Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches

Welcome to Slow Cooker Sunday! Plug in and chill out for what’s supposed to be the laziest day of the week.

I guess you could say every slow cooker recipe is a crowd-pleaser. This one is no-fail. It has richness and a sweet-spicy-tangy balance that lifts it out of the sugar-fat dimension some barbecue is stuck in and into a field of green with birds chirping and Frisbees soaring just past your head. Let’s party. If you make this for friends this weekend, let me know!

I ripped off the Basic Barbecue Sauce that Kate Ramos developed for CHOW, but changed a few things to accommodate slow cookin’.

Slow Cooker BBQ Beef Sandwiches
Makes 10 small sandwiches

1 1/2 cups ketchup (Heinz is great for this)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 cup water
3- to 4-pound bone-in beef pot roast or chuck roast
10 sandwich rolls

Step 1: Turn your slow cooker on and set it to high while you get all the ingredients together. Add everything except the roast and rolls to the slow cooker and stir together for a minute or two so it's all well combined.

Step 2: Place the meat in the slow cooker and cook for 4 to 5 hours on high.

Step 3: This kind of pot-roast cut is flavorful but not fall-apart tender; you’ll need a chef’s knife to render the meat into shards you can pile on a roll. I pull all of the meat out of the pot, slip out the bones, and first slice, then chop the beef.

Step 4: Once the meat is chopped, use a large spoon or ladle to add some of the cooking juices until you get the consistency you like. I start with a really wet consistency, since the meat fibers will absorb some of the liquid. It thickens up quickly. Pile the sauced meat onto the rolls; have a stack of napkins ready.

Reserve any leftover sauce. It makes a great glaze for meatloaf and a killer topping for nachos.

Photos and styling by Chris Rochelle