3.5 lbs chuck roast
2 tsps liquid smoke
1 tbl brown sugar
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp mustard powder
pinch of cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup ketchup
Rub the roast with the liquid smoke. Combine all the other ingredients except ketchup, reserving 1.5 tsps, and rub them evenly over the roast. Wrap the roast loosely (but tightly sealed to keep in the juices) in foil and cook at 275 for 3-4 hours. Remove the beef from the foil, reserving the juices. Pour the juices into a gravy separator and separate out the fat. If there aren't enough juices to come over the spout of the separator, add some water. Pour the juices into a sauce pot that's big enough to hold all the beef. Add the ketchup and reserved spice rub, then reduce the sauce till it's quite thick and the flavors have mingled, stirring occasionally. While the sauce is reducing shred the beef, discarding any fat. Add the shredded beef and mix it to combine. Let it cook over medium-low heat for a couple minutes to heat it through and let the sauce caramelize a bit. Serve hot.
Crap, I'm running out of stuff to make this way! I've already done chicken and pork, now beef. I'm going to have to start doing exotic things soon, like emu or bison. Mmmm, barbecue pulled bison.
Sorry, I was somewhere else for a minute there. Ok, it's no secret that I love barbecue pulled stuff (it's also no secret that I have no interest in quibbling over the definition of barbecue, so consider this the mandatory "don't waste your breath telling me this isn't REAL barbecue, because I don't give a s#!t" disclaimer.). This particular version isn't that different from my pulled pork, except that it's beef and I rubbed the roast with liquid smoke before the spice rub. And the spice rub is ever so slightly different too, but not that much. No cumin, added onion powder, changed some measurements. That's it really. But the flavor is very different, especially since I used a chuck roast. You could also use a brisket if you wanted, but I had a chuck roast in the freezer. And it worked out really well, so I would probably do it with the chuck again. The strong, beefy flavor wasn't overpowered by all the spices and the big vein of fat kept it nice and moist during the long, slow cooking. Plus all that fat helped it come apart really easily in the end. So, here's what I did.
First I took a big chunk of chuck. Don't worry, most of that fat is going to be tossed out in the end. Well, what doesn't melt and soak into the meat that is. Which is why it's so damn good. Next I rubbed it with some liquid smoke. I didn't really measure it, I just used enough to give it a light coating. It gave it a nice, smoky flavor. Then, the spice rub. I liked this rub for beef, but I don't think I'd use it on chicken. Leaving out the cumin lets the meat's flavor come through a lot more (cumin being so powerful), which is good when the meat has lots of flavor. When I make pulled chicken it's with boneless, skinless breasts, so all the flavor is coming from the rub. Anyway, rub the rub, but keep one and a half teaspoons of it aside for the sauce. Don't be shy with it, there's a lot of meat there.Then wrap it loosely in foil (but seal it tightly, you don't want the juices escaping), put it in a rimmed baking dish, just in case (I used a jelly roll pan), and into the oven for three or four hours. I think I had it in for three and a half. You'd think after all this time I'd start paying more attention to times, since I almost always say something like "I wasn't paying attention, so I don't know how long it was in for" with recipes like this. But I don't. Ah well. When it's done, take it out and plop it into a large bowl. It's not very pretty, but man does it smell good. Let it cool a bit before you shred it. This gives you time to deal with the juices. Mmmm, beefy. There's a lot of fat in there. You want that gone. I use a gravy separator, but I didn't get a good picture of it. I also added some water to bring the juices above the little spout hole thingy. The water didn't affect the flavor since I reduced it a lot. Which is the next thing, pour the juices into a sauce pot and reduce them a bit. Then add the reserved spice rub and the ketchup. You could easily use pureed tomatoes or canned plain tomato sauce in this, but I didn't feel like opening up a can to use half of it. Now let it simmer to reduce to a thick sauce and to let the flavors mingle. I've always been amused by that phrase "let the flavors mingle". I picture tiny cocktail parties, jars of spices in wee dresses and suits, drinking little martinis, spreading gossip.
"Did you hear? Cilantro and Cumin are breaking up!"
"Oh no! What will happen to their baby, Adobo?"
"I hear she's going to live with her Uncle Coriander down in Arizona."
Am I the only one? I am? Ok, well, we'll pretend that never happened then. So, while the sauce is reducing, shred the beef. Discard any big pieces of fat (and there will be some big pieces of fat). Also stir the sauce occasionally, you don't want it to burn. When the sauce has reduced, toss the meat in and stir it up. Let it cook for a bit so the meat absorbs some of the sauce and it caramelizes just a bit. Then that's it. Except for taking blurry pictures.Toss it on a roll (or some fresh french bread, if you happen to have some) and mow. This is a seriously beefy, tasty, filling sandwich.