Fragrant spices mingle with spicy cayenne to create these Caribbean-inspired wood grilled jerk chicken thighs.
Beer-Braised Shredded Beef Sandwiches
A hybrid of a BBQ sammich and a Sloppy Joe, these sweet and tangy beer-braised shredded beef sandwiches are a safe-bet crowd pleaser.
There’s this phenomenon that seems to happen during the colder months. Not so surprisingly, outdoor cooking doesn’t hold as much appeal in freezing temperatures, so I look to more indoor options. I mean as much as I love BBQ, I also hate being cold, and something has gotta give! In addition to my kitchen hibernation, I start leaning towards simple comfort food recipes that are at once easy to prepare and satisfying.
I love this particular recipe, because you’re simultaneously creating a BBQ sauce AND braising the meat. So the delicious beefy threads end up in a custom sauce you created! That’s SO much better than just dumping in a bottled sauce (which in many cases comprises primarly of corn syrup). This way, you build up the flavors and infuse the beefiness into the sauce as you go.
For all my braising, I like to use an enamelled cast iron pot like this one. The heavy base is perfect for browning the meat thoroughly before the gentle simmer starts, and the enamel is easy to clean without having to worry about traditional cast iron care.
When it comes to these so-messy-but-so-good sandwiches, a slice of American cheese is an optional addition. Cheese may be optional, but the type of bun you choose is a non negotiable. Trust me on this one. You need to track down potato buns/rolls, preferable Martin’s brand. No, this isn’t an ad, they just really are the best out there. Using the correct bun will make all the difference in the perfection level of this sandwich.
Here’s the recipe:
Tender Beer-braised Shredded Beef Sandwiches
- 3 lb chuck roast (or brisket flat)
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 15oz crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups beer (I used pilsner style)
- 1.5 cups water
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup molasses
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- salt to taste
- 6 potato buns
- FOR THE SPICE MIX:
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Trim the chuck roast of any fat and sinew, cutting it up into 2-3 inch chunks.
- Combine all ingredients for the spice mix. Stir and sprinkle over the beef chunks, tossing to coat well.
- Place a heavy based pot (we used enameled cast iron) over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil.
- Place the beef into the pot to brown. You may need to do this in two batches to avoid overcrowding. Brown for at least 7-10 minutes per side, then remove from pot.
- Add remaining oil to pot, turn heat to medium. Add onions and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the beer to the mix, and use a spoon to dislodge all the crusty brown bits from the bottom of the pan, that’s extra flavor!
- Add back the meat, plus the tomato and the water. Turn heat to medium low so that there is an active simmer/bubble, but not so much that it’s boiling.
- Place lid over pot and cook for three hours, stirring occasionally.
- Remove lid and allow to simmer a further 30 minutes, so sauce thickens.
- If your beef is not yet tender, keep cooking until it’s shreddable. You can add more hot water if you feel your liquid is getting too thick.
- Use tongs to remove beef pieces from liquid, and shred using two forks.
- Optional: Use a stick or immersion blender to blend the sauce that remains in the pot, so the consistency is smooth.
- Add the molasses, Worcestershire and brown sugar to the sauce, and cook a further 5 minutes.
- Return shredded beef to the pot and stir into the sauce. Taste, and add additional salt if desired.
- Pile the meat onto the potato buns and serve your sandwiches.
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