue to get smaller every hour.

Chuck roasts becoming tender enough to shred cooking in juice in an electric roaster oven.

Whenever large pieces of fat, connective tissue or bone are loose enough to remove add them to your discard bowl.

Big chunks of roast beef in the process of shredding with pieces of fat and connective tissue in a roaster.

Once the beef is very easy to shred I like to unplug the roaster and let rest for an hour or so before shredding further.

Using your fingers is the most efficient way to shred beef and separate from discard pieces. I prefer not to put my fingers in hot beef, so I let the roaster cool down to a more tolerable temperature.

Shred as finely as possible as this allows the highest number of strands of beef to be exposed to the flavorful juices and spices. Meat shreds best when warm.

What To Do With The Cooked Meat

Once the meat is totally shredded, separate the juices and refrigerate over night. The next day skim the layer of fat off the top and freeze or refrigerate for use when reheating the meat.

This liquid is very well flavored from cooking with the fat, bone and seasonings and is an important part of reheating the beef.

Use large resealable bags or containers with a tightly fitting lid. I prefer putting thin layers of meat in bags and cooling them through in the refrigerator before freezing.

Tender shredded beef for 50 people cooking in an electric roaster.

Do not stack lots of hot meat in the freezer as it will not freeze evenly or quickly enough. Same rule with the fridge, spread it out and work in batches if you have a lot to do.

2 – 3 Days Before The Party

Safely defrost the meat by spreading out in the refrigerator and rotating and moving items as necessary to accommodate defrosting.

Place meat and juices in the roaster and re-heat cooked meat at 300℉ for 1 to 2 hours. Stir often to prevent burning and have beef broth and tomato juice handy to add if the meat starts to seem dry.

Turn down to the lowest setting and continue to stir regularly when the meat is warmed through.

A crock pot may save more space on the counter, but we like to serve shredded beef in a roaster oven right out of the larger pan with a long handled spoon.

More Great Recipes For A Party

  • Twice Baked Potato Casserole is one of my favorite side dishes that is popular at any party all year around.
  • Jiffy Broccoli Cornbread mixes broccoli and cheddar cheese into cornbread to make a delicious side dish.
  • Cottage Cheese Cookies are so simple to mix up and taste like the Lofthouse ones at the grocery. Add sprinkles to match the season and your dessert will be a hit!
  • Nutty Buddy Pie is a stand out dessert that always catches your eye and tastes so good.
Close up pulled beef sandwich on a fresh brioche bun on a white plate.

Shredded Beef In A Roaster

Servings 50 sandwiches
Author: Jennifer
Lightly seasoned and cooked until it falls apart in an electric roaster this Shredded Beef For A Crowd recipe is super delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 14 pounds chuck roast thawed
  • 20 ounces tomato juice
  • 2 10.5 ounce cans beef consomme
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons granulated onion
  • 4 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper freshly ground

Instructions
 

  • Generously grease a 20 quart black roaster and arrange defrosted roasts in as close to a single layer as possible.
  • Pour tomato juice around the edges and in the spaces between the meat. Turn roaster on to 350℉.
  • Mix up all or half of the remaining ingredients and add to the roaster. You can always add seasonings at the end, but you can't take them out!
  • After cooking for 2 hours, turn and rotate the roasts every hour to avoid hot spots in the roaster oven and produce best results.
  • Continue cooking until beef is fork tender and falls apart. Sample and add more seasonings to suit desired tastes.
  • Shred beef as finely as possible by hand for maximum flavor and ease of eating.
  • Place shredded beef in relatively thin layers in self sealing bags and lay flat in the refrigerator to evenly chill before freezing. Spread out in the freezer to evenly chill as well.
  • Separate liquids and refrigerate over night. Skim the layer of fat off and continue to refrigerate or freeze the juices until ready to reheat.

The Day Of The Party

  • Place defrosted meat and juices in the roaster and re-heat cooked meat at 300℉ for 1 to 2 hours. Stir often to prevent burning and have beef broth and tomato juice handy to add if the meat starts to seem dry.
  • Once meat is warmed through turn to keep warm and continue stirring often and adding a cup of extra liquid at a time as necessary.

Notes

-The meat can easily be seasoned after cooking, so feel free to cut the seasoning in half during the cooking process and add ingredients to best suit your tastes.
-Cook meat ahead of time, refrigerate & separate fat. Then reheat just before the party to make the day easier.
-Prepare meat in batches if necessary to better accommodate refrigerator and freezer space.
-In depth notes are listed in the article above, so please read for more details.

Nutrition

Calories: 236kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 25gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 608mgPotassium: 481mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 70IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 3mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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One Comment

  1. Sienna Orr says:

    5 stars
    So happy to have found this recipe! I tried it on a smaller scale recently, and will be making a large batch for my daughter’s graduation party here in a few weeks!

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