Braised BBQ Beef Sandwich

Chuck roast, slow cooked on low heat in a braise of barbecue sauce, then shredded and served over sandwich buns. Great for big parties.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes enough for 12 sandwiches.


  • One 3-pound chuck roast, rinsed and dried
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin 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 Make sauce with onions, tomatoes, BBQ sauce: 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 beef roast, simmer on low for 3 hours: Add the chuck roast. Bring to a low simmer, cover and slow cook until meat is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 3 hours.


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


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

5 Return meat to sauce: 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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  • Jenny K.

    Thanks for the recipe! Turned out great. I used a 1.5 lbs roast and cooked for 2.25 hours. Beef was tender and flavorful.

  • Rose

    I like to cook for large amounts of people and would like to make it for about 80 to 100. How much meT do I need?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Rose, great question! I don’t know. If anyone reading this has a suggestion, please chime in.

      • Ala

        I would usually count 8oz per person. So, there will be a pound for two people. I guess you are looking for 40-50lbs of meat. Sorry, this suggestion is probably terribly outdated.

        Elise, thank you for this beautiful recipe, I have made it twice, it is fuss free, fool-proof, and incredibly scrumptious!

  • Stephanie

    This was so good! The meat just fell apart and as so flavorful. It also halved really well, since my roast was only 1 1/2 pounds. I did add a hatch style pepper with the onion (they’re seasonal in my garden right now, so I’m pretty much adding them to everything!). This was very easy and tasted like it took much more time. For those of you interested, if you just pull the roast out of the pan, you could just serve it like a regular roast and top it with the sauce instead of shredding it. Next time I’ll try this recipe with pork! It’s usually what I buy since beef is so expensive. Got my chuck roast on sale, and I’m sure glad I chose this recipe for cooking it!

  • Phil

    Hello, Elise…
    I have a question about a plate I see in your “Braised BBQ Beef Sandwich” recipe.
    About 25 yrs. ago, I bought a set of dishes like this one, Cobalt blue and bright white. Most have been broken. I can not find them any where! Can you point me in the right direction?

    Thank you for any and all help you can give.

    Philip M. Crow Sr.

    PS- Love your site and recipes!!!

  • Michelle

    Not sure if I missed something, but the directions say after adding the BBQ sauce to turn up to medium high heat, but then simmer for 10 minutes? I kept it at medium high heat for 10 min. and got some crusty burnt stuff going before I raced from the dishes to stir it and save it from more burning, but was I supposed to just raise it up and then lower to a simmer? Just a little unclear to me, since medium high seems a bit hot for a simmer and it definitely needed attentive stirring to avoid a burnt bottom. Still smells delicious, but I’m going to have a time cleaning my dutch oven later!

    Also, do you use boneless or bone-in chuck roast? I couldn’t find the bone-in at the store, so had to go with boneless, just wondering if I should search harder next time. Thanks! I’m looking forward to the final results, love all the recipes on this site.

  • Vito

    Do you think this would work well with beef short ribs if the excess fat were separated?

    • Elise Bauer

      I think it would be great, but you would have to separate the fat. The best way to do that would be to chill it overnight and let the fat solidify so you can easily pull it off.

      • Vito

        Awesome. I made this recipe (served as tacos with some vinegar-based slaw) a couple of weeks ago for some friends and it was a huge hit. I couldn’t get a large enough roast this week with winter storm Pax causing a ruckus so short ribs it is!

  • Lori

    We had this for dinner last night and it was AMAZING!!!! I made it a day ahead of time (cooked it for about 4 hours) and the flavors were so delicious. Only change I made was that I added a little garlic. So yummy! Thanks so much for sharing – I LOVE your recipes!!!!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Lori, I’m glad you liked it! My grandmother would be so pleased.

  • Jen

    I made this last night for dinner. Simple, needs only minimal attention, and really flavorful! (Which is good because, working from home, I have time to prep dinner during the day but not enough time for anything complicated.) I added some elephant garlic, and used a bottle of Pendleton BBQ Sauce. Even my 2 year old devoured it, and dinner for him is usually a very relaxed, lengthy affair! This is going in my dinner rotation whenever I have a roast on hand.

  • Steffanie

    I really loved this and so did my family. I used your Bourbon Barbecue Sauce recipe. This was my first time to make homemade sauce. It was so easy and flavorful! My oldest son is super picky about seeing tomatoes so I was wondering if tomato paste with beef broth could be a substitute?

    Thank you! Love your recipes!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Steffanie,
      You could try it that way. Let us know how it works out!

  • Alexandra

    Hi Elise,

    This recipe sounds fantastic and I am hoping to make it this weekend for a dinner I am hosting. Can you give me some ideas as to what I could have as side dishes?

