Beef tips are a richly-flavored entree that goes perfectly with mashed potatoes, rice or buttered noodles. When made with sirloin steak, they are called “sirloin tips.” Duh! However, I much prefer them made with chuck roast rather than sirloin, and here’s why.
Sirloin is a lean cut of meat. It should be cooked hot and fast to a medium-rare doneness to preserve flavor and texture. This slow-cooked method would turn sirloin into a stringy, dry, and unappealing mess. Chuck roast not only has a richer, beefier flavor, but it also adapts perfectly to long cooking methods, such as with the crockpot. It’s a bit fattier, which is where that extra flavor comes from. You simply trim the excess fat, cut it into chunks, brown, and dump into the slow cooker. The end result is tender, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth beef tips in a delicious mushroom gravy. And, I almost forgot to mention that it’s also less expensive. Score!
You may skip the mushrooms, if you wish and substitute sirloin for chuck roast if you must. It will still be pretty darn tasty. Read through my Notes at the bottom before you begin.
Crockpot Beef Tips Recipe
1-1/2 cups water
1 packet beef gravy mix
1 packet beef au jus mix (Knorr brand recommended)
2 Tablespoons tomato paste (see Notes)
1/2 medium-sized sweet onion
1 pound white mushrooms
6 cloves of garlic
1 beef chuck roast or 7-bone roast (2-1/2 to 3 pounds)
Onion powder, dried thyme leaves, salt, and pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons vegetable or olive oil (about)
1/2 of a bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine (see Notes)
Cooked rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles
Whisk the gravy mix, au jus mix, and tomato paste into the measured cold water until dissolved. Set aside.
Peel and dice the sweet onion (about 1 cup diced). Brush the mushrooms clean and trim the tips of the stem ends. Cut each mushroom and garlic clove in half or leave small ones whole. Set these vegetables aside for now.
Trim the roast of fat and cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes. Lightly sprinkle the beef on all sides with onion powder, thyme, salt, and pepper. (Go easy on the thyme. It can be overwhelming in the crockpot.) Toss the beef chunks in the flour.
Place a deep, heavy skillet over medium heat. (A hard-anodized or cast iron skillet is recommended. You won’t get a decent browning with a non-stick pan.) Brown the beef in batches, taking care not to crowd the pan. (Do not hurry this step by crowding or the beef will boil instead of brown.) Add additional oil if needed between batches. Transfer each batch to the crock of the slow-cooker and drop in the broken bay leaf.
When done browning, add red wine (see Notes) to the skillet. Cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced by half. Add this wine to the browned beef tips in the crockpot, along with the cold au jus/gravy mixture (you might need to give it another stir before adding).
Stir the prepped onions, mushrooms, and garlic into the meat so they get a coating of the liquid.
Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or High for 4 to 6 hours.
Serve over white rice, mashed potatoes, or wide noodles.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
• You can purchase tomato paste in tubes for when you only need a little, as required here. However, it’s much less expensive to buy the small 6-ounce can. Use what you need, then measure the remainder in 1 tablespoon measures into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once they are solid, transfer to a zip-top freezer bag, squeeze out all the air, and seal. Return to the freezer.
• If you are unable to use wine, substitute 1/4 cup water and scrape up the browned bits. Don’t worry about reducing the liquid, simply add it to the crockpot with the meat.
• If the gravy is not as thick as you’d like it, make a paste of 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour and 1 tablespoon of softened butter. Stir into the hot gravy until thickened.
• Get fancy by using upscale mushrooms. Portobellos will actually enhance the beef flavor.
• The garlic and onions will pretty much melt into the gravy. Don’t be afraid of the amount of garlic cloves. Garlic cloves that are cooked whole end up with a mellow, nutty flavor without a strong garlic taste.