- Cullman, Alabama


November 2, 2012

BBQ my way: Rich beef stew with a campfire flavor

This is a fantastic weekend stew. I say “weekend”  because it does take a little time.

It's not the sort of dish you can start at 6 p.m. after work. But with time, it is unbelievably easy, and quite reasonably priced for a beef stew. It's one of the meals our family looks forward to as the weather turns, and we fix it three or four times until spring once again returns.

As you know I like to take normal recipes and put an outdoor twist on them. In this case it's the onion that imparts the subtle smoky flavor. We'll get into that in moment. Feel free to alter the size of this dish by reducing the amount of ingredients proportionally to fit your needs. One last note. This stew freezes beautifully.

In case it's helpful, we posted a video of this recipe online. Go to In the search box enter “beef stew smoked onion.”


3 to 4 lbs of chuck roast

3 to 4 yellow onions, peeled and sliced

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8th bit sized pieces

1 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

4 large garlic cloves, crushed then chopped finely

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 lb mushrooms, washed and quartered

1/3 cup tomato paste

1/3 cup dry red wine (optional)

1 (10 oz) package of frozen peas

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Set your grill up on indirect heat. Sprinkle the hot coals with hickory chips. Place the onions in a vegetable grilling pan -- the one with holes -- or place them on aluminum foil.

Set the onions away from the hot coals. Place the lid on the grill and allow the onions to smoke for 20 minutes or so. (I also smoked some chicken breasts for future use to make full use of the coals) After 20 minutes, bring the onions in. Leave the chicken on until fully cooked if you are smoking chicken too.

Trim the beef and cut into bite-sized stew pieces. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the beef, the wine and the smoked onions in a dutch oven or large pot. Make sure the large pot doesn't have handles that would melt in the oven. Place the lid on the pot and put in the oven. Allow to cook for 1 1/4 hours.

Take the pot out of the oven. Smell the outdoor smokiness? Now add the potatoes, carrots, garlic and thyme. Mix the ingredients. Cover and place back in the oven to cook for 45 minutes. Take out again and mix in the mushrooms and tomato paste and cook with the lid on for another 10 minutes.

While the stew continues to cook, rinse the frozen peas. Take the stew out and add the rinsed peas, the salt and pepper. Gently mix. Allow to sit with the lid on for 10 minutes.

One word of caution, and this is from experience. You have to constantly remind yourself that the pot is always hot. As you take the pot (or dutch oven) in and out of the oven, you'll forget it's hot and accidentally grab it. Not a good experience.

Serve with freshly baked biscuits and your favorite red wine. Be sure to pass this recipe down to your kids and grandkids. It is destined to be a family classic just as it is at the Lobeck household.

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