Smoked Beef French Dip
Sandwiches and Burgers
This is a great way to put a large, inexpensive piece of meat to work to feed a big crowd. And even if you don’t have a big crowd per se to cater to, all good! You can keep the leftovers for yourself. Either way, it’s a win-win. As you know, we here at Hungry Fan are all about making entertaining as simple and carefree as possible.
When we were thinking about this recipe, aside from getting super hungry, we also got a little bit curious about the origin of this delectably dippable hot sandwich. So we did a bit of digging, and we think you’ll find the story as entertaining as we did…
Apparently, there’s a long-standing debate about the true origin of the French dip sandwich. First of all, it’s not French. It’s an American favorite that was born in Los Angeles in the early 1900s. Some sources say it was first created by a cook or a server in 1918 who, while preparing a sandwich for a police officer, accidentally dropped it into a pan of meat drippings. Whoops! The story goes, the patron liked it, and the dish became a thing. Apparently it went on to become super popular from then on. Others have said the sandwich came about when a restaurant customer expressed concern about meat drippings going to waste, so he requested his sandwich be dipped in them. (Sounds like us. We hate waste too.) But maybe the best we’ve heard was that a chef dipped a sandwich into a pan of meat drippings after a customer complained that the bread was stale. (That sounds like something a French chef working here in the states would do, and is therefore our frontrunner if we had to guess.)
We have no idea which account (if any) is true, but hey, we’re just grateful for whoever invented this tasty sandwich. And if you aren’t already hungry reading this, fear not, you will be as soon as you get a whiff of our take on this legendary (and mysterious) classic as it gets cookin.’
4 pounds eye of round roast
Sliced provolone cheese (Slice sizes vary, so get enough slices to cover the buns. We used 9 4” diameter thin slices.)
Pre-sliced slider buns or Hawaiian buns (If you can't find pre-sliced, slice them into equally sized top and bottom buns.)
2 foil pans for sandwiches and smoking beef (There are many sizes available, so choose pans that fit your pack of slider buns. We used a 12.75" x 10.25" x 2.25" pan.)
10 ounces beef broth
1 large yellow onion
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons butter
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons fresh thyme (chopped)
2 tablespoons store-bought “au jus” seasoning packet
Light your smoker, and set it for 275 degrees of indirect heat with oak and cherry chunks of wood for smoke.
Remove thyme leaves from stems and give them a quick chop. (Avoid adding in chopped stems.)
Slice the onion into medallions. Place them in the bottom of the pan, arranging the beef atop them.
Make the injection mixture by pouring 1 cup of beef broth into a measuring cup and adding ¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce. Stir well.
Using a meat injector (we prefer GrillHogs brand), inject the beef with the broth and Worcestershire sauce mixture. Pour any remaining injection broth mixture into the pan. Then season the beef liberally with kosher salt, black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the thyme leaves, reserving 1 tablespoon for later.
Smoke the beef until the internal temperature is 135–145 degrees. Then remove the beef from the pan, cover it with foil, and let it rest for 30 minutes while you make the “au jus” sauce.
Pour the liquid from the beef pan into a saucepan over medium heat, setting the onions aside. Once the liquid starts to simmer, add 2 tablespoons of the “au jus” seasoning and ¼ cup of beef broth, stirring to combine. Once the sauce has simmered for a few minutes, pour it into a bowl and set aside.
Place the onions in a saucepan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté, stirring frequently, to caramelize the onions. Remove from heat and set side.
In the same pan that you used for the onions, add another 4 tablespoons of butter and melt with 1 tablespoon of the chopped thyme leaves. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl.
Slice the beef int ¼” slices and return them to the foil beef pan. Then add in all bottom buns. Apply a thin layer of Dijon mustard to the (bottom) buns, then top each with some sliced beef, onions and a slice of provolone cheese.
Place the top bun atop the sliders and drizzle each with some of the thyme-butter mixture. Cover the pan with foil and return to the grill. Cook for 20–30 minutes or until hot, melty, and the tops of the buns are gently toasted. If the sliders need more time, remove the foil and let cook for another 10–15 minutes, checking them every 5 minutes.
Serve with warm au jus sauce for dipping and enjoy!
- If you start reading below and are wondering what in the world an “au jus” is, it’s French for “with juice,” and basically refers to the meat the beef was cooked in. As the beef cooks, the juice becomes a wonderfully flavorful sauce that’s used, in this case, for dipping.
- Slider buns are typically next to the regular hamburger buns. Nearly every store has them.
- To avoid burning the bottoms of the buns, make sure to grill with indirect heat. If using a Kamado-style grill, avoid placing the pan on the baking stone. Instead, place the pan on a grate to keep it off the stone.
- When measuring meat temperatures, use an internal temperature thermometer. Aim to measure the middle of the beef to ensure an accurate temperature but also try a few different spots to ensure you're sure you’re not getting a hot spot.
- Cold smoke your provolone cheese for extra delicious smoky flavor. Because cheese melts at high temperatures, cold smoking is the best method for adding smoke flavor into the cheese. There are many methods of doing this, but a pellet tube with a tray of ice cubes above it keeps your smoker at a cool temperature and allows the cheese to absorb the smoke.