Instant Pot Lazy-Butt Beef Subs with Caramelized Onions and BBQ Mayo

Please tell me you're in the mood for a seriously yummy shredded beef sub sandwich! Then tell me you've either got an Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) or a slow cooker and I'll be over the moon!

Please tell me you’re in the mood for an easy Instant Pot Italian beef sub. Lazy-Butt Beef Subs with Caramelized Onions and BBQ Mayo are seriously delicious and so easy to make.

The Classic Roast Beef Sandwich Recipe Begins Here!

Please tell me you're in the mood for a seriously yummy shredded beef sub sandwich! Then tell me you've either got an Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) or a slow cooker and I'll be over the moon!

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Howdy! Chef Alli Here. Let’s Get You Cookin’….Shall We? 🙂

Because we raise cattle, we’ve always got a freezer full of beef, and alot of that beef is in the form of roasts: chuck roasts, arm roasts, (since when do cows have ARMS??), eye of round roasts, shoulder roasts….and so on. (You get the picture.)

Anyway, I’m always on the look out for roast recipes that will appeal to my guys, and Lazy-Butt Beef Subs with Caramelized Onions and BBQ Mayo do not disappoint! 

When you pile incredibly tender and juicy shredded beef onto hoagie buns with caramelized onions and melted provolone, you’ve got a meal that’s over-the-top delish.

This is also the perfect recipe to make when you’ve got to feed a large group because both the beef and the onions are super easy to make in a double batch. Your people are going to go crazy for them, I promise!

Please tell me you're in the mood for a seriously yummy shredded beef sub sandwich! Then tell me you've either got an Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) or a slow cooker and I'll be over the moon!

Easy Recipe Tips for Making Beef Subs with Caramelized Onions

Will my family still like these sub sandwiches if I don’t add the caramelized onions?

  • Yes, but go ahead and create the caramelized onions, then serve them on the side for those that DO like them. This is one of the ingredients that really “makes” this sandwich so yummy.  You can customize these subs as you get ready to serve them…..either with or without the onions, depending on taste buds!

Can I Make This Recipe Using a Pork Roast Instead of a Beef Roast? 

  • Absolutely and completely – I do it ALL THE TIME and it’s wonderful. But don’t take my word for it- just make it and see for yourself! I’d probably use a pork butt since they cook up so tender and juicy. (And I have another great way to cook pork butt, too…all spicy and tender.)

What are pepperoncini peppers and where will I find them at the grocery store?

  • The pepperoncini are a key ingredient in this recipe and they really give tons of great flavor (plus a little of spice) to the roast beef as it cooks. You will typically find these in a tall, skinny jar in the pickle/condiment section of your favorite grocer. Sometimes I add a few of the cooked pepperoncini peppers to my caramelized onions when I want to give them a little bit of zip.  YUM!!

What if pepperoncini peppers are too spicy for my family?

  • Substitute banana peppers (with juice) for the pepperoncini. Banana peppers are not nearly as spicy but still add great flavor and just a little bit of zing.

 Why are these sandwiches called Lazy-Butt Beef Subs?

  • Well, because when you’re feeling like a lazy-butt, you can still easily make this recipe.  Just two ingredients need for cooking the roast, then when the meat is ready you can make the subs any time you feel like it!
An open face beef sub sandwich with sauce.

The Secret to Perfect Caramelized Onions

  • What makes caramelized onions so dang yummy, you ask?  As they caramelize, they release their natural sugars, creating a sweet/savory experience for your palate, and they are quite delicious on sandwiches, burgers, and steaks.
  • The secrete to perfect caramelized onions is this:  you have to dedicate some TIME to the process.  Good caramelized onions must cook low and slow, they cannot be rushed. 
  • If you choose to cook them in a slow cooker, they do take 8-10 hours, but little babysitting is required.  If you cook them in a skillet on your stove top, you can get them finished much more quickly, but they will need a close eye and some stirring from time to time. Either way, caramelized onions are simple to make and even better to eat.

What Tools are Helpful for Making This Recipe?

A slow cooker or a 6-quart Instant Pot (my small appliance of choice for cooking beef in a speedy manner) are handy, but you can always cook the beef roast in a Dutch Oven (I like cast iron) in your oven, as well.

If you’re going to crisp up the beef after it’s shredded, a 12-inch cast iron skillet makes short work of it. Also, I like making my caramelized onions in a 12-inch cast iron skillet with a lid, to keep the heat in which helps the onions cook more quickly.

A Few Other Beef Recipes That Are Family Favorites –

Printable Recipe for Making Lazy-Butt Beef Subs with Caramelized Onions

Please tell me you're in the mood for a seriously yummy shredded beef sub sandwich! Then tell me you've either got an Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) or a slow cooker and I'll be over the moon!