    Thank you!

    I suggest coleslaw. ~Elise

  • Simon, Princeton NJ

    I like this recipe a lot, because our local Amish run Farmer’s Market does great meat, and the chuck roasts always look great to buy (have basically used the same cooking approach to also make it into Goulash and a Thai style curry). I usually put it in the [email protected]~300 for 3 hours once the onions have been cooked. Stick some potatoes in alongside to bake and they go together beautifully.

    This most recent time we chopped a handful of fresh coriander into it at the shredding stage, and that’s given it a gorgeous flavour.

    I’ve not found the brand of BBQ sauce I use has much bearing on the final product, possibly because I add a load of extra seasoning anyway, ginger and garlic and chillies with the onions, sometimes mustard with the sauce. Plenty of space for experimentation…


  • laura

    I made this today and it was very good.I used diced tomates that were prespiced with onion and garlic. For the meat I used an english roast as they tend to be a little leaner then the chuck. Also I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory and Brown Sugar sauce as I perfer Sweeter Barbaque and I added about 26 ounces rather then 18 ounces. Thank you so much for the recipe.This was just what I had been looking for and my family loved it.

  • Linda

    Hi, I loved this recipe! Made it for dinner last evening. Simmered in the oven at 250 for 4 hours cause had plans. The only changes I made were with the onions I chopped up 4 cloves of garlic. I used KC Masterpiece regular sauce. And I added a bottle of amber beer to the tomato/onion mixture and let that reduce to about half. I had with it some potato salad. The whole thing was delicious, froze the leftover beef! Thanks so much for the recipes!

  • Morgan

    I made this last night with a few tweaks bases on the comments I saw here. IT CAME OUT GREAT. Here’s what I did:

    Seared beef on all sides
    Sauteed onions in olive oil
    Added 1 bottle of beer (Miller High Life)
    Added barbecue sauce (Dinosaur BBQ Slathering Sauce)
    Added beef, sprinkled with barbecue rub, and cooked for 3 hours (could have cooked longer)
    Shredded beef while sauce reduced (got it nice and thick)
    Added beef to sauce and cooked a bit longer

    No tomatoes (definitely didn’t need them) and the sauce was delicious. I also added a bit of liquid smoke which gave it a nice outdoor flavor.

  • Karen

    I made this on Saturday for consumption Sunday evening, figuring that sitting in the fridge would let the flavors increase in magnitude, and it was delightful!

    I screwed up and put the meat back in between steps 2 and 3, but that didn’t hurt anything — a very forgiving recipe! After it was all cooked, I ended up reducing and stirring in another half bottle of barbecue sauce to increase the tang level; I’m sure the amount of sauce you need varies widely by the sauce itself. I used Amy’s Smokey Maple for the first addition and Natural Directions Backyard BBQ for the second.

    There was a tub of fresh pineapple in the fridge calling to me, so I added a cup of diced pineapple between steps 2 and 3, which I highly recommend — feedback from my six test diners indicated that next time, there should be more pineapple in bigger chunks (and that next time should be soon!).

    The recipe made waaaaaay more than 12 sandwiches for me — I haven’t finished the leftovers yet, but I’d estimate that it’s more on the order of 20, which makes me very happy since it’s so tasty!

  • Joanna

    I just got this ready to do the cooking part tomorrow. All the way to putting the roast in, and my partner will do the slow cooking part.

    We raised 2 steers on our pasture, and they are very lean (i.e. tough) so long slow cooking like this is perfect. Can’t wait to try the results!

  • Alison

    Another winner! My husband loves it. I used Stubb’s Original BBQ sauce. I cooked it in a Dutch oven at about 250 for 4 hours. Then I simmered down the sauce on the stove top. So easy and so tasty!

  • foodie

    I am a big fan of braising. Especially the larger cuts. I would eat this example every day for a month if I could. Grannies always know their stuff don’t they.


    Tried this with K.C. Masterpiece BBQ sauce and it came out excellent! Your gramma was a heck of a cook. Thanks for the recipe. ;0)

  • Laine

    Serious comfort food! – Tried it the first time a couple weeks ago, shared it with coworkers who also liked it; then I made a double recipe for Super Bowl and it was a big hit. The best indicator of success: two other friends have now made this recipe for their families.

    FYI I included the liquid with the tomatoes; and used Cattleman’s bbq sauce purchased at the supermarket. I was trying to avoid liquid smoke or excessive sweetness, and this worked well.

  • Melissa

    This is FANTASTIC. I made it (as written!)for dinner last week with a spicy slaw, and everyone raved about it. It was perfect for the snowy weekend that followed–my husband and I couldn’t wait for leftovers!

