Mustard Balsamic Tri-Tip! Slow cooked in the crockpot until the slightest pull of a fork leads it to fall apart into big shreds. Tasty shredded meat that eagerly soaks up the savory sweet marinade that has mingled for hours with the beef and developed into a rich saucy liquid that you can drizzle over the top afterwards.
Ready to dig on in? Another easy slow cooker recipe comin’ at ya to fuel your weeknight meals.
One large tri-tip is propped up on top of freshly sliced shallots and smothered in a marinade of dark balsamic vinegar, spicy brown mustard, dried rosemary, and cherry jam. Finish it off with some whole, smashed garlic cloves perched up on top with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Pop that crockpot lid on top and let it do its thing.
It’s as simple as that!
The balsamic vinegar and this low & slow cooking method makes for tender meat every time…
…with none of the fuss or food thermometers involved. A true one-pot wonder.
Which is just the thing I need to rescue me from my busier than usual schedule.Along with playing major catch-up on work I was not doing while vacationing, returning long overdue email replies, and keeping this little slice of the interweb stocked up with weekly recipe posts – I’ve eagerly thrown myself into the full throes of planning the wedding.
Lists upon lists. Ever-growing Pinterest boards. Collages. Calls. Emails. Voicemails. Budgets. Quotes. And all such manner of fun planning things.
I am a planner. I genuinely like to plan-ahead and know what is happening before it happens. It brings a sense of calm and gives me an illusion of control. So planning this as much in advance as possible will (I hope!) let me love the process even more than I already do.
My brain has been inundated with lots of what-if’s, how-much’s, where-to’s, and what-for’s. All self-inflicted and all totally exciting in its own way. But also shockingly time consuming.
One little google search for “affordable wedding dresses” later and I’ve gone down, down, (deep) DOWN a rabbit hole. Once I’ve finally pulled my head out of the internet spiral and pried my eyes away from my computer, I find that there’s less and less time in the day to be spent cooking.
Enter this totally stress-free, set-it-and-forget-it, go do all the other things, time-saving, slow cooker recipe to help me channel into full productivity mode.
This recipe is one of the many dishes born in my kitchen purely out of a need to use up whatever was left in the fridge and pantry. The stash of balsamic vinegar in the cabinet, some spicy brown mustard (which I had been given but hadn’t yet figured out how to use), and a few spoonfuls of my favorite cherry jam lurking on the fridge door. Add in some lonely shallots and garlic cloves that had been waiting in the wings on the countertop, add an affordable cut of meat that can be bought two-to-a-pack at Costco, place in slow cooker, and hope for the best.
And it was kind of THE best. As far as beef I have made myself at home goes.
Anything that you would marinate meat with to pop on the grill or anything that could be easily used as a salad dressing (with some EVOO blended in), also works fantastic for pouring into a slow cooker and using as a simmer sauce.
I like when sweet fruit pairings sneak their way into things I would otherwise consider to be exclusively savory dishes. Like mango-habañero marinated chicken, fresh watermelon dusted with chili and salt, strawberry-herb salsas, smoky blackberry barbecue sauce, or my friend Mara’s Chipotle-Peach Quinoa Salad that nails this sort of combo right on the head.
Hence the addition of the cherry jelly. Dark, slightly tart, and a bit sweet – just the perfect thing to throw into the mix to offset the bracing acidity of the balsamic vinegar and mellow out the sharp flavor of the spicy brown mustard.
Using fruit preserves in this recipe eliminates the need to add other sweeteners like molasses, brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup.
But if you only have another dark fruit jam or jelly available (like blueberry, raspberry, or plum) you can use that instead.
Just make sure it really is only a few tablespoons. It may seem silly to point out but once upon a crockpot, I made this with a heavy-handed amount of jelly. A mistake which led to the creation of something we jokingly called “sweet beef”. Never again. This goldilocks ratio of just a little bit of sweetness is juuuuuuust right.
A few other quick recipe notes!
Tri-tip is a sirloin cut of beef – one of the leanest beef choices available.
Which makes me super happy that it tastes good and isn’t terrible for me. I gobble mine up with some rice or quinoa, shredded cheese, and fresh green veggies like broccoli / Brussels sprouts / Baked Lemon Pepper Asparagus. Or I shred it into a big guilt-free at-home burrito bowl situation with riced cauliflower + brown rice + guac + bell peppers + cilantro + hot sauce + a dollop of Greek yogurt to get those sour cream kind of vibes going.
The tri-tip I used was a little over 2 ¼ lbs, so if yours is a little larger than just 2 lbs then just know that it’s 100% okay. As long as it fits into your crockpot, you should be fine without having to adjust the ingredient measurements or cooking time. The meat will shrink down a bit in the crockpot, so keep that in mind if cooking for a crowd. The end result will be smaller than what you put into it.
When I’m in a time crunch and need to prep a lot of meat at one time, I’ve even managed to cram two tri-tips into one large crockpot. Double the marinade ingredients and just poke at it to see if it needs an extra half hour of so. You can test if it’s ready by pulling at it with a fork. If it comes apart fairly easily, then you’re good to go.
And now I send you back to your regularly scheduled Saturday. I hope it’s splendid and sun-soaked and summery in all the best ways! Mine will be spent immersing myself in the controlled chaos that is daring to grocery shop on the weekend.
Usually I sneak it into the weekdays in the hopes of shorter lines and less competition for the “good apples”, but it wasn’t in the cards for me this week. I would love to know what day you guys do your food restocking and meal prep!
How do you squeeze cooking into your busy schedules week after week? Share your tips down in the comments!
Here’s a list of the tools + ingredients I used in this recipe:
- 6-Qt Programmable Slow Cooker (mine is an older model, but this newer version is similar)
MORE SLOW COOKER RECIPES:
- Crispy Crockpot Carnitas
- Crockpot Salsa Chicken
- 3-Bean Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- Easy Crockpot Pulled Chicken
Healthy recipe for tender shredded Mustard Balsamic Tri-Tip. This recipe is meal-prep friendly and gluten-free. Takes just 5 min to prepare + then you can let the slow cooker do the rest!
- 2 lbs Tri-Tip
- 2 large shallots (1/2” slices)*
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tbs dried rosemary
- 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
- ¼ c spicy brown mustard
- 3 tbs cherry jam**
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 whole garlic cloves (peeled and lightly smashed)
- black pepper
- PREPARE THE CROCKPOT: Rub olive oil into bottom of the crockpot and a few inches up the sides, greasing sections where the meat will be in contact with the pot. Lay out the shallot slices along the bottom. Lay the Tri-Tip on top of shallots. Sprinkle the top of the meat with salt, pepper, and the dried rosemary.
- MAKE THE COOKING MARINADE: Combine balsamic vinegar, mustard, and jelly in a small bowl. Mix until combined. Pour marinade over meat. Lay garlic cloves on top and add a few shakes of red pepper flakes.
- TURN ON CROCKPOT: Cover and cook on low for 6 1/2 hours. Remove from pot and shred between two forks. For best flavor and to ensure meat is not dry, drizzle about ¼ – 1/3 cup of remaining cooking liquid from the pot on top of the cooked meat.
*Can substitute half of one large onion instead
*Can substitute another dark fruit jelly/ jam/ preserves – like blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, or plum