mocha rubbed slow cooker shredded beef
I was so nervous to write this post, but I’ve got to come clean: I quit Whole30 this week. Here’s the thing, friends: That program is HARD. And very restrictive.
And about four days into it, I found myself at a dinner party with no approved options except for dates and lettuce, and that was unacceptable when there was a delicious homemade gumbo sitting in front of me with cream in it that was wholesome and obviously more satisfying of a meal. So I ate it, and I vowed to be good for the rest of the month.
But then, a couple of days later, I found myself at an event where Chipotle was catered, and chicken was one of the protein options (the other was sofritas, a.k.a. tofu, which I knew was a no-go). So I ate the chicken, piled on a high heap of lettuce, salsa and guacamole, thinking I was being so good at this Whole30 thing. Then I find out later that day that, in fact, the chicken at Chipotle is not Whole30 compliant. Um, OK.
Add to that the fact that I was hungry all.the.time, I had this constant headache that wouldn’t quit, I knew there were more instances coming down the pipeline this month where I’d be faced with the possibility of needing to eat just lettuce for dinner to stay true to the plan, and it was all too much. The hangry-ness was the hardest part. I can’t handle that, you guys.
So by Tuesday night, two weeks into the program, my husband and I decided to quit. And I drank a glass of red wine to celebrate.
At first, I really felt like a failure with this experience — really, I can’t even handle 30 days of no dairy, no grains, no sugar, no legumes, no alcohol? Clearly the headaches and hunger were just my body adjusting to the new diet, right? But if I’m being completely honest with myself, the answers to both are no. No, I really can’t handle such a restrictive diet, done by choice. No, I really don’t think the hunger was part of the adjustment period. I think it was just my body telling me something is up, that maybe you need to just eat some carbs and cheese already.
Granted, there are so many positive aspects of the program that I am taking with me as I move on from this situation. I know I can survive without eating dessert every night after dinner. I know I can handle not eating toast every day. But at the same time, eating a slice of whole grain bread in the morning isn’t unhealthy. What’s unhealthy for me is obsessing over every. single. food item that lands on my plate. I think about food a lot already for obvious reasons, but this was overwhelming. And I didn’t like how it made me think or feel about myself.
So. We tried, and we failed, and we are moving on. And here’s the funny thing — a lot of our meals this week are still Whole30 compliant, just by default. I had this chicken sausage/tomato/yam/arugula bowl for dinner tonight that was super tasty, and we just recently polished off the leftovers of this incredible mocha rubbed slow cooker shredded beef. It just goes to show that all types of foods — with or without the restrictions — can be delicious.
So, more about this mocha rubbed slow cooker shredded beef situation. You all know how much I love my slow cooker meals, and I know you do, too. And while pot roast is a common meal to make in the crockpot, what isn’t so common is rubbing it with an espresso-cocoa rub. But in this case, that’s what you do, and it couldn’t be easier. Just mix together a simple rub of pantry-staple ingredients, rub them all over the roast, place the roast in the slow cooker with a broth mix of espresso, onions and balsamic vinegar, and let it all cook together low and slow. In a few hours, you’ll have a tender, juicy, flavorful roast to serve on its own, on a sandwich, in a baked potato, even on a salad. It’s so good, you won’t even notice that it happens to be dairy/gluten/sugar/legume/grain/alcohol-free.
Though let’s be honest, this does pair really well with a good bottle of red.Print
Mocha Rubbed Slow Cooker Shredded Beef
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 4 hours 5 mins
- Total Time: 4 hours 25 mins
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
For the mocha rub:
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 packet (.09 oz) espresso powder (or 2 tablespoons finely ground coffee beans)
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the beef:
- 1 packet (.09 oz) espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup hot water, or 1 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 6 dried figs or pitted dates, chopped
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 lb chuck tender roast
- Chopped fresh parsley, for topping (optional)
- In small bowl, whisk mocha rub ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
- In food processor or blender, puree espresso-water mixture, beef broth, chopped onion, chopped figs and balsamic vinegar until mixture is mostly smooth. Pour into 6-quart slow cooker. Place roast in center of slow cooker. Rub mocha rub generously and evenly all over roast (you may have some rub left over).
- Cover and cook roast on low 4 to 6 hours until meat thermometer inserted in center reads 160. Transfer roast to cutting board. Use two forks to shred beef. Transfer to serving plate.
- Pour liquid left in slow cooker into medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly. Pour over shredded beef. Top with chopped parsley just before serving, if desired.
Keywords: Crockpot, Crock Pot
I’m all over this mocha rub! It’s gonna go great with any meat. 🙂
Whole 30, schmole 30. Don’t sweat it, you’re freakin’ awesome!
Moderation is the key to everything. Life is way too short! Sticking to these restrictive diets when there is no medical reason seems silly to me. I think listening to what your body is telling you is right way to go.
I’m pretty suspicious of the Whole 30, and any diet that claims that to be healthy every person (regardless of medical necessity) has to eliminate enormous amounts of healthy food. It sounds like you made the right choice for you, and that’s the right choice.
A failure…NO. Realistic..YES! I do not believe in “diets” or “changes” that are unrealistic or unsustainable. Your roast sounds intriguing. I think I may have to just give it a go. 🙂
Great recipe that I will have to use. My MIL gave me a slow cooker pulled pork recipe that you are supposed to put BBQ sauce on after but I love it without, it is so good. Reminds me a little of this one. did I miss it, what kind of beef and what size did you use?
I too tried the Whole 30 once, but got about 5 days in before quitting (for the same reasons you did). I admire how long you went! Some diets/lifestyles aren’t right for everyone, and there is NOTHING wrong with that. Buuuut can I just say that this mocha shredded beef MIGHT be giving me second thoughts about trying it again? Because any excuse to eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… Can’t wait to get this in my crock pot!
I haven’t undertaken Whole30 yet because I haven’t researched what it would entail. Based on your experience, I would say I would be a failure after 3 days. Thanks for your honest, and I’m making your pot roast!
Goodness this beef looks so delicious and tender, Steph! And props to you for being honest about your Whole30 experience. Being aware of what you eat is one thing, but drastically cutting good, wholesome food all for the sake of meeting a restrictive plan stinks – there’s too much amazing food you’d be missing!
I have yet to try the Whole 30. Seems super hard!
I’ve talked to a few friends who loved Whole 30 and tempted me to try it, but I know I wouldn’t do well with restriction, either. It just doesn’t work in my life (or for my well-being). Glad you figured out what was best for you and didn’t push yourself to continue doing something that just wasn’t working!
I was considering doing some sort of post-vacay detox for the next couple of weeks (because – SO much sugar and alcohol!) but, like you, I just hate the concept of having to obsess over everything I eat. Moderation really is the key to health and my happiness 🙂 This beef looks amazing – and I bet it’s really great with some mashed potatoes too!
I’m over here giving you a virtual high five and supporting that celebratory glass of wine ;). Because this: “What’s unhealthy for me is obsessing over every. single. food item that lands on my plate.” So much yes! Let’s stop obsessing over food and start living. Starting with this beef! That mocha rub is everything!
Sune — Aww, I heart you! xo
Al — AMEN. Thank you! 🙂
Allyson — I couldn’t agree more. Thank you so much. 🙂