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Beef braised in beer


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  • 4 ounces thick-sliced slab bacon, cut into chunks
  • 3 medium onions, cut into chunks (about 3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 4- to 5-pound boneless beef shoulder roast (preferably a “top blade” or “top chuck shoulder” roast)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme, tied in a bundle with kitchen twine
  • 3 cups (two 12-ounce bottles) flavorful beer or ale
  • About 6 cups light stock (chicken, turkey or vegetable broth), or as needed
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard


Servings 6


Step 1

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven with room for the covered braising pan and heat to 375 degrees. Put the chunks of bacon and onion and a teaspoon of the salt in the food processor, and mince together into a fine-textured pestata. Trim the beef of fat, sprinkle all over with salt, using another teaspoon in all. Spread the flour on a plate and dredge the roast thoroughly, coating all surfaces, then shake off excess. Pour the olive oil into a pan, set it over medium-high for a couple of minutes, then lay the roast in the hot oil. Brown the beef well, turning it every few minutes to sear another surface, until nicely colored all over, about 10 minutes. Push the meat to one side of the pan, drop the pestata into the pan, and stir and cook it on the pan bottom until it has dried out and just begins to stick, about 5 minutes. Move the meat back to the center of the pan, drop in the bundle of thyme sprigs, and pour the beer in around the roast. Bring beer to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from the pan bottom. Pour in enough stock so the braising liquid comes halfway up the sides of the roast, and sprinkle the remaining teaspoon salt all over. Cover the pan, and bring the liquid quickly to a boil, then set it into the heated oven. After 2 hours, lift the cover, drop the 3 tablespoons mustard into the braising liquid, stir carefully, cover again, and braise another hour. Remove the cover, and continue the oven-braising, stirring the bottom of the pan occasionally, as the sauce reduces and concentrates. When it has thickened to a good consistency – it should take another 30 minutes or so – carefully take the pan out of the oven. LIft the meat onto a cutting board and cut it crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Fan the slices on a warm platter, skim off any fat from the surface of the pan sauce, and ladle some of it over the meat. Serve right away, passing more sauce at the table. Makes 6 or more servings.

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