How to slow cook beef

How to slow cook beef

How to slow cook beef

8 December 2014

How to slow cook beef

Slow cooking beef helps to develop intense flavour and keeps the meat tender and succulent. It usually involves cooking your chosen cut of beef in a slow cooker or casserole dish over a low heat for a long period of time, with the meat submerged in liquid. Tough cuts of meat are ideal for slow cooking as the lengthy cooking process helps to tenderise them.

The most suitable cuts of beef are the muscles that have worked hard during the cow’s life, as these are tougher cuts and have lots of connective tissue. Cuts that have a lot of fat running through them add moisture and flavour to the dish. Marbling between the muscles, not the surface fat, indicates a good cut for slow cooking.

Cuts of beef used for slow cooking include beef cheek, short rib, feather blade and oxtail.

Browning the meat prior to slow cooking caramelises the meat and adds flavour. In addition, marinating the meat prior to slow cooking will help bring out the flavour of the beef even more.

Here we give a recipe for a beef casserole in which the meat is cut into cubes. If you would prefer to cook your meat as a whole piece follow the instructions as below but bear in mind you will need to increase the cooking time.




  • vegetable oil
  • 700g of diced beef, braising beef such as featherblade or brisket
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour, for dusting
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 200g of button mushrooms
  • 1l beef stock
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 sprig of rosemary


Preheat the oven to 150˚C/gas mark 2
Place a large frying pan over a high heat
Season the beef with salt and pepper, dust with flour and fry in a little oil until caramelised all over.
Remove from the pan and set aside
Add the vegetables and garlic to the pan with a little more oil and cook until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside
Deglaze the pan with 100ml of the stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any sediment
Add the braising liquid, vegetables, meat and herbs to a large casserole dish with the remaining stock and bring to the boil over a medium heat
Skim the top, stir and bring back to a simmer then cover with a tight-fitting lid
Place in the oven and cook for roughly 3 hours – it is ready when the meat is tender and falling apart


You can play around with the flavours when slow cooking beef – why not try substituting some of the stock for red wine or port. Paul Heathcote uses beer in his recipe for Braised beef with bitter beer, green peppercorns and mushroom pie while Shaun Hill adds tomato paste to his Beef stew with mash and leeks.

Serving suggestions

Slow-cooked beef is traditionally served in winter with mash or in a pie. Dominic Chapman serves his with dumplings or for something more continental, try Geoffrey Smeddle’s Beef braised in red wine with Provençal vegetables.

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