At first glance, this recipe for braised beef and onions might not make any sense to you. The fact that there is zero liquid added to it makes it seem like the bottom will just burn and it’ll come out as dry as sawdust.
Trust us, it won’t. The onions and the fat in the beef chuck hold plenty of liquid that gets released as they cook, making the beef super tender and moist.
That released liquid also creates an incredibly rich broth that is hard to resist.
It’s so rich and flavorful that you could cut out the dried herbs and it would still be loaded with flavor.
Normally, when you cook this recipe at home, you don’t get hotspots in your dutch oven. This is due to having more space between the heating element in your stove and the dutch oven itself.
With a camping dutch oven, the charcoal sits very close to the bottom of the dutch oven. This creates mild hotspots at the bottom of the dutch oven where the ingredients sit. Normally, the addition of a braising liquid helps to offset the effects of these mild hotspots.
We made up for the lack of liquid by adding a layer of bacon at the bottom of our dutch oven. The fat in the bacon kept the rest of the ingredients from burning before the onions could release their juices.
It may look like an enormous amount of onions, but they will dramatically reduce in size as they release their liquid.
Explore more dutch oven camping recipes.
Our braised beef and onions are so rich and decadent that we highly recommend a light side with it. A salad with some acidic elements would be a good choice.
Braised Beef and Onions
- 2 lbs. Boneless chuck roast
- 8 oz. Bacon – (cut into 1/4 inch slivers)
- 4 medium Yellow onions – (very thinly sliced)
- 5 cloves Garlic – (minced)
- 1 tsp. Morton's Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp. Dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp. Dried rosemary – (crushed)
Before You Leave Home
- Slice onions in half, peel, then thinly slice each half. Place in a large zip-top bag(s.)
- Slice bacon into 1/4 inch slivers. Place in zip-top bag.
At the Campsite
- It is best if, the night before, you salt both sides of the beef chuck with salt, wrap it securely and place back in your refrigerator or ice-chest. If you can't try to salt both sides at least an hour before cooking.
- Prepare your dutch oven to bake at 325 degrees (5 charcoal underneath and 17 on top for a 12" dutch oven).
- Layer the sliced bacon in the bottom of the dutch oven.
- Toss the onions with a teaspoon of salt then place on top of the bacon.
- Mince your garlic gloves and place them on top of onions. Sprinkle on half of your thyme and rosemary mixture.
- Sprinkle black pepper on both sides of your chuck roast and add to the top of your onions and other ingredients. Sprinkle with the remaining thyme and rosemary.
- Cover and cook for one hour, replacing charcoal as necessary.
- Uncover and flip beef chuck, then recover and continue cooking. Continue flipping beef chuck every thirty minutes for an additional two hours.
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