Slow-Cooker Smoky Chilli Beef

This was my second attempt at a slow-cooked chilli beef to add to my Mexican Bistro Night menu. The first one worked well and you can find in on here, but this is a smokier version, made with brisket that just pulls apart and shreds into sumptious, softly spiced, melt in the mouth meat and this is the version I’ve decided to go with. The smokiness comes from the chorizo and the cloves, which add a depth of flavour that gets better if you can make it the day before you want to eat it.

This quantity serves 8-10 people easily and as part of a spread with rice, beans, tortillas, guacamole, salsa and all the usual trimmings, could even stretch to feed 12. Thank you to Thomasina Miers for the recipe, from her Mexican Food Made Simple book, which I have tweaked only slightly on the advice of my butcher and on the basis of ingredients available to me here in Norn Iron.

Serves 8-10   |  20 mins prep plus 8hrs cooking


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg beef brisket, cut into four large pieces
  • 3 medium onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 250g piece of chorizo, cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp each ground allspice and cumin
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 dried ancho chillies, soaked in boiling water for 10 mins then drained and chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, chopped (add more if you want it hotter)
  • 2 tsps each sea salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsps cider vinegar
  • 2 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsps tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsps muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tin borlotti beans, drained and rinsed

You will also need…

  • A slow-cooker!


  1.  Start by heating a tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and searing the beef brisket pieces over a high heat to seal on all sides. Remove and add them to the slow cooker.
  2. Now add the chorizo pieces and brown it lightly before adding it to the slow cooker. Keep the lovely chorizo oil in the pan for the onions and garlic.
  3. Pulse the onions and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped then add them to the hot pan along with all the spices, herbs and chillies and cook for a few minutes until soft.
  4. Scrape the onion and spice mix into the slow cooker along with the beef and chorizo and pour in the two tins of tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, ketchup and salt and pepper.
  5. Add 400 ml water, give it all a good stir and set the slow cooker for 6 hrs on high or 8 hrs on low.
  6. Two hours before the end of cooking, add the rinsed and drained tins of beans to the slow cooker and give it all another good stir.
  7. At the end of cooking time, remove the beef pieces and shred them on a plate with two forks then add the meat back into the slow cooker.
  8. You can eat it straight away or if you can leave it overnight, the flavour will deepen and the meat will absorb some of the runnier juices.

One Comment Add yours

  1. I love slow cooker recipes. The lazy way to cook. And I’m lazy! 🙂


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