It's common knowledge that slow cookers are great for turning cheaper, lean cuts of beef into melt-in-your-mouth pieces of heaven. That's because, while fat melts away in the early stages of cooking, it's the collagen found in these economical cuts that break down in the later stages of cooking. When you have hours and hours of cook time, this inevitably turns otherwise chewy pieces of beef into delectably tender morsels. In fact, these economical cuts actually turn out better in a slow cooker than their more expensive, fatty counterparts, which would simply dry out if cooked for too long.
But which cuts should you keep an eye out for when you visit the butcher? Here's a short list of some of our favorite lean cuts of beef, and our favorite recipes that use them.
1. Chuck Roast
Everybody loves a good pot roast, and the best pot roasts actually come from the toughest cuts of beef. Naturally, slow cookers are the ideal cooking device to prepare a pot roast in. If you're looking to get the best results, you can't go wrong with picking up a chuck roast for your next pot roast feast. The chuck comes from the region between the neck and shoulder blade of the cattle, and is relatively inexpensive, despite being the perfect cut for a pot roast.
Of course, even the best chuck roast won't turn out well without a great recipe. Below, you'll find some of our favorite pot roast recipes for your slow cooker that you can substitute a chuck roast in for.
2. Beef Shank
If you're a fan of short rib, you're going to love beef shank.
Swap in a beef shank into this delicious lamb shank recipe, or prepare it as written with lamb shank.
Keep Reading: How to make slow cooker braised lamb shank
3. Beef Brisket
Brisket comes from the breast or lower chest of beef, and also contains significant amounts of collagen that need to be broken down through prolonged cooking. You may have had smoked brisket in BBQ, where it's cooked for long periods over charcoal or wood, but brisket makes a great cut of beef for slow cooking as well. Corned beef is also basically brisket that has been brined prior to cooking. If you need ideas on how to get the most out of your brisket, check out our favorite beef brisket recipes below.
Keep Reading: Turn the chewiest beef brisket into melt-in-your-mouth morsels with these 4 slow cooker recipes
While saving money with these "budget-cuts" of meat can help reduce your grocery bill, you'll be delighted to know that your slow cooker can save you time and money in a variety of ways. Check out our money-saving tips below to find out how your slow cooker can keep your monthly bills at a minimum.