Instant Pot Lazy-Butt Pepperoncini Beef Subs with Caramelized Onions

Please tell me you're in the mood for an easy Instant Pot Italian beef sub. Lazy-Butt Beef Subs with Caramelized Onions and BBQ Mayo are seriously delicious and so easy to make.
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Approx. Time Needed for Instant Pot to Pressurize:: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 subs
Calories: 717kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 lb. chuck roast
  • 16 oz jar sliced pepperoncini peppers, with juices
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 8 Hoagie buns, split and toasted until golden brown
  • 8 slices provolone cheese, each one cut in half
  • 6 large yellow or white onions, approx. 2 lbs., sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar
  • kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Slow Cooker Method for Cooking the Roast

  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the roast on all sides in a bit of hot oil; place the roast into the slow cooker; pour the jar of pepperoncini and their juices over the roast. Cover the slow cooker and cook the roast on the low setting for 8-10 hours, or until the beef is very fork-tender, and falls apart easily.
  • Remove the beef from the cooking liquid in the slow cooker to a cutting board; shred the beef using two forks. 

Instant Pot (Electric Pressure Cooker) Method for Cooking the Roast

  • Using the saute setting on the Instant Pot, add a bit of olive oil; when the oil is hot, add the roast, browning it off on all sides.  Pour the jar of pepperoncini and their juices over the roast.  Lock the Instant Pot securely lid into place, making the valve is set to the sealing position. Choose high pressure setting for 45 minutes, bringing the Instant pot up to full pressure. 
  • When the timer sounds, perform a natural release, slowly letting the pressure in the Instant Pot come down on it's own. Carefully unlock and open the Instant Pot; check the roast – the beef should be very fork-tender; remove the beef from the cooking liquid in the Instant Pot to a cutting board; shred the beef using two forks.  

Make the Caramelized Onions

  • While the roast is cooking, make the caramelized onions. In a large skillet over medium low heat, melt and butter with the olive oil; stir in the brown sugar, then add the sliced onions. Cook the onions over low heat, gently stirring often, until the onions have caramelized and cooked down (golden brown in color) approx. 40-45 minutes.

To Assemble the Subs

  • Preheat a large, greased cast iron skillet over medium high heat; when the skillet is nicely hot, add the shredded beef, allowing the beef to crisp and cook, tossing occasionally.  (This step is optional, but it really adds another flavor profile and some good crispy-ness to the beef.)
  • Meanwhile, place the toasted buns onto a baking sheet. Combine the mayo and the bbq sauce, then slather the buns, topping them with the warm beef, caramelized onions, and the provolone slices.
    Pop the subs into a very hot oven for just a few minutes until the cheese melts on top melts, approx. 1-2 minutes at most. Serve at once! 

Notes

**Please note:  the cooking time stated for this recipe does not include the time required to bring the Instant Pot up to pressure since this can vary. This recipe was made using a 6-quart Instant Pot. 

Will my family still like these sub sandwiches if I don’t add the caramelized onions?

  • Yes, but go ahead and create the caramelized onions, then serve them on the side. This is one of the ingredients that really “makes” this sandwich so yummy.  You can customize these subs as you get ready to serve them…..either with or without the onions, depending on taste buds!

Can I Make This Recipe Using a Pork Roast Instead of a Beef Roast? 

  • Absolutely – I do it ALL THE TIME and it’s wonderful. But don’t take my word for it- just make it and see for yourself! I’d probably use a pork butt since they cook up so tender and juicy.

What are pepperoncini peppers and where will I find them at the grocery store?

  • This is a key ingredient in this recipe and it really gives great flavor (plus a little of spice) to the roast beef.  You will find these in a jar near the pickle/condiment section of your favorite grocer. Sometimes I add the cooked pepperoncini peppers to my caramelized onions if I want to give them a little bit of zip.  YUM!!

What if pepperoncini peppers are too spicy for my family?

  • Substitute banana peppers (with juice) for the pepperoncini. Banana peppers are not nearly as spicy but still add great flavor.

 Why are these sandwiches called Lazy-Butt Beef Subs?

  • Well, because when you’re feeling like a lazy-butt, you can still easily make this recipe.  Just two ingredients need for cooking the roast, then when the meat is ready you can make the subs any time you feel like it!

The Secret to Perfect Caramelized Onions

What makes caramelized onions so dang yummy, you ask?  As they caramelize, they release their natural sugars, creating a sweet/savory experience for your palate, and they are quite delicious on sandwiches, burgers, and steaks.
The secrete to perfect caramelized onions is this:  you have to dedicate some TIME to the process.  Good caramelized onions must cook low and slow, they cannot be rushed.  If you choose to cook them in a slow cooker, they do take 8-10 hours, but little babysitting is required.  If you cook them in a skillet on your stove top, you can get them finished much more quickly, but they will need a close eye and some stirring from time to time.
Either way, they are super simple to make!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, instant pot, sandwiches, slow cooker

Nutrition

Calories: 717kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 896mg | Potassium: 898mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 563IU | Vitamin C: 53mg | Calcium: 213mg | Iron: 15mg
 

 
 

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Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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