Barbecued Roast Beef on a Bun

I'm going to show you one of my favorite methods for barbecuing relatively inexpensive cuts of beef. If you're wondering "how can it be barbecued, and roast beef?" don't worry about it, because we are not barbecuing or roasting-we are actually grilling. By using this technique, we can transform those cheaper cuts of beef into something absolutely gorgeous. Serve on buns with mayonnaise, pickle slices, and a drizzle of barbecue sauce.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Additional Time:
16 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
16 hrs 40 mins
6 servings

I've always tried to avoid arguments about what is, or is not, "barbecue." No matter how valid your points are, if someone has called grilling ribs in the backyard "barbecuing" all of their lives, you're not going to get them to change their vocabulary — nor should you. I fully understand the history and what it's suppose to mean, but as far as I'm concerned, if it's meat cooked on, or near, what is, or used to be, a fire, I'm okay with calling it barbecued. Semantics aside, this "barbecued" roast beef on a bun was very, very good, and that's all that should really matter.

I couldn't resist buying the discounted Snake River Farms "wagyu" top round seen in the video, but any thick cut slab of beef will work. The key is not to rush things. Also, you'll need to give it the full 24 hours with the dry rub if you can, as well as an overnight bath in the wet rub. And as long as you remember to let the meat rest, and to slice it as thin as you can, your patience will be rewarded. And during those two days of prep you can decide what exactly you're going to call it. Enjoy!

Barbecued Roast Beef on a Bun
Chef John

For more Chef John, be sure to subscribe to Food Wishes on YouTube! Click the "Join" button there to get Chef John's bonus video footage and behind-the-scenes pictures, live chats, and other Food Wishes member exclusives.


For the Dry Rub:

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 ½ teaspoons white sugar

  • 1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless top round steak

For the Wet Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 6 (2 ounce) hamburger buns, split


  1. Mix salt, sugar, pepper, and cayenne for dry rub together and coat beef well on both sides.

  2. Place on a rack set on a sheet pan and refrigerate, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours, flipping over halfway through.

  3. Mix barbecue sauce, vinegar, mustard, turmeric, and garlic together for wet rub and reserve.

  4. Transfer beef to a dish and pour 1/2 of the wet rub over top. Use two forks to poke the surface all over for about 1 minute. Turn beef over and repeat with remaining wet rub. Spoon any excess on the bottom over the top.

  5. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 12 hours.

  6. Preheat a charcoal grill until the briquettes turn white and ashy. Remove meat from the refrigerator, uncover, and scrape off excess wet rub.

  7. Grill over hot charcoal until blackened and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 120 to 125 degrees F (49 to 52 degrees C), 7 to 10 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Remove to a foil-lined plate, and quickly wrap up tightly in foil.

  8. Let rest for at least 15 minutes, during which time the meat will finish cooking, and end up close to medium-rare.

  9. Slice very thinly, toss in the meat drippings and juices left in the foil, and serve on buns.

Chef's Notes:

You can use 1 1/4 teaspoon fine salt instead of kosher, and paprika instead of cayenne in the dry rub. You can use yellow mustard instead of Dijon in the wet rub.

This can be done with any cheap cut of beef that would be used to make traditional roast beef, as long as it's cut between 2 and 3 inches thick.

Serve with my German Tater Tot(R) Potato Salad

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

322 Calories
9g Fat
32g Carbs
26g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 322
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 57mg 19%
Sodium 1053mg 46%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 89mg 7%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 366mg 8%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love