Chopped Beef Sandwich
Chopped Beef Sandwich
This beast of a summer classic sandwich is perfect for any backyard BBQ. It stretches to feed a crowd, can easily be made ahead of time, and is a perfect crowd pleaser. We've included three different cooking methods to meet everyone's skill level, cooking equipment, and time frames! No matter how you go about it.. this sammich is the King of Summer.
The Supply List
The Meat: Large Wild Earth 7-Bone Chuck Roast
The Chuck is the most marbled, tender, and flavorful roast on the animal, making it the perfect choice for slow cooking into chopped beef. We prefer the 7-Bone to our boneless chuck roast because it is cut more like a large, flatter steak. The muscle fibers will be shorter and you'll get more smoke exposure. If you're going full IP (InstantPot) and not smoking, there is no difference.
You can use your favorite rub or make your own blend. Regular steak seasoning doesn't usually have all the elements you're looking for though to give you the classic BBQ flavor. You need a coarser black pepper, a sweetness, salt, and spice elements present.
The Braising Liquid and Mop Sauce:
- 1 C beer- we used Modelo because its light, flavorful but not overpowering, and most importantly, it was on hand
- 1/2-3/4C Beef Stock, low sodium
- 2T Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2C BBQ Sauce - We like Meat Mitch Whomp Sauce to support small business (online or Academy) but Sweet Baby Rays is a good one too because it's accessible and the ole faithful of BBQ sauces.
- 1/4C Yellow Mustard
Whisk together in a bowl and adjust seasonings and consistency to taste. This is a braising liquid and mop, so it will be very light and runny but still lightly coat a spoon.
Tools, Veg, and Other
- 1 Yellow Onion - thinly sliced
- 3 cloves Garlic - smashed
- Aluminum Pan and foil
- Oak Pellets*, chips, or chunks
- Instant Read Meat Thermometer **
- Potato Bun - Just a personal preference, but I feel like they have more flavor and give the right meat-to-bread ratio
- Coleslaw - lightly dressed. In the produce section, grab a bag of coleslaw shredded cabbage and a jar of the refrigerated "slaw" dressing. It's easy, fresh, and doesn't have all the extra preservatives.
- Red onion - thinly sliced (opt)
- Dill pickles - thin (opt)
- Potato salad as a side.
*Oak Pellets - I'm smoking on a Traeger Pellet Grill. If you're using a charcoal grill, making a hybrid variation, or going straight IP see the cooking notes below. Beef needs a big flavor wood to mingle with. Hickory, Mesquite, Oak, or Post Oak are all strong choices.
** Meat Thermometer - I will always, always recommend using an instant read while cooking and smoking. It helps you to really learn and monitor the process. You can really hone in your tastes and timing with your equipment and produce consistent results.
All Smoker - 6-7hrs
This method takes place entirely on the smoker with 2HRS smoke directly on the grates, 1-2HRS Mopped or open in pan with braising liquid, and 2-3HRs tightly covered in foil until 203*-210* (until tender)
Preheat your smoker to 225* with Oak Pellets (or preferred hardwood)
Place your Dry Rubbed chuck roast directly on the grates and smoke for 2 hours, flipping 2-3 times. Don't mop or spray during this time to help with bark development.
After 2HRS, increase the temperature to 250* Transfer 1C of the braising liquid to a small bowl and mop the roast generously on both sides every 30-45minutes for 1-2HRS (or personal preference) the mop sauce and time in this stage will really intensify the smoke flavor because it gives the smoke more to adhere to. OR You can also just move the roast to the aluminum pan, add the liquid, onions, and garlic and leave it uncovered for this period. It will give you smoke exposure and prevent it from drying out. You can go longer or shorter on this step depending on your time constraints.
The final stage is the actual braise and tenderizing. Add the onions, garlic, and braising liquid to the pan. Take a piece of foil and tightly form a lid, being careful no to punch any holes. Keep the temperature at 250* and cook until internal temperature is 203-210* or the meat forks easily apart. About 2-3hrs depending on the size of the roast. *for a slightly faster cook you can cut the roast into 4-5 pieces before wrapping it up and base your "doneness" on tenderness rather than temperature. Enjoy!
The Smoker or Grill/ InstantPot (2-3hrs) or CrockPot (5-6hr) Hybrid
This method is great for getting all the authentic, wood burning BBQ flavor in a fraction of the time.. and you don't necessarily need a smoker to get the same smoky flavor. You can use your charcoal or even gas grill! Before I took the plunge into buying a smoker I simply used a smoke tube in my existing BBQ pit. I like this one from Amazon. You can fill it with soaked wood chips or with any type of smoking pellets (not fuel pellets, they're a totally different beast!!).
Smoker: After the initial smoking phase, simply Transfer the roast to the IP with the onions, garlic, and braising liquid and cook for 1HR with full or partial (at least 15min) natural release or until fork apart tender.
Gas Grill and Smoker Tube Combo: Turn the grill to low (225-250*) add the dry rub roast and the smoldering smoker tube full of pellets. Allow to cook 1-2hrs then transfer to the IP with the onions, garlic, and braising liquid.
Charcoal Grill: With charcoal, you won't be able to maintain a super low temp consistently and run the risk of drying out the roast. But you can spray a bit of oil on the *Cold* dry rubbed roast, put it directly on the grates of the hot fire, and get the initial sear and bit of char to add to the over all flavor. The colder roast will help ensure that only the outside cooks and the inside stays nice and moist. Transfer the roast to the IP with the onions, garlic, and braising liquid and cook for 1HR with full or partial (at least 15min) natural release.
All Inside InstantPot (1.5hrs) or CrockPot (6hrs)
- Cut your Roast into 4-5 large chunks.
- Season liberally with your dry rub and allow to rest at room temp while you get everything else prepped. This will help you achieve a better sear and final texture to your dish.
- You can use the Sauté function or a large cast iron skillet (I prefer the latter) add a tablespoon or two of high heat oil and heat until shimmering hot.
- Add your beef and hard sear on all sides. Make sure they are spaced out and work in batches if you need to. (I like my big girl skillet for this because I don't like working in batches)
- Skillet: Move beef to the IP, add onions and garlic to pan, sauté for 1-2 minutes, and then pour in some braising liquid, scrape with a spatula and add to the IP.
- IP: Remove the beef, add the onions and garlic, sauté for 1-2 minutes, and then pour in half of the braising liquid. Use a wooden spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan and add back the beef.
- Use your best judgment based on the amount of beef in the pot how much more braising liquid to add.. you probably won't need all of it.
- Set on Manual High Pressure for 1HR and allow for natural release for at least 15 minutes before switching to Vent. For smaller roasts, you can back this down closer to 45min + 15 NR.
Storage and Reheating
This dish is great to prep ahead of time and even store in the freezer for impromptu gatherings. We recommend storing in airtight bags, Vacuum packed is great but if you don't have a machine you can just as easily use a freezer bag or silicone storage bag with all the air pushed out.
To reheat, bring a pot of water to a very slow boil (if its frozen, start with lower heat). Add the sealed bag of beef to pot and allow it to gently warm the meat through. Thicker freezer bags, reusable silicone bags, and FoodSaver bags can take some heat.. I wouldn't recommend storage grade bags. Reheating in a water bath helps you maintain all of the moisture and flavor like it was fresh out of the smoker.