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Lunch Lady Beef Sandwiches

by Kristen

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A few years ago, my parents showed up at my house with a massive stack of old church cookbooks.  It is so fascinating going through all of the old recipes!  When you look through old church cookbooks, you will always see interesting ways to cook with gelatin, “Chinese” recipes that call for “Catsup,” and you will always see loads of shortening in baking recipes.  It is a great reminder of how we have come in the the world of food.

However, one thing I like to look for in old church cookbooks are lost ways to prepare different cuts of meat, and what folks used to use to season their meat.  A while back, I found this recipe for Barbecue beef sandwiches, and it has become a favorite dinner among my three kids.  And yes, it does call for “catsup.”

I have a friend who grew up in a small town in Iowa.  In this small town, school lunches are prepared homemade every day by a group of women.  These ladies make homemade soups, stews, and casseroles for the students who eat in the cafeteria.  Anyway, the reason why I call these sandwiches ” Lunch Lady” beef sandwiches is because I could see this being served in a cafeteria ” way back when” before all school lunches in this country arrived flash-frozen in a box.

These sandwiches are such a crowd pleaser! ( and this beef makes great tacos too!)

Here is what you need to make these Lunch Lady Barbecue Beef Sandwiches

An Instant Pot or I suppose you can use a slow cooker 

two-pound Angus beef roast or another cut of beef that you prefer

One onion

1 cup of ketchup

Two tablespoons of barbecue sauce

One tablespoon of Heinz 57

One tablespoon of Horseradish Mustard

2 cups of water

And that’s it!

These are great sandwiches to serve at parties!  They’re easy to make, and I promise you that the kids will eat them and love them!

  • Note: When I make “pulled” meat out of a large roast in my Instant Pot, I pressure cook it for much longer than you might see in other recipes.   I find that when you cook the roast longer, it will melt apart at the touch of a fork.   This is the texture that I prefer when cooking pulled meat, and why I generally choose to cook pulled meat in my Instant Pot over a slow cooker.

Lunch Lady Barbecue Beef Sandwiches


  • two pound Angus beef roast Or your preferred cut of meat
  • one onion chopped
  • one cup ketchup
  • one tablespoon Heinz 57
  • one tablespoon Horseradish mustard
  • two tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 2 cups water


  1. Place all of the ingredients at the bottom of your Instant Pot.

  2. Secure Lid and Cook on High Pressure for 90 minutes.

  3. let naturally release.

  4. Pull apart the beef using a knife and fork and place it back into the Instant Pot Pan.

  5. Mix the pork with the juices.

  6. Turn on the saute function on your Instant Pot.

  7. Saute for 10 -15 minutes while stirring every few minutes. This will help the mixture thicken.

You can use your leftovers in a variety of dishes.





If you’re serving these at a party, I also recomend this cilantro lime slaw to go with it.


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