Brine the beef overnight just before you smoke it. On smoking day, rub it until it’s heavily coated with the black pepper and coffee.
Now, keep in mind that you're basically making roast beef in a smoker. This means you’ll need to pay close attention if you want it to be a perfect medium rare.
Smoke the meat at about 200°F until the meat reaches 145°F internally. It depends on the size of your roast and how well you hold temperature, but it will be somewhere in between 2 and 4 hours. If you have the patience, you can add additional smoke flavor by smoking the beef at a lower temperature. By lowering the smoker to 180°F or so, you can add an additional hour or two of smoking time.
Once the beef reaches temperature, pull it off, let it rest, then slice thin and serve. If you’re not eating it right away or saving it for the leftovers, refrigerate the beef. You’ll find this also makes it easier to slice very thin, if that’s your thing.
If you want to recreate the Buxton sandwich and you're using cold sliced beef, use a sauté pan to heat up the beef and coat it with as much or as little of the Pit Beef Sauce as you'd like. Serve on a pan-toasted white roll with horseradish sauce on one side.
Pit Beef Sauce
- 3 cups ketchup
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup Hog Sauce (from Book of Smoke)
- 1 cup Hog Stock (from Book of Smoke)
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch of hickory smoke powder
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Mop over the pit beef toward the end of cooking or when serving. This sauce can be made ahead of time and stored up to a week in the fridge.
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise (preferably Duke’s)
- ½ cup prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Pinch of salt
- Handful of chopped parsley
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Elliott’s cookbook, Book of Smoke, and his rubs are available for purchase here.
- The pit beef sandwich. This is obviously a play on the fast food favorite. The pit beef sauce recipe is a tasty one on just about anything. It’s my ketchup replacement for fries... and works really well with smoked turkey of you need a beef replacement. The same goes for the horseradish sauce. It goes well on just about any sandwich or tossed with some fire roasted veggies, the lemon and parsley add a nice fresh zip.
- Give yourself at least 2 extra hours more than you think you need for a long or short cook. Something almost always will come up or mishap will happen. Be prepared for it. If nothing goes wrong or no one interrupts you, then the more time you have to rest your meat, chill out & get your head right to properly serve your guests.
- When cooking with a direct pit and live fire coals... something I like to teach/say is, don’t take all the money out of the bank at once. Management of the coals and coal production is a very important step and process. Having a bed of coals to constantly pull from is key. If you take all the coals out of the barrel then you’re taking a lot of heat out of the barrel.
For questions or tips on proper food safety and handling, we recommend following consumer guidance from the FDA.
A Conversation with Elliott