Chuck roast sings after a slow grill and some smoke flavor
photo by: Carl Tremblay/America's Test Kitchen via AP
For our Shredded Barbecued Beef, we cut a chuck roast into quarters. The smaller pieces of beef absorbed more smoke flavor and cooked much faster.
After cooking the meat in a disposable roasting pan on the cooler side of the grill for a few hours, we flipped all four pieces, wrapped the pan in foil, and placed the roast in the oven to finish cooking.
For a barbecue sauce with richer flavor, we sauteed the onions in beef fat from the pan. Chili powder and pepper added bite, while ketchup, vinegar, coffee, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and the beef juices rounded out the flavors.
If you prefer a smooth barbecue sauce, strain the sauce before tossing it with the beef. We like to serve this beef on white bread with plenty of pickle chips. Three medium wood chunks, soaked in water for 1 hour, can be substituted for the wood chips on a charcoal grill.
SHREDDED BARBECUED BEEF
Start to finish: 6 hours
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (5- to 6 pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and quartered
1 (13 by 9 inch) disposable aluminum roasting pan
3 cups wood chips, soaked in water for 15 minutes and drained
1 onion, chopped fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/4 cups ketchup
3/4 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Combine salt, pepper, and cayenne in small bowl. Pat meat dry with paper towels and rub evenly with spice mixture. Wrap meat in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour or refrigerate up to 24 hours. (If refrigerated, let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before grilling.) Before cooking, unwrap meat and transfer to disposable pan. Using two large pieces of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap soaked chips in two foil packets and cut several vent holes in tops.
• For a charcoal grill: Open vent completely. Light large chimney starter half filled with charcoal briquettes (3 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour into steeply banked pile against 1 side of grill. Place wood chip packets on coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 5 minutes.
• For a gas grill: Place wood chip packets directly on primary burner. Turn all burners to high, cover and heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn other burner(s) off. (Adjust primary burner as needed to maintain grill temperature between 250 F and 300 F.)
Place pan of meat on cool side of the grill. Cover (positioning lid vent over meat if using charcoal) and cook until meat is deep red, about 2 hours. During final 20 minutes of grilling, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 F.
Flip meat over in pan, cover pan tightly with foil, and roast beef in oven until fork slips easily in and out of beef, 2 to 3 hours.
Transfer meat to large bowl, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 30 minutes. While meat rests, skim fat from accumulated juices in pan; reserve 2 tablespoons fat. Strain defatted juices; reserve 1/2 cup juice. Combine onion and reserved fat in medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until onion has softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup, coffee, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, pepper, and any accumulated meat juices and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Using two forks, pull meat into shreds, discarding any excess fat or gristle. Toss meat with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.