  • Beth

    This evening I made this for tomorrow’s Super Bowl gathering. I just had to try a sandwich and it’s delicious! I’m looking forward to serving it tomorrow.

  • Maria

    Just made this recipe. It is really good. Will make it again. Enough to eat & freeze for later.


  • Delta

    I made this on Sunday – WOW! Such simple ingredients, served with homemade potato salad and what a smashing success. I’ve shared with co-workers! Thank you Elise.

  • Cindy

    Hi – we really enjoyed this! I made it with Ina Garten’s bbq sauce and Smitten Kitchen’s light brioche burger buns.

  • lisi

    I made this tonight and it was DELICIOUS and so very easy. My kids loved it – served it with quinoa – and also a yellow rice. Huge hit :)

  • Muffy

    I’m full… and soooo glad I made this tonight. I used organic grass-fed beef with “Amarillo Willy’s” bbq sauce (found at Berkeley Bowl). Mine needed about 4 hours to become tender. I slopped a huge scoop on a tasty hamburger bun from Semifreddi’s bakery and sauteed sliced zucchini in some butter as my side. Paired all this with a nice cabernet and I was in HEAVEN. And the best part? It’s soooo simple! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Irene

    OMG, my house smells soooooooooo good right now! Rainy, windy day, great comfort food and different from the same old pot roast recipe. Will have a freezer full of 2-person servings after tomorrow! Can’t imagine what went wrong with Katie’s – maybe the wrong cut of meat?

  • MaryHBrock

    Loved it – I’m 7 months past weight loss surgery, and I loved it, my family went nuts for it. Even better on Day 2. I passed this on to several friends and family members who are now following your blog.

  • Susan Gailunas

    I brought this recipe to make on our annual family vacation. My son liked the looks of it and offered to make it for us and it was delicious! He is a firefighter and he decided to make it in the firehouse for dinner and it was a big hit with the guys. Thanks!


  • Mike

    WOW is this fantastic and EASY to make!

  • Katie

    I was so excited when I saw this recipe and ran out to the store to pick up a chuck roast.

    I thought it was awful. We threw it away. Followed the directions exactly, used good quality ingredients.

    Oh well.

  • Ericka

    I made this yesterday, it is really good. The meat I had was a bit fatty, so I spent a good deal of time while shredding, removing the fat. I used Red Hook Ale bbq sauce, which is the only bbq sauce I really like. Made open faced sandwiches with this for dinner last night, they were delicious! I knew the moment I saw this recipe last week that I would have to make it. I’m glad I did! Should make terrific leftovers tonight! Thanks.

  • Richard

    Tried it yesterday, meat was also a bit tough, but I will try cook it a little longer next time. Thanks a lot.

  • Rosalina

    Thank you for sharing this recipe.
    I’ve been looking for a BBQ Beef recipe for sandwiches.
    This one was really good.
    IT’S A KEEPER.!!! My son loved it.
    Thanks again.

  • Amber

    I made this in my crockpot yesterday and it was amazing. We’re planning on having it for every meal until it’s gone. Tonorrow I’m going to try it over grits. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Sarah Whitney

    I am trying to make this dish and don’t know where I have gone wrong? I started it at 2:30 today put it on the stove on low simmer it didn’t seem to be cooking at all so about 3 hours in I put it in the oven at 225 and it has now been in the oven for about 2 hours and it is still very tough? Did I over cook it or is it just not done yet?

    Sounds like you have one tough piece of meat. Happens sometimes. You probably just need to cook it longer. Make sure that you have a tight fitting lid so that it doesn’t dry out. If the lid isn’t tight fitting, you can put a large piece of foil over the pot and then the lid on top of that. If the roast is at all drying out, you have the temp too high and the lid not tight enough. Back to the meat. Leaner roasts will be tougher, so that might be the issue here. We always look for cuts that have lots of fat marbling, it will help the roast cook up more tender. In older times people used to thread lard through lean roasts if there wasn’t enough fat. BTW, I cooked some chopped up moose meat the other day and it took 12 hours to get it to finally not be tough and chewy, the meat was so tough and lean. ~Elise

  • Natanya

    I threw a “walk down memory lane” 4th of July BBQ party last night and included this recipe along with my grandmother’s BBQ chicken and some baby back ribs. Because I had so many meat options, I served small rolls along side instead of buns so people could make mini sandwiches – BBQ beef sliders if you will.

    This recipe was great because I could do so much of the work ahead of time and I like how easy it is to double or triple for a big crowd.

    I think the BBQ sauce you choose is critical. I selected one bottled by my local market that had a smoky flavor and it was just right.

