Lori Gamble, my guest on Episode 006 of The Storied Recipe Podcast, shared with us the recipe for this classic Beef BBQ recipe. With it, you can make enough hot beef sandwiches for a crowd of hungry guests!! Multiply it as many times as you like! It's a simple recipe and will turn out perfectly every time you make it, just as it is. Like all classics, however, as Lori reminds us, there's plenty of freedom to make it your own.
Several weeks ago I was at my niece’s field hockey game. I was cold, hungry, but also very happy. Happy for the three generations of family in the stands with me, thankful for the cousins that are my kid’s best friends, thankful for the beautiful scene of the sun setting behind the trees ringing the field, and very, very happy that I had a warm, hearty, nourishing, barbeque bubbling away in a cast iron pot at home. I knew as soon as I stepped in the door, we could ladle that hot, bold, hearty beef onto soft rolls, cover with tangy coleslaw, and eat within 5 minutes.
As usual, I shared the recipe below exactly as written by my podcast guest, then added my own experience and notes below. In the case of this recipe, I also added many notes shared by Lori, the current owner of the recipe, who inherited it from her mother, grandparents, and great-grandparents.
Episodes Related to This Recipe
Follow The Storied Recipe in Your Favorite Player
Lori learned this recipe from her grandparents, in the home where they raised 11 children and freely welcomed grandchildren. When Lori's parents were divorced when she was 10, Lori took over the chore of cooking. To many, this would be a burden, but Lori loved it. In this episode, she shares with us the many, many things she has learned in her years of cooking - from simple, practical tips to sage advice about making cooking all about the people we feed, not ourselves.
Notes from Lori
I always cube the chuck roast myself. I use larger cubes (2+" or so) so I can control the shred/mash at the end and to keep it from overcooking. When browning meat, as per usual for a dish like this, do not over-crowd. Brown in batches if needed based on the quantity you are making (I generally double the recipe because it freezes so well). Also - when baking, stir periodically and check the moisture. Don't be afraid to add a tablespoon of water here and there if necessary. Although it doesn't say in the recipe, I do drain most, but not all, of the fat (if there is any) before adding ingredients after browning the meat. Use a potato masher (could also be a good prop) rather than shredding with a fork. There is a slight difference in the consistency of the meat. Also - I feel like this recipe cooks faster in modern ovens. Check regularly after 2 hours, but you shouldn't have to work hard to get the meat to fall apart.
My grandmother (as seen on the screen shot of the recipe) always used Brooks Rich & Tangy Ketchup. It can be hard to find but it can be purchased on Amazon. I have played with this over the years and have found that you can substitute half ketchup/half chili sauce, but I recommend buying the Brooks. Do NOT use plain ketchup! Also - if possible, purchase your meat from a local butcher shop. I promise you if you use grocery store meat, the recipe will be gross. My grandparents did nearly ALL their shopping at a small, local market/butcher shop in Cincinnati.
My Experience with This Recipe
My family and I LOVED this recipe, which we discussed at length in the podcast episode. I would make it exactly as is! In place of Brook's Ketchup, I used ½ ketchup and ½ Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce, which also worked. The second time I made it, I tried Lori's suggestion of the chili sauce, which was also wonderful! If you really want to get this in the oven quickly, you *can* skip the browning, although it's not recommended