Start by applying a good spice rub (see recipe below) to all the meat. Cut the meat into one-inch chunks, then place in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour (overnight is better).
In a cast-iron Dutch oven, brown the meat thoroughly in:
2 tablespoons of olive oil, adding more if necessary
When the meat is browned, remove to a bowl and add to the Dutch oven:
1 cup onion, sliced
1 ring smoked sausage, sliced (spicy or sweet)
2 cloves garlic
When the onion is nicely browned, add to the Dutch oven:
1 bottle dark beer
2 cups duck stock (or low-sodium beef broth)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Bring the stock to a boil, add the meat, cover and place in a 275-degree oven for at least two hours. Half an hour before the stew is ready to be served, add:
2 cups potatoes, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
Remove the bay leaves and, if necessary, thicken the gravy with cornstarch or roux. This dish can be prepared ahead of time and reheated at mealtime (in fact it’s better when re-heated).
To make the spice rub, combine: 3 tablespoons of fresh-ground black pepper, 4 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of salt, 1 tablespoon each of cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and ground red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of cayenne.