Bourbon-Braised Beef

Bourbon-Braised Beef

Bourbon-Braised Beef

The budget-friendly boneless beef chuck becomes a delightfully complex dish with the addition of bourbon. Balanced with caramelized tomato paste, maple syrup, thyme, and bay leaves, this dish highlights the savory flavors.
Marinating the meat in lemon juice tenderizes it beautifully through slow cooking, demonstrating that even budget cuts can yield exquisite, flavorful results. Any remaining braising liquid can serve as a superb base for a French onion soup.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6



  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Braised Beef

  • 3 pounds of boneless chuck roast cut into 8 pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil or another high-heat vegetable oil
  • cup of bourbon
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 2 celery stalks sliced
  • 2 medium carrots sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • ¼ cup of maple syrup
  • 3 to 4 cups of beef stock quantity depends on the size of your cooking vessel
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Serving Suggestions:

  • Mashed potatoes or steamed rice


  • Prepare the marinade by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper in a small bowl. Pierce the beef all over with a fork, then place it in a resealable bag or a snugly fitting bowl. Pour the marinade over the beef. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and ideally up to 12 hours.
  • When you're ready to start cooking, preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, ensuring the rack is positioned low enough to accommodate a Dutch oven along with its lid. Remove the beef from the marinade and use paper towels to dry it thoroughly. Combine 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper with the garlic powder and onion powder. Pat this seasoning mixture all over the beef.
  • In a Dutch oven or large, heavy skillet with a lid, heat 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Swirl the oil to ensure it coats the surface evenly. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the beef in a single layer, working in batches if necessary. Sear the beef until it develops a crust, which should take about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Repeat this process for all sides of the beef. Once done, remove the beef from the pot and set it aside.
  • To deglaze the pan, pour in ⅓ cup of bourbon, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the sliced onion, celery, and carrots to the pot, cooking until they soften, which typically takes about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the smashed garlic and cook until fragrant, which should take about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Using the wooden spoon, create space at the bottom of the pot. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until it caramelizes and releases a sweet aroma, approximately 2 minutes.
  • Next, stir in the maple syrup, followed by the remaining ⅓ cup of bourbon and 2 cups of beef stock. Arrange the seared beef in an even layer, then pour in additional beef stock until the beef is about 80 percent submerged. Add the thyme sprigs and bay leaves, then bring the mixture to a simmer. Once simmering, cover the pot and transfer it to the oven.
  • Allow the dish to cook until the meat is tender and easily pierced with a fork, typically around 2 to 2 ½ hours. During cooking, check on the meat periodically, adding more stock if necessary to maintain the desired level of cooking liquid. Once done, remove and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and skim off any excess fat from the surface. If you prefer a thicker braising liquid, transfer the beef to a bowl to keep it warm. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer briskly until slightly reduced. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, adding more salt or pepper if desired. Serve warm with mashed potatoes or rice.