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Barbecue-Braised Bourbon Beef with Mustard Glaze


Serves six to eight.

Serve this incredibly tender pot roast with creamy polenta or thickly sliced roasted or grilled potatoes seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

For the beef:
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika 
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard (preferably Coleman’s)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 4-lb. boneless beef chuck roast
For the braising liquid:
  • 2 to 2-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 Tbs. coarse-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. unsulphured molasses
  • 2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, peeled
For the glaze:
  • 2 Tbs. smooth Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary

In a small bowl, combine the thyme, rosemary, paprika, dry mustard, and 2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spice blend all over the roast. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.


Prepare a gas grill for direct grilling over medium heat. Grill the roast until nicely browned on all sides, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Let cool briefly and then tie the roast with several loops of butcher’s twine. Put the roast in an 8-quart heavy-duty pot.


Prepare the grill for indirect grilling. In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 cup of the chicken broth with the bourbon, mustard, and molasses and pour the mixture over the meat. Scatter the onions and garlic on top of the meat; it’s fine if some fall off. Put the pot on the grill over the cool zone. Cover the pot, close the grill lid, and cook for 1 hour.

Uncover the pot and turn the roast over so the onions are now on the bottom. Check the liquid level in the pot and add broth as necessary until there’s about an inch of liquid in the pot. Continue to cook, pot uncovered, grill lid closed, for 1 hour, stirring the onions and checking the liquid level every 20 minutes and adding broth as needed to maintain about an inch of liquid.

Replace the lid on the pot and continue to cook the meat until fork-tender, about 1 hour more, checking after 30 minutes and adding more broth as needed to maintain 1 inch of liquid. Move the meat to a tray and pat dry. Pour the onions and juices into a heatproof vessel, such as a Pyrex measuring cup, and let sit until the fat rises to the top. Skim off and discard the fat. Keep warm.


Prepare the grill for direct grilling over medium heat. In a food processor, purée 1/4 cup of the onion mixture with the mustard and rosemary. Brush about half of the glaze on one side of the meat and put the meat on the grill, glaze side down. Brush the top of the roast with the remaining glaze. When the glaze turns brown on the bottom, after 2 to 3 minutes, flip and brown the other side, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. To serve, remove the string and slice the meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Ladle the onion mixture over the meat and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make this dish through the braising step the day before serving. Just cool and wrap the meat and braising liquid separately. Refrigerate overnight and glaze the next day. To spread out the work even more, you can season the meat the day before you braise.


To use a charcoal grill: To sear the beef, build a medium fire: Ignite about 5 quarts of charcoal (80 to 100 briquettes), using either a chimney starter or an electric starter. When the charcoal is burning well, spread it out over the surface of the charcoal grate and put the cooking grate in place. Let the charcoal burn down until it's coated with gray ash. To test the temperature, hold your hand about two inches above the cooking grate; when you can hold your hand there for 3 to 4 seconds (a medium-heat fire), you're ready to sear the beef.

After searing, divide the coals evenly, banking them against two sides of the grill (use long-handled tongs to move the coals). Put the cooking grate in place; if your cooking grate has hinged sections, position them over the charcoal. Place an oven thermometer on the grate over the cooler area, close the lid, and let the coals burn until the thermometer reads about 350ºF. When ready, place the pot over the cool zone and braise as directed above. Check the thermometer every 20 minutes, replenishing the charcoal as necessary to keep the temperature between 325ºF and 375ºF. If the coals are still burning well, you can simply add a handful of unlit coals on top. Otherwise, you'll need to add lit coals.

To glaze the beef, build a second medium-heat fire just as you did in the searing step. Continue with the glazing, as directed in the recipe.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 400, Fat (kcal): 15, Fat Calories (g): 140, Saturated Fat (g): 6, Protein (g): 47, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8, Carbohydrates (mg): 8, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1, Sodium (g): 510, Cholesterol (g): 120, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Lots of steps and lots of time for mediocre results. The outside of the beef was kind of hard and therefore difficult to slice. It was very tender and moist. I think pureeing the onion/braising liquid would make a nice sauce-like-gravy. I didn't have time to marinate the meat and we took it off the grill before the 3 hours were up. We only flashed grilled it with the glaze on as I didn't want to get the outside any harder. It was okay but not a WOW like most of the reviews.

Amazing recipe. I served this for a dinner party and everyone loved it. The only problem was my DH started slicing the meat before I could get the mustard glaze on!! Not a problem - can't wait to do this one again!

terrific recipe. turns our perfect every time. for a GREAT variation, add 1 handfull of soaked wood chips when each side of the roast is up (2 total). lends a mild smokiness. my favorite braise recipe of all time. note: this roast is not supposed to be cooks until fall-apart tender!

My attempt at this recipe turned out poorly. The meat was overdone and gray. How do you cook meat rare that has been grilled for 8-12 minutes, braised for 3 hours and glazed for 4 to 6 minutes. My roast started out at 3.25 pounds and 2.5 inches thick.

This recipe was amazing, and so unique. I was worried it would be difficult, but it was actually quite easy and gave great results. I do have to agree that there is something confusing about the way the recipe is written, and it does require you to read through the entire recipe completely before starting. But, overall, I am quite impressed and plan to make all of the grill-braised recipes in this issue. One note, I did not risk putting my Le Crueset on the grill. I have the plastic knob on top, and sometimes the temperature of my grill gets very hot very quickly, so I did not want to risk melting it. Instead, I used a disposable aluminum pan and covered with foil, and transported it on a sturdy baking sheet in and out of the house.

This recipe was amazing, and so unique. I was worried it would be difficult, but it was actually quite easy and gave great results. I do have to agree that there is something confusing about the way the recipe is written, and it does require you to read through the entire recipe completely before starting. But, overall, I am quite impressed and plan to make all of the grill-braised recipes in this issue.

Doesn't it state in the paragraph of SEASON, to combine the herbs in a bowl and sprinkle on the roast before refrigeration?

My whole family loved this roast. The sauce is delicious. Very tasty! Will definitely do again.

This is fairly time consuming for a cheap cut of meat, which is why I did not give this recipe 5 stars. Having said that, if you are feeding a crowd this is a very tastey inexpensive way to do it. When I asked my husband if this was a do-over he told me that he couldn't imagine a chuck roast tasting better than this. I made the recipe with no changes and although I saw no mention in the instructions for the thyme, paprika, salt and pepper I assumed it was a rub.

I was all set to try this recipe this weekend when I realized that it did not specify where to use the thyme, rosemary, paprika, and mustard listed under the FOR THE BEEF: I would guess that it is some sort of rub for the grilling part of the recipe. Could you please clarify.

I made this yesterday and it was incredibly succulent; much better than having the roast cook in fat in a crockpot for several hours. I served the roast with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. My only regret is that the receipe did not instruct you to mix the ingredients for the beef; so I failed to put the herbs on the beef prior to grilling it. My fault; I should have read the complete recipe and discovered this. In any event, I did add fresh thyme to the onion mixture while the roast was cooking and it turned out fine. I will definitely make this again.

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