Slow-Cooker Italian Beef (gf)

Okay, so first things first: a big shout out to my lovely mother-in-law for this wonderful recipe. She gave it to me when my husband and I moved into our first place together, and it always reminds me of that apartment- this meal is definitely food nostalgia for me. This is one of Dave’s favorites, and I threw it all together before a busy Sunday full of errands and a movie. Side note: the movie was The Artist and it was wonderful. I saw it with my best friend and we drank wine and ate popcorn and tap danced in the lobby afterward- I highly recommend all of those things.

With pleasure!

This recipe has a kick to it, so I have a few notes for the non-spicy fans out there.


(adapted from Jane Ann Cruse’s family recipe)


  • 2-3 lb beef roast of your choice
  • 2 packets dry zesty Italian dressing mix (regular for the non-spicies)
  • 1 large jar pepperoncini (mild for the non-spicies)
  • beer to cover (I used three cans of good ol’ Bud Light)
  • garlic cloves, optional


Rinse, dry, and trim your roast of any fat. I cut mine in two for more even cooking, but that’s not a must, it’s just my-everything-must-be-even OCD making an appearance. Place it in your crock pot, and sprinkle with both Italian dressing packets.

Dump in the whole jar of pepperoncini, including juices. At this point, your crock pot will look like this:

Cover with beer and add garlic cloves, if using. This boozy crock pot really needs to get its life together:

Now for the best part: cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. That’s it. Really, that’s all! God bless the Crock Pot. If you don’t have 8-10 hours, 6 hours on high will be fine. The beef will be super juicy and tender after either cooking time, but slow and low for roasts is always preferable. The meat will shred right away, and you’ll have a lot of cooking liquid left; we don’t save all of ours, we just ladle what’s needed over the beef we keep for the next day to keep it moist.

This is so, so good on hearty breads, hoagie rolls, on salad, over potatoes, in a pita, over a pasta or cooked grain; really, any way, even by itself! If you are serving it over something starchy, like potatoes or pasta or rice, I’d recommend keeping a bit more liquid for serving. Here’s my Italian Beef whole-wheat pita with hummus and carrots as the next day’s lunch (starring my office’s oh-so-glamorous mustard yellow plates):

yum yum!!

I keep saying that I need to use my slow-cooker more- maybe 2012 willbe the year!! What slow cooker meals do you use the most?

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