Before we start: I know this is not Real Barbecue™. It’s not better than beef cooked all day (and all night) in a smoker. But it is good, and it is easy.
To make it easy, I keep the prep to an absolute minimum. I want 2-inch cubes, so I look for a 2-inch thick Top Round roast in my grocer’s meat case – then I only need to cut that roast lengthwise and crosswise into roughly 2-inch cubes, trimming any major lines of gristle as I go. (Don’t buy pre-cut stew meat, even if it’s top round – stew meat is cut into 3/4-inch to 1-inch chunks, much too small for this recipe.) I always have a batch of barbecue rub in my pantry and barbecue sauce in the fridge, so the rest of the recipe is easy. Sprinkle the beef with the rub, put it in the pot with some water, and spread the barbecue sauce over the top. (Don’t stir it much – sauce that sticks to the bottom of the pot may burn while under pressure.)
The last trick, if it is one, is not adding all of the sauce from the pot. (I’m always amazed at how much liquid is in the pot after pressure cooking.) The sauce is thin, but full of flavor, from beef juices mixing with barbecue sauce. Shred the beef, then only add as much of the sauce as you need to make it wet. (I pour the rest of the pot sauce into a fat separator and pass it at the table for anyone who wants more, or likes sloppy beef.)
Video: Pressure Cooker Barbecued Beef Top Round Sandwiches (2:19)
Video: Pressure Cooker Barbecued Beef Top Round Sandwiches [YouTube.com]Print
Pressure Cooker Barbecued Beef Top Round Sandwiches – a quick weeknight dinner with big beefy flavor.
- 2 pounds beef top round cut into 2-inch cubes (or chuck, or bottom round)
- ½ cup water
- 8 hamburger buns
Barbecue Rub (2 tablespoons of my Homemade Barbecue Rub), or use your favorite store-bought rub
- ¾ tablespoon paprika
- ¾ tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ tablespoon fine sea salt
- ½ tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Barbecue sauce (1 cup of my Easy Barbecue Sauce), or use your favorite store bought sauce
- ¾ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I use Franks Red Hot)
- Spice the beef and make the barbecue sauce: In a small bowl, stir the barbecue rub ingredients (paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme), breaking up clumps of brown sugar with your fingers. Sprinkle the beef cubes with 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt, then the barbecue rub. In a medium bowl, whisk the barbecue sauce ingredients (ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, hot sauce) until smooth.
- Everything in the pot: Pour the water into the pressure cooker pot, then add the spiced beef in an even layer. Put the barbecue sauce on top of the beef and spread it around evenly. Don’t stir too much – we want the water on the bottom, the beef in the middle, and the barbecue sauce on top, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
- Pressure cook for 30 minutes with natural pressure release: Lock the lid on the cooker. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes in an electric pressure cooker (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 25 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 more minutes. (If you’re in a hurry, you can quick release any remaining pressure after 15 minutes.) Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the hot steam.
- Shred the beef, add the sauce, and serve: Remove the beef from the pot with a slotted spoon, then shred the beef with a pair of forks. Ladle liquid from the pot onto the shredded beef until it is saucy enough. (I add about a cup of sauce from the pot to the beef.) Spoon onto the buns and enjoy!
- Traditional beef barbecue toppings are thin-sliced onions and pickles. The tart flavors are a nice counterpoint to the rich, sweet beef.
- Want to use more of the sauce from the pot? Pass it at the table. Like I said in the headnotes, I pour it into a fat separator to pass at the table.
- Smaller cubes? Cook 1½-inch cubes for 22 minutes, or 1-inch cubes for 15 minutes. That said, cook to the size of the largest cubes. If most of your cubes are 2 inches, that’s fine. A few smaller ones won’t hurt.
- Category: Weeknight Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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