Braised BBQ Beef Sandwich

From the recipe archive, perfect for feeding a crowd.

My mother grew up in a house where there was constant entertaining. My nana was somewhat of a social bee and even I remember how every night was a party night when as a child I came to visit during the summer. Mom and dad were reminiscing the other day about one of their favorite recipes of my grandmother’s, her pulled beef, braised in BBQ sauce. Mom remembers Nana once feeding 80 people this dish at her small adobe house in Tucson. It’s terribly easy to make, you can easily double, triple, quadruple the recipe, making it perfect for serving large groups of people in an informal gathering, and it’s absolutely delicious.

Braised BBQ Beef Sandwich Recipe

  • Yield: Makes approximately 12 sandwiches.


  • One 3-pound chuck roast, rinsed and dried
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (preferably plum tomatoes)
  • 1 18-ounce bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (or 2 1/4 cups of your favorite homemade barbecue sauce)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 sandwich or hamburger buns


1 In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopping them in the pot. Add the barbecue sauce, increase heat to medium high and simmer for 10 minutes.

2 Add the chuck roast. Bring to a low simmer, cover and slow cook until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.

bbq-beef-sandwich-1.jpg bbq-beef-sandwich-2.jpg

3 Remove the meat from the pot. Use a fork and knife to separate the roast into small pieces. Set aside.

4 Increase the heat on the pot to medium/medium-high, uncover, and reduce the liquid until thick. Stir often to prevent burning.

5 Return the meat to the liquid in the pan. Warm both thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on buns.

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Showing 4 of 63 Comments

  • Dave

    I made this, with Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, as a Father’s Day treat. (Dad gets to do what he wants, right?) Also made some coleslaw. Served it outdoors with frosted mugs of Spaten Oktoberfest. Righteous! My wife, son, and mother-in-law all loved it as much as I did, and we had a boatload left to freeze. Muchas gracias, nana!

  • mikeinkansascity

    I used to make this a lot, usually with smaller cuts of meat (there’s only 1 to cook for) in the crockpot. It works well. You may have to crank up the heat and uncover the pot for a while to allow the sauce to thicken at the end of cooking. The only time I’ve had problems was with one brand of BBQ sauce that contained a lot of sugar. During the sauce reduction at higher heat, the sugary sauce carmelized and burnt. I normally use KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce.

  • matt

    Or in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes… Just started using one and WOW! Flavors are intense.

  • Lou Grubaugh

    Your BBQ beef recipe from your grandmother reminded me of a similar one from my maternal grandmother. When she moved from Texas to Arizona early in this century, she ran a sandwich shop in a small Arizona town. Her BBQ beef sandwiches were famous for miles around. The recipe was given to me by my mother and since has since become a favorite with many other family members. It can be cooked on the stovetop, in the oven, or in a slow cooker. Serves 8, but easily expanded for a large group. Can also be made with pork.

    2 1/2 to 3 lb. roast beef – sirloin tip, rump, or any lean cut
    2 tbsp. cooking oil
    4 or 5 cloves garlic, cut in slivers
    6 chile pequenos or 1 dry red chile pepper (remove the dry red pepper after about 3 hrs.) – amount of c hile can be varied to suit. Chile flakes could probably be substituted.
    1/2 cup vinegar
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1/2 cup sugar (or to taste
    2 large onions, sliced
    2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce

    Make slits on meat surfaces with a knife and insert garlic slivers. Salt and pepper and sear thoroughly in heated oil in a heavy pan with cover. Add other ingredients, cover and simmer several hours or until very tender. Slice or shred meat and return to sauce. Traditionally served on toasted buns as sandwiches with dill pickle, sliced onion and cole slaw on the side.

    Alternately makes a great southwestern dinner sliced and served with the sauce, and sides of black beans with Mexican condiments, corn bread and green salad. Or it is a great party appetizer served on dinner size rolls.

    Thanks Lou, for sharing your family recipe with us. Looks great! ~Elise

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