These beer braised pulled beef sandwiches only need about 15 minutes of hands on cooking time. The beer braised beef is fall apart tender, making it perfect for piling on sandwiches.
These might be my new favorite way to do shredded beef sandwiches, aside from wine braising the beef. The beef is rubbed with a simple homemade spice rub, seared on all sides, then slow cooked in beer until fall apart tender. To serve them, I like to finish them off with crunchy red cabbage and avocado, and sometimes a twist of lime and cilantro.
Although the braising takes hours, it's virtually completely hands off after a quick sear, then requires minimal effort. This slow cooking process makes the meat super succulent and delicious.
You'll know it's done when it completely falls apart using two forks.
How to make them
Start by mixing up a simple spice rub in a bowl. These spices are probably already in your spice cabinet, but their combination is smoky, savory, with a hint of sweet and a little kick. It's somewhere between a chili mix and pulled pork seasoning rub.
You can adjust the brown sugar up or down to your liking to either increase or decrease the sweetness. Taste the beer that you are using, as this can also affect how much brown sugar you actually need to use.
Remove the roast from the fridge 30-60 minutes prior to cooking to allow it to come to an even temperature throughout. This helps with making sure it cooks evenly also. Pat it dry on all sides with a paper towel.
Preheat the oven.
Heat a heavy, large skillet on the higher end of medium high heat (high heat if your stove top doesn't get too hot). If you have a cast iron skillet, or pot then use that if possible. It transfers from stove top to oven and makes for great flavor. Otherwise, use a skillet large enough to fit the cut of beef.
Don't add any oil or butter to the skillet, just leave it dry.
While the skillet heats, prepare a rub by adding the spices into a bowl as shown below (photo 1) and whisking them together until combined. Use your hands to rub the rub into the beef on top, bottom, and every side including the ends (photo 2).
Transfer the rubbed meat to the hot skillet. Use two heavy forks or a pair of tongs to rotate the roast to each side and end once it has seared and formed a crust as shown above (photo 3). Don't move it around while it sears on each side, just let the crust form undisturbed. This should take about 3 minutes per side. Once each side is seared, pour in the beer (photo 4), cover loosely with foil or an offset lid, and transfer to the heated oven to braise.
If you have used a skillet that cannot go in the oven, transfer the meat and braising liquid to a Dutch oven, or oven safe skillet.
Every 30 minutes or so you can spoon a little of the liquid over the beef, and make sure it's not evaporated. If it has evaporated too much, add a bit more. You don't want the beef submerged in liquid, that would be boiling it.
Depending on the size of the cut of beef you are using, the time to finish cooking in the oven will take between 1 ½ to 3 hours.
You can test it by opening the oven and taking a fork to "pull" the beef apart. If it falls apart easily, it's done. Don't attempt to increase the oven temperature, this will make the meat tough.
Once it's ready, transfer it to a large platter, plate or baking sheet and use two forks pull it apart.
Spoon over extra braising liquid as needed to keep it moist as you work.
The beef can be piled onto hamburger buns, brioche buns, or French rolls and served as they are, or with a number of toppings.
What can I use for garnish?
- Classic coleslaw
- Barbecue sauce, bacon and an onion ring for a pub style flavor
- Cabbage, lettuce, tomato or onion
- Avocado, lime, cilantro, pickled red onion or red cabbage for a South of the border flavor
- Green onion, carrot, cabbage and cilantro for a Thai flavor
- Anything you want!
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Beer Braised Pulled Beef Sandwiches
- 4 lb beef roast shoulder, chuck or similar cut
- 2 ½ cups beer avoid stout or IPA here
For the Rub
- ⅛ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 8 hamburger buns
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat a dry, empty skillet on medium high to high heat.
- Combine rub ingredients in a bowl, mix until blended.
- Rub the spice mix "rub" all over each side of the beef.
- In the dry, hot skillet, sear the beef on each side, so that the spice rub creates a crust. Don't disturb or move the meat as it's searing, this will interfere with a good crust being formed.
- Once the beef is seared on all sides, pour in the beer around, cover loosely with foil or an offset lid, and transfer to the oven. If necessary, transfer the beef to an oven safe skillet or Dutch oven (unless you're using one already).
- Every 20-30 minutes spoon a bit of liquid over the beef, and add additional liquid to maintain 1-2 inches depth if it's evaporating.
- Once the meat can be pulled apart with a fork, remove it to a large platter or baking sheet and start shredding it apart with two forks. Add extra braising liquid as you shred, to keep meat moist.
- Assemble the sandwiches. Top the buns with a pile of the shredded beef.
- Top with additional toppings as desired (see post copy for ideas!).
- Use a tough, marbled cut of beef and slow cook for maximum fall-of-the-bone-ness.
- Cayenne pepper is optional and spicy, can omit or cut down.
- Pulled beef will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- To reheat, place shredded beef in the oven at 180 degrees, or microwave on 50% power for 1-3 minutes stirring occasionally.