RECIPE: Hipster Beef

Real hipster

When out with friends the other night, I was told that the problem with menus these days is that everything is hipster food. And it’s not hipster if it isn’t ‘pulled’. Which I found hilarious, as I was safe in the knowledge that we had a big chunk of skirt steak in the fridge at home, ready to be turned into pulled beef in the slow cooker the very next day.

My favourite variation on the theme which arose was the idea of a pulled cheese sandwich. That’ll be grated cheese to those of us without an annoyingly manicured beard and weird slicked down undercut.

And so, in honour of hipsters everywhere, here is my super easy Mexican-inspired pulled beef recipe. Plus a little adaptation for using up leftovers.

Hipster Beef
Serves: all the people for infinity apparently

600g skirt steak (we got ours from the reduced counter for £2 – bargain! This amount is about £4.50 normall)
2 onions
4 cloves of garlic
Mexican spice mix – a generous tsp or so of smoked paprika, black pepper, cumin, garlic powder, cocoa, coriander, chilli flakes, dried oregano and a good pinch of salt, cinnamon and ground cloves.
1 beef stock cube
Splash of passata
2 fresh red chillis
2 red peppers


  • Cut the steak into inch thick strips – this just reduces the cooking time a little. Go with the grain so you end up with nice strands of beef at the end.
  • Chop up the onion into thick rings or half rings so they stand up to the long cook and roughly chop your garlic.
  • Throw it all into the slow cooker.
  • Add in the spices and stock and add a little water – not enough to cover the ingredients (I always put too much liquid in and repent at leisure, but I sorted it – more on that later).
  • Cook for two hours. Add a splash of passata.
  • Cook for another two hours. At this point you should be able to use two forks to pull the tender beef apart.
  • Add the finely chopped chilli and roughly chopped pepper.
  • Cook for another hour then serve or turn to low and have it when you want it.
  • This was so delicious we just had it on its own in tortillas. The first were a bit juicy even though I’d added some cornflour slaked with water for the last hour to get it to thicken. After that I gave up and reduced some down in a saucepan to create a thick, rich sauce. That was lush.

We just had ours on wraps, you could use it in a sandwich, add sour cream, avocado, cheese – whatever takes your fancy. Kidney beans would be good in there too. The next day, I adapted it into a dirty rice style recipe, by sweating down carrots and celery in a pan, then adding another chilli for pep. After that I added half a cup of rice, stirred it in and then added the beef and juices spoon by spoon until it was mainly absorbed, then left the rest to simmer for about 20 minutes on a very low heat. After that, I left the lid on the pan and turned the heat off, leaving it to stand until the remaining liquid was all dissolved. We served it just with a sprinkle of parmigiano. Also delicious.

So far we’ve had 3 meals for two of us from this recipe, with more to come – I’m packing the rest up in tubs and freezing for work lunches. A very economical dish but delicious, and you can add whatever you like to fancy it up. I don’t know what hipsters use for garnish. All ideas welcome.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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