This Chef Trick Is the Secret to Shredded Meat in Less Than a Minute

Get tender carnitas and pulled pork, fast.

How to Shred Meat

Matt Taylor-Gross

Eating pulled pork, chicken, lamb, goat, and beef is one of life’s great food pleasures, whether in a sandwich, on a taco, or served over pasta. But getting carnitas or braised beef to that shredded texture isn’t easy, especially if the meat has only just finished cooking. Too often, you find yourself standing over a pot of braised meat with two forks or tongs, pulling the meat by hand and treating yourself to a meat steam facial at the same time.

It’s a lot faster and so much easier to let your stand mixer do the work for you. Cut or pull off medium-sized chunks of meat and place them in the bowl of the mixer, filling the bowl halfway (do this in batches rather than overfill the bowl). I like to add a ladle or two of broth to help everything move along, but don’t add so much liquid that it splashes out when the mixer runs. Attach the paddle to the mixer and turn it on the lowest speed. Keep an eye on the meat until it reaches the texture you want — it’s that easy.

I learned this trick from chef Cory Morris, from the night he competed on Beat Bobby Flay. Morris made his Ropa Vieja, a dish of long-simmered goat or lamb, and used a stand mixer to shred the meat.

“I like to let the meat cook down in its braising juices long enough that you are able to handle it with gloves,” he explains, adding that even slightly under-braised meat responds well to this technique. “This method works well if the meat isn’t as tender as you would like it, because it will break down all of the connective tissue and tenderize the meat. Take the meat off the bone and add it to the bowl of a standing mixer with enough braising liquid to coat it. With a paddle mixer on low, mix the meat until it’s shredded to your desired consistency.”

It’s incredibly easy, but Morris notes that you can’t walk away from the mixer, even when it’s doing all the work for you.

"Be careful not to over mix it or mix it at too high of a speed, or you will have pâté," he cautions. 

It's that easy, but best of all, this method is fast. You can go from a Dutch oven, Instant Pot, or slow cooker full of meat to the dinner table in just minutes.

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