Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Southern Beef Barbecue Sandwiches with Creamy Coleslaw

Deliciously tender, slow-cooked barbecue is revered all over the United States, and in the South, you may just find a heap of sweet and creamy coleslaw sitting on top of it. While slaw is common on the side of your plate just about anywhere, the southern way is to enjoy it as part of a sandwich. And that way is truly delicious.

When I want especially sweet and creamy coleslaw, I add one not-so-secret ingredient: evaporated milk. The milk itself is fairly sweet with a silky texture, so when blended with a bit of mayonnaise and white sugar, both taste and texture are enhanced. And the flavor is simply delightful.

While real barbecue, of course, is cooked outdoors over an open flame, for this recipe, I braised the beef and sauce together in the oven, giving them plenty of slow-time to develop blended flavors and rich barbecue taste. Yes, cooking the meat in the sauce makes shredding the chunks a little messy in the end, but one taste and you’ll forget all about that.

This is key: Chuck roast releases a considerable amount fat during braising, and that fat will rise to the top as the meat cooks. When the cooking is finished, remove the beef and carefully pour off the oil from the top of the barbecue sauce. Do this through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl so that you can catch any sauce that accidentally slides out with the fat. Simply stir the sauce back into the pan and you’re ready to proceed.

Makes 8 sandwiches


For the Beef
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 3-lb beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 8-oz can no-salt tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chile powder
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried red chile flakes
  • 8 large sandwich buns or kaiser rolls
Chuck Roast 
Beef Ready to Cook
For the Coleslaw
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk 
  • 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped shaved carrot (shave the carrot with a vegetable peeler, then chop)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
Shaved Carrot
Chopped Shaved Carrot

For the Beef
  1. Preheat the oven to 250° F.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven or deep, ovenproof pan (with a tight-fitting lid) over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil.
  3. Add the beef and season with salt and pepper. Sear until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the meat to a plate.
Beef Beginning to Sear 
Browned Beef
  1. Reduce the heat to medium. If the pan is dry, add about 1 tablespoon more oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté 2 minutes.
  2. Add the next 10 ingredients (through chile flakes) and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring well to combine, 5 minutes.
Garlic and Onion Beginning to Cook
Barbecue Sauce Beginning to Cook
  1. Return the beef to the pan, nestling down into the sauce. Cover the pan tightly and place in the oven. Braise until the meat is fork-tender and easily shredded, about 3 hours, turning once halfway through. (Fat will rise to the top.)
Beef Returned to the Pan
Braised Beef with Fat on Top
  1. Move the pan to the stovetop. Transfer the meat to a large plate and let cool. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat into thin shreds.
Beef Cooling 
Shredded Beef
  1. Place a sieve over a bowl and carefully pour off the fat from the top of the sauce in the pan. (Stir any sauce caught in the sieve back into the pan.)
  2. Return the shredded beef to the sauce and stir to combine. Re-warm over low heat.
Drained Fat 
Sauce with Fat Poured Off 
Beef Returned to the Sauce
To serve, spoon the beef barbecue onto the bottoms of the rolls. Mound coleslaw (recipe follows) on top and close the sandwiches. Serve right away.

For the Coleslaw
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, and sugar and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss the cabbage, bell pepper, carrot, and red onion in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the slaw and combine well. Cover and chill 1-2 hours.
Coleslaw Dressing
Slaw Vegetables 
Creamy Coleslaw

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