Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer is for Sandwiches

Last week was Rally week here in the Black Hills.

Things were quieter around town this year compared to last year. Last year was the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and the area was bursting at the seams with Bikers, their Bikes, and all of the stuff that goes with a huge gathering of people.

How many people? Somewhere between 500,000 and a million. There is an "official" count, but really, no one knows exactly how many people show up. You don't have to buy a ticket. You don't have to sign in. Just ride into town on your bike prepared to have fun.

But you know me - this is my brand of fun:

No traffic. Zero. *sighs with contentment*

That, and simple suppers with my family.

Now that we're half-way through August, our weather is beginning to ease into cooler temperatures. Not quite autumn crispness yet, but there's a hint in the air...

And I've been using my crock pot again.

Last week was a "live out of the pantry" week, so I scrounged around for a recipe that would fit my ingredients. I ended up with these delicious sandwiches. Not quite pulled-pork, not quite barbecue. You'll have to try them...

Black Hills Shredded Beef Sandwiches

You need to start out with some beef. (Kav, cover your eyes!)

A note of explanation - we buy our beef by the half and fill
our freezer. That "not for sale" means that the processor isn't supposed
 to sell our beef on their retail side. It doesn't mean there is
anything wrong with it!
This is a 3-4 pound blade roast. You can also use chuck, or "seven bone," or any roast you can find. Don't buy an expensive cut - the cheap cuts are perfect for this dish.

Brown your roast in a couple Tablespoons of oil, cooking each side just long enough to seal in the juices.

Meanwhile, chop up an onion so you have about 1/4 cup finely chopped pieces.

When the meat is browned, transfer it to your slow cooker and throw the onion in the pan. Cook until translucent - three or four minutes.

Put the onion on top of the beef in the crock pot, and add 1 cup beef broth.

Sometimes I use canned broth (either store-bought or that I've made myself), but I also like this beef base from Das Essenhaus.

You can buy this soup base from the Essenhaus restaurant
HERE, or you can do what I do and pick some up
whenever you're in Middlebury, Indiana.

See that "no MSG added"? When you're sensitive to the chemical, you look for that little detail. :)

Just mix 3/4 teaspoon beef base with one cup hot water, and then pour it over the meat and onions in your slow cooker.

Set on low and cook for 6 to 8 to 10 hours.

I love my slow cooker....

About an hour or so before your meal, take the meat out of the slow cooker and let it cool slightly. Reserve about 1 1/2 cups broth in your cooker, and save the rest to add to the dog's food tomorrow morning. (Believe me, they love it!)

Shred the beef, removing any excess fat and the bones. Return the shredded beef to your slow cooker.

Now add the following ingredients:

1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 drops Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Mix it all together, set your slow cooker on High, and cook for another 30 minutes to an hour.

Serve on buns, and enjoy!

What is your favorite no-time-in-the-kitchen summer meal?

Jan Drexler loves her family, her home, cooking and just about anything made by hand. But she loves her Lord most of all.

Stop by Jan's website to learn more about her books:


  1. Oh, I love pulled beef, even more than pulled pork... There's something about beef + barbecue that spells utter deliciousness!

    Jan, the rally thing still amazes me. It's so crazy...

    And yet so amazingly peaceful the rest of the year.

    Bless you for this delicious dish and can't wait to try it. And I love that you're mixing your own bbq sauce right in the pot... Perfect!!!!

    1. When the Rally is over, we get our Hills back. There are still tourists around, but many schools have started already and the crowds are beginning to thin out.

      Actually, anyone who is planning to visit here should aim for mid-August through October. It's the best time!

      And these sandwiches were so good! I have another roast thawing in the fridge to make another batch. :)

  2. Oh this sounds yummy. I slow cook roasts all the time. But I needed a new sauce or flavoring so will try yours. Thanks for the tip. My quick way to do it is to slow cook the roast and add a package of lipton onion soup. Serve that on rolls - aujus. (Spelling???)

    1. That sounds delicious, Sandra! I'm going to have to try it. Thanks! :)

    2. Sandra, I use that soup mix when I make beef stew. Yummy.

  3. I've been living on toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches and salad in this heat. We've had a bit of a break over the weekend but the heat and humidity are climbing again this week. Yes, I'm whining. I need to live someplace where the lows are in the 50s and the highs are in the 60s. LOL I wonder if such a climate exists? Glad you are on the way to having your peace and quiet back, Jan.

    1. That climate DOES exist...but only for a month or so at a time. :) We have heat, but very little humidity. That makes it bearable.

      And aren't we all beginning to get a little tired of those salads that tasted SO GOOD back in May? I'm glad I like the change in seasons!

  4. I'm going to whine right along with Kav.

    When you live in a place without central air, these extended excessive heat advisory days are just horrid. The streets become like the picture you showed above, Jan (only lined with heat-emitting buildings!).

    Whine over. :) Because I am so grateful that at least I have AC in my bedroom and because I am so happy to have gotten a good report for Fenny on Saturday.

    But about that food. My refrigerator has been having a really hard time this past week. I think the utility company cuts the power when all the air conditioners are running so we end up having to buy ten-pound bags of ice just to keep food from going bad. To give you an idea of how bad it was the other day, I even had to add a 5 pound bag of ice to the freezer because the ice cubes were melting in their trays!

    As soon as the weather improves, the frig is fine on it's own, but Saturday night it was heading toward 60 inside! With the ice we get back down into the 30s. Phew. Food is saved.

    So, sandwiches!!!! Yesterday I had the most divine sandwich. It was all I could do not to go make another one. Boar's Head seasoned roast with a slice of melted cheese, lettuce, and the most amazing farmer's market tomatoes on a buttered sesame loaf bread. Oh, just thinking about how luscious it was makes me want it again.

    Your sandwich sounds like exactly the kind of meal I love, Jan. I told my husband last night - the messier the sandwich, the more I love it.

    1. Teacher and writer me is cringing at the "it's" typo. I hate autocorrect!!!!

      the frig is fine on its own

    2. No central air in the city? I'm glad you have your window AC! And your poor refrigerator. I know you'll be glad for cooler temperatures!

      And a belated Happy Birthday!!! We should have had cake this weekend...wait...we did! Mary Jane's bundt cake extravaganza!

      Great news about Fenway, too. Scratch his doggie ears for me!

  5. Oooh, that barbecue sauce sounds wonderful!! Thanks for sharing, Jan. I think this would be much better than store-bought sauce.

    1. The sauce was delicious, and not too "saucy," if you know what I mean. Cooking the meat and sauce together at the end is the trick, I think. It all held together nicely!