This article was originally published in the Early Summer 2016 issue of Cottage Life magazine.
If you like pulled pork, you’ll like Pepper Stout Beef even more. It’s a time-honoured classic from the barbecue bloc that combines smoking and braising to produce a versatile flavour bomb of tender deliciousness. According to lore, we can thank a guy named Larry Wolfe for this genius recipe, but there are many variations floating around. That’s because PSB is an amazing thing to do with a chunk of meat.
Obtain a 4 lb (2 kg) boneless blade roast. Rub it with a bit of oil, then season it enthusiastically with coarse salt and black pepper or your favourite steak rub.
In a smoker or a gas or charcoal grill that’s set up for low-temperature indirect cooking, smoke the roast (place it over the drip pan) at 250°F–270°F (120°C–130°C).
Meanwhile, assemble the veggie component, all roughly chopped or sliced, in a large, disposable foil pan (or a roasting pan, if you don’t mind scrubbing it later). You’ll want one red onion, 6–8 cloves of garlic, 3 bell peppers (red, green, yellow), and 3 or 4 jalapenos. If you can get a Cubanelle or a poblano, all the better.
After 3 hours of smoking or when the roast reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C)—whichever comes first—put the roast in the veggie pan with a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme, 1/4 cup (60 ml) of Worcestershire sauce, and a bottle of Guinness Extra Stout or any similarly sturdy black beer. Tightly cover the pan with foil, and put it on the grill or in the smoker (or oven). Cook at 350°F (180°C) until the meat easily pulls apart with a fork, anywhere from 2 1/2–3 hours. The time varies from one roast to the next, but be sure to cook the beef until it is extremely tender, almost falling apart.
Let the beef cool a bit, then shred it into the pepper mixture, discarding any unwanted fat or gristle. Continue to cook, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by half.
You now have a pan full of awesomeness. PSB is usually eaten on a crusty roll with melty cheese. Maybe you’ll put coleslaw on top. And horseradish. Or roll your PSB in a tortilla with cilantro and goat cheese. PSB freezes well, portion-packed in small resealable bags. Cooks who plan for emergencies will make PSB-cheese rolls, then freeze them individually, tightly wrapped in foil. When a hunger crisis hits, heat a pack in the oven for instant sandwich relief.