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Tender, juicy, savory and sweet — this Dutch Oven BBQ Beef transforms an affordable cut of meat into a delicious and satisfying lunch or dinner. Serve the shredded bbq beef sandwiches with a side of coleslaw, corn salad, pickles or cucumber salad. It’s an easy, family-friendly meal to enjoy all year long!

Front shot of a shredded beef bbq sandwich on a wooden cutting board

BBQ Shredded Beef Recipe

Dutch oven bbq beef is an easy and affordable dinner, so it’s ideal for busy days when you don’t have the time or attention to tend to a more high-maintenance smoker or grill. With just a few minutes of prep, you can have a big batch of tender, juicy meat to use in tacos, sandwiches, wraps or salads all week long. You’ll love the taste of the sweet and zesty bbq rub, the crispy seared beef, and the richly flavored homemade barbecue sauce!

What cut of beef is used for BBQ beef?

Chuck roast is a very common cut for juicy, tender shredded barbecue beef in the oven, but you can also use a brisket or a round roast.

A boneless chuck roast (or a bone-in chuck roast, if you can find it) is my first choice because it has great marbling, making the roast tender and juicy when braised. Chuck roast is cut from the shoulder just above the short rib, so it’s tougher (and therefore more affordable) than those cut from the front part of the animal, like the sirloin or short loin.

The Oven-Braised Method

Our family enjoys grilled or smoked beef barbecue when Keith can devote the time and attention to the process; however, sometimes it’s rainy, the weather is cold, or we just don’t want to be tied to a grill or a smoker all day. That’s where this braised bbq beef comes in! You don’t need a grill or a smoker to make tender, juicy and flavorful barbecue. Instead, bake the meat in the oven for a simple, easy, hands-off meal.

This beef is loaded with layers of flavor, since it’s coated in an easy dry rub first, braised in beer, and then tossed with barbecue sauce at the end. The key to tender, fall-apart barbecue is time. The low-and-slow cooking process allows the tough fibers and collagen (connective tissue) to break down, while the fat keeps the beef moist and juicy. Just be patient and let the oven do its job for a few hours!

Why Use a Dutch Oven

Many folks prefer the convenience of a Crock Pot slow cooker or even an Instant Pot, but I find that the Dutch oven yields the best tasting barbecue every time.

Dutch ovens are made from cast iron, so they retain and evenly distribute the heat. Plus, the tight-fitting lid traps the moisture inside the pot — resulting in the juiciest braised beef that you will ever taste. Instead of a dried-out piece of meat that has been cooked to death in a slow cooker, you can easily control the cooking time and then simmer the sauce right in the same pot. It’s the way to go!

Overhead shot of a Dutch oven full of beef bbq

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for shredded beef barbecue. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Chuck roast: I used boneless here, which is easier to find in grocery stores. A bone-in roast will also work, though.
  • BBQ rub: a combination of all-purpose flour, brown sugar, smoked paprika, kosher salt, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and cumin.
  • Butter and olive oil: to sear the meat.
  • Beer: I like a lager or a pilsner for braising the beef.
  • Ketchup, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce: to make the zesty barbecue sauce.

How to Make BBQ Beef

This simple meal only requires about 30 minutes of hands-on prep, while the oven does the rest of the work!

  1. Season the beef with the dry rub.
  2. Sear the meat on both sides, just to give it a bit of color. This adds flavor and helps to lock in the juices. Be careful not to let the sugars burn too much.
  3. Add beer to the pot, then cover with the lid.
  4. Bake in a 275° F oven for a total of about 3 hours, removing the lid during the final 45 minutes. The beef is done when it’s fall-apart tender.
  5. Remove the beef from the Dutch oven and let the meat rest while you prepare the sauce.
  6. Add ketchup, vinegar, mustard, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce to the pot with the drippings.
  7. Simmer the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Shred the beef with two forks.
  9. Toss the shredded meat with about half of the sauce, reserving the remaining sauce for serving.
Chuck roast seasoned with bbq rub
Process shot showing how to make bbq beef in a Dutch oven
Pour beer on a beef roast
Homemade barbecue sauce in a Dutch oven
Shredded chuck roast in a white dish
Square overhead shot of bbq beef in oven

Serving Suggestions

Shredded bbq beef is incredibly versatile, so feel free to mix it up and use the tender, flavorful meat in a variety of different dishes. Of course, it’s great on easy bbq beef sandwiches — but that’s not your only option!

What to do with BBQ Beef

Here are a few different ways to enjoy the tender, shredded beef:

  • Easy BBQ Beef Sandwiches: pile the meat high on top of sandwich buns.
  • Stuffed Baked Potatoes: top a baked potato with the meat, shredded cheese, and any of your other favorite toppings.
  • Salad: serve the beef on top of crisp lettuce greens with a creamy buttermilk dressing, fresh veggies, cheese, and crispy fried onions.
  • Pizza: just like a bbq chicken pizza, but swap out the chicken for this delicious beef!
  • Tacos: stuff the meat inside taco shells or soft tortillas. Pile high with lettuce, tomato, pickled red onions and cheese.

BBQ Beef Sandwich Toppings

The classic sandwich is delicious on its own with just a big pile of shredded beef and some extra barbecue sauce. If you’d like to add toppings for extra flavor and crunch, try these options:

Side shot of shredded bbq beef on a sandwich bun with extra sauce on top

Sides

Here are some fresh and delicious sides to serve with your bbq beef:

Storage

Leftover bbq beef will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To keep it longer, you can freeze the cooked meat in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

If you want to reheat your cooked barbecue beef in the Crock Pot, place the cooked beef (and at least half of the sauce) in the slow cooker on the “WARM” setting for 2-4 hours. This is a great option if you need to prep a meal in advance! You can also reheat cooked meat in a saucepan or Dutch oven on the stovetop over low heat, or smaller portions in the microwave.

