Beer-Braised Beef with Onions - just the name makes me feel warm and satisfied. Slow-braised goodness with a deep rich stock served over mashed potatoes or egg noodles. It's so easy to make, most of the time is hands-off, and smelling the wonderful aromas in your kitchen will whet your appetite and set your mouth to watering."
What you will need to make Slow-Cooked Beer-Braised Beef with Onions
- Well marbled beef chuck roast - or oxen, bison, buffalo
- Onions - I use mostly good old yellow onion, sometimes mixed with some red onion
- A rich dark beer - I use a Porter or a Stout
- Beef broth - boxed, canned, or homemade
- White wine vinegar
- Spices that include thyme, bayleaf, salt, pepper
- Brown sugar
How to make Easy Slow-Cooked Beer-Braised Beef with Onions
At first glance, it may seem at first like there is a lot of onions in this dish. But the cooking method mellows the onions, and they practically disappear into the sauce, just adding deep flavors. My BFF always told me she hated onion. Just didn't like the way they tasted, in anything. So one day I made this dish, and she ate it, then asked for seconds. That's how mellow the onions get.
Use good old yellow onion, the workhorse of the kitchen. Here I added some red onion to them. But don't use all red (too mild) or all sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla.
My Oma used to make a dish like this in Germany using oxen. She called it Goulash, but do not confuse it with Hungarian Goulash. That's a whole different dish. So you can make this with regular cow, oxen, buffalo, grass-fed cow, bison...you name it. If it's meaty meat, with some marbling in it it will work.
What is "Marbling"?
Marbling is those fine lines of fat that run in the meat; you need it to keep the dish moist and tender. Not having enough fat in your meat wouldn't keep this dish from getting tender, but it will be drier. And I like moist and tender meat. So cut off the visible fat around the pieces but choose a cut of meat that has some fat in it.
"Do not rush browning the meat!"
Do take your time when browning the meat, don't crowd, and don't rush. You want a nice caramelization on it.
For this, you need both a hot pot and hot oil.
Do not "flour" the meat
You might also notice that I do not flour the meat but add the flour later in the cooking process. If you flour the meat, then all you do is brown the flour, not meat. And the brown meat is what adds FLAVOR.
By flouring the meat first, when you cook it, the flour just cooks off into the sauce, and then, really, what have you accomplished? Blah meat...with a so-so sauce
So always brown your meat first, get it beautiful, and then add flour for thickening the sauce.
Cooking options abound, oven, stove-top, pressure cooker, slow-cooker, Instant Pot? What's your pleasure?
Beer Braised Beef with Onions can be cooked slowly in the oven, all day in your crock-pot, or quickly in a pressure cooker.
If you have the time, I love the slow-braise in the oven method. The wonderful smells fill the house and make me so hungry for dinner.
Crock Pot, Pressure Cooker, and Instant Pot
But if you don't have the time, or want to slow cook in your crockpot, these options work as well.
But they do require some adjustments.
Because of the closed environment of both the crockpot and pressure cooker, electric or otherwise, you will need to decrease your liquid by half, so use only 6 ounces of beer and 4 ounces of beef stock in the recipe; otherwise, your gravy will turn out thin.
But I do like options.
Easy Slow-Cooked Beer Braised Beef with Onions served with French Country Peas and Carrots and Egg Noodles
Dealing with Left-overs
Beer-Braised Beef with Onions freezes very well so if you make a big batch you will have an easy, yet hearty, mid-week meal.
Wine Pairing: Having cooked with beer, beer is a great option to have with this dish. But, if you are like me, and not a big fan of beer, a rich robust red will work as well. I like to serve this dish with either a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. A Cab Franc would also work well.
Beer Braised Beef with Onions
- 2 pounds beef chuck cut into cubes, visible fat removed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound onions thinly sliced (this is about 2 large)
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar*
- 12 ounces dark beer I like a stout or porter*
- 1 cup beef broth*
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- Heat oven to 325º F
- Toss the beef with salt and pepper; in a large pot or Dutch oven, (best not to use non-stick) heat the oil over medium-high heat; add the beef, in batches and saute until well browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- After the last batch of meat is mostly browned, add the onions, along with the meat that has already been cooked and any accumulated juices; and sauté until the onions are translucent and just beginning to brown. Lower the heat; add the butter along with the flour, stir and cook stirring often, for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Continue to stir while slowly adding the beer, beef broth, vinegar, and thyme; scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Once the sauce is smooth and just starting to thicken, add the bay leaves along with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Serve over mashed potatoes, egg noodles, pasta or rice.
- *If cooking in a pressure cooker, use only 1 tablespoon vinegar, 6 ounces of beer, and 4 ounces of beef stock. Bring to a simmer; cover and bring to pressure. Lower heat and allow to cook for about 40 minutes. Turn off heat and allow pressure to release naturally. If using your slow-cooker (crockpot); again, use only half of the liquids; place the ingredients, once browned, into your slow-cooker and cook on high 4 hours or low 6 - 8 hours (or according to your manufactures directions.