  • Debbi

    This dish was amazing and so delicious. Very flavorful. Thank you!

  • Karl

    Sorry Elise, but this one is just OK. The tomatoes added just too much liquid and diluted the flavor of the BBQ sauce. I’m not saying it was bad, just lacked much flavor… the kind of flavor I expect from BBQ’d beef. And yes, I did reduce the simmering liquid after the braise until thick.

    I did brown the roast on all sides before I added it to my dutch oven for braising. Old habits never die.

    If I were to do this again, I would not add the BBQ sauce with the tomatoes and dump most of the liquid after the beef is removed. Pull the meat, add the BBQ sauce, and just a little of the simmering sauce to thin slightly. This also cuts down a bit on the fat as well.

  • corynne escalante

    Hi Elise! This looks great…

    One question, though. When you add the tomatoes, are you supposed to add the tomato juices as well? I wasn’t sure, but I went ahead and added the juice. i am now waiting anxiously to see if it turns out right… I am starting to think I wasn’t supposed to add it.

    Well Corynne, I asked my dad about it, because he and mom were the ones who made it, and he can’t remember. I suspect that he pulled the tomatoes out of the can, shred them with his fingers on the way in, and maybe added some of the liquid that was in the can. As far as he’s concerned it doesn’t make that big of a difference because you reduce the heck out of the sauce anyway. ~Elise

  • cindy

    OMG! This is soooo good! My Boyfriend and Myself both LOVED it. I made it using a BBQ sauce recipe I got from another site. And added about a TBSP minced garlic. I will absolutely be making this again. It is very easy to make too.

  • HomeCook

    I made this with chicken thighs – so pulled chicken – and leftover marinara sauce instead of the canned tomatoes. It turned out great! I did spike up the heat a bit with Tabasco since the barbecue sauce on hand was more sweet than hot. As always, Elise, another easy recipe for home cooks. Thank you for keeping it real!

  • Chris

    This was a perfect Sunday dish for the slow cooker that left us with a few days of leftovers. Cooked on high for about 3.5 hours then for another 30 minutes after shredding and it came out perfect. We ate this over some potato buns with coleslaw on the side. The only thing that I would change next time would be a bit more spice to help balance out the sweetness of the sauce. I can’t wait to make this again.

  • Elle

    I made this today using a slow cooker. First I cooked the onions, tomatoes, and BBQ sauce in a pan before transferring the mixture to my crockpot. Set it on low for 6 hours and high for the last 2.

    I used Speed Queen BBQ sauce which is a local favorite, but to be frank the sauce didn’t strike me as anything more than ketchup, hot sauce, and vinegar. I added cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, and a splash of port wine to deepen and sweeten the flavors.

    The meat itself came out delicious, but the sauce was very watery, even after I tried to reduce it. Next time I’ll use a different sauce…

    A really good BBQ sauce I’ve had before that contains no high fructose corn syrup is Bone Suckin’ BBQ Sauce. The only reason I didn’t use it this time is it isn’t sold in any local stores near me.

  • Linda

    Hi Elise,

    Slow cooking does make any cut of meat tender!
    Did you use a vingar or tomato based BBQ in your recipe?

    Hi Linda, I think most BBQ sauces have both tomato and vinegar in them, ours did; the first ingredient was tomatoes. ~Elise

  • chrisp

    I made this yesterday and let it simmer on my back burner for 6 hours (Wolf Range with super low simmer)–it was so good and easy!!–next time I think I will use a spicier bbq sauce that has no fructose corn syrup in it–does anyone have a suggestion?

  • Pieg!rl

    I made this for dinner tonight. My husband loved it! Thanks, Elise!

  • Diane Villegas

    Hi Elise: I love it when you talk about Tucson because that’s where I live and have lived for many, many years. This recipe reminds me of the standard recipe for shredded meat that is served at all Mexican celebrations but made without barbeque sauce. A lot of these celebrations are held in a park and almost always includes shredded beef, a big pot of pinto beans, a big pot of Spanish rice, either potato or macaroni salad, flour tortillas and lots of cerveza!

    When my daughter was little, she asked me one time when we were getting ready for a birthday celebration if we were going to have “party meat” and that name has stuck all these years! So, how about giving all your fans a recipe for “party meat”!! Keep up the good work!

  • Claudia

    I tried this yesterday and I was very pleased with the result. I added more bbq sauce probably 27 oz, about a bottle and a half, because I thought the sauce had too much of a tomato taste with only the 18 oz of bbq sauce. My husband suggested a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes the next time to give the sauce a little spice.

  • 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

  • matt

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

  • 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.

  • 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!