Recipe Variations

  • Don’t want to cook with beer? You can braise the meat in an equal amount of beef broth instead.
  • Use a pork butt or pork shoulder instead of the beef roast.
  • Spicy beef barbecue: add some cayenne to the dry rub, and serve the beef with crushed red pepper flakes, sliced jalapeños, or hot sauce.
  • Slow cooker bbq beef: you can use the Crock Pot instead of a Dutch oven to cook this barbecue. To do so, rub the beef with the seasoning blend, transfer to a slow cooker, add the beer, cover, and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours (or until the meat is fall-apart tender). Remove the beef from the slow cooker, shred with two forks, and then toss with your favorite barbecue sauce.
  • Don’t want to make your own sauce? Toss the shredded beef with your favorite store-bought barbecue sauce. If you’re using store-bought sauce, you’ll need a total of about 3 cups.
Square shot of a barbecue beef sandwich on a wooden cutting board

Tips for the Best BBQ Beef Recipe

  • Dredge the meat in the seasoned flour. This helps the beef caramelize and brown, while the flour also thickens the liquid in the pot.
  • Brown the meat. This is an extra step, but it’s worth the effort. The caramelized surface gives the beef extra flavor, while the browned bits and drippings in the pot add even more flavor to the barbecue sauce.
  • For tender, juicy barbecue, it’s important to cook the beef long enough to break down the tough connective tissue and fibers. If your meat is still tough after about 3 hours, cook it for a little bit longer.
  • Remove the lid from the Dutch oven during the final 45 minutes or so. This will allow some of the liquid to evaporate from the pot, condensing the flavor in the drippings, and creating a nice base for the barbecue sauce.
BBQ Beef on a bun with a side of pickles

More BBQ Recipes to Try

Front shot of a shredded beef bbq sandwich on a wooden cutting board

Dutch Oven BBQ Beef

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 633 kcal
Tender, juicy, savory and sweet — this Dutch Oven BBQ Beef transforms an affordable cut of meat into a delicious and satisfying lunch or dinner. 

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (3-lb.) boneless chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, divided
  • 1 ½ tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 12 ounces beer (such as lager or pilsner)
  • 1 ½ cups ketchup
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Optional, for serving: sandwich buns

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 275° F.
  • Mix the flour with ¼ cup of the brown sugar, smoked paprika, kosher salt, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin on a sheet of waxed paper. Pat the roast dry; dredge it in the flour mixture on all sides.
  • Heat butter and olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Brown the meat to give it nice color, but don’t let the sugars burn (about 3 minutes per side).
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add beer. Cover with the lid and bake in the 275° F oven for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, remove the lid and continue baking for another 45 minutes – 1 hour, or until the meat is fall-apart tender.
  • Remove beef from Dutch oven and let rest while you prepare the barbecue sauce.

Make the Barbecue Sauce:

  • To the pan drippings in the Dutch oven, whisk in ketchup, apple cider vinegar, mustard, remaining ¼ cup of brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • Shred beef using two forks. Toss shredded meat with about half of the barbecue sauce. Serve on buns, if desired, with extra sauce on the side.

Notes

  • Don’t want to cook with beer? You can braise the meat in an equal amount of beef broth instead.
  • Use a pork butt or pork shoulder instead of the beef roast.
  • Spicy beef barbecue: add some cayenne to the dry rub, and serve the beef with crushed red pepper flakes, sliced jalapeños, or hot sauce.
  • Slow cooker bbq beef: while it’s not my preference, you can use the Crock Pot instead of a Dutch oven to cook this barbecue. To do so, rub the beef with the seasoning blend, transfer to a slow cooker, add the beer, cover, and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours (or until the meat is fall-apart tender). Remove the beef from the slow cooker, shred with two forks, and then toss with your favorite barbecue sauce.
  • Don’t want to make your own sauce? Toss the shredded beef with your favorite store-bought barbecue sauce. If you’re using store-bought sauce, you’ll need a total of about 3 cups.
  • Dredge the meat in the seasoned flour. This helps the beef caramelize and brown, while the flour also thickens the liquid in the pot.
  • Brown the meat. This is an extra step, but it’s worth the effort. The caramelized surface gives the beef extra flavor, while the browned bits and drippings in the pot add even more flavor to the barbecue sauce.
  • For tender, juicy barbecue, it’s important to cook the beef long enough to break down the tough connective tissue and fibers. If your meat is still tough after about 3 hours, cook it for a little bit longer.
  • Remove the lid from the Dutch oven during the final 45 minutes or so. This will allow some of the liquid to evaporate from the pot, condensing the flavor in the drippings, and creating a nice base for the barbecue sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 633kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 45gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 162mgSodium: 1983mgPotassium: 1102mgFiber: 1gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 1464IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 85mgIron: 6mg
Keyword: bbq beef, bbq beef sandwich, shredded bbq beef
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

    1. Hi, Linda! I’m so sorry about that typo! I just added the 1/2 cup of Dijon mustard to the ingredient list. Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

  1. Looks like a great recipe! But I don’t own an oven. Is this doable on stove top, and if so how would you modify the recipe?

    1. Hi, Kevin! Yes, you can definitely cook the meat on the stovetop. Follow the directions through step 3, then reduce the heat on the stovetop to low, add the beer, cover the pot and cook gently over low heat for about 2 hours. At that point, remove the lid and check the meat. If it’s fall-apart tender, then it’s done. You might want to simmer it uncovered for 10-15 more minutes to reduce the sauce and thicken it slightly. It might need to continue cooking a little bit longer. Hope that helps!