Pot Roast Recipe: How to Cook the Best Pot Roast. Pot roast is a classic comfort food and the ultimate way to feed a crowd. Simply add all the ingredients to a slow cooker or Crock Pot, and you’ll have dinner ready when you get home from work.
What Is a Pot Roast?
Pot roast is a cheap, lean cut of beef which is first browned in a skillet then stewed in a pot or slow-cooker with vegetables and broth. Pot roast generally cooks, or braises, for hours, until the tough meat becomes fall-apart tender, savory, and moist. Mashed potatoes are a classic pot roast side dish.
Which Cuts of Beef Are Best for Pot Roast?
Tough, lean beef cuts are ideal for low, slow cooking methods like pot roast. This is in contrast to the tender, fatty cuts you would look for when purchasing a steak. Examples of great boneless and bone-in cuts for pot roast include:
- Beef chuck roast (from the shoulders)
- Beef shank (from the legs)
- Beef brisket (from the chest)
- Top and bottom round (from the rear)
These parts of the animal are among the most active, resulting in a low fat content and high amounts of collagen and connective tissue. Much of this connective tissue breaks down into gelatin during the cooking process, resulting in a tender, melt-in-your mouth texture. Pot Roast Recipe.
How to Cook Pot Roast
There are two primary ways of cooking pot roast:
- Slow cooker or Crock Pot. The easiest way to cook a pot roast is in a slow cooker or Crock Pot. Simply add whatever ingredients you need to make your pot roast, set the slow cooker on low, and you’ll have a delicious roast in about eight hours. While a slow cooker pot roast takes longer, a slow cooker maintains an even temperature throughout the cooking process, enabling you to go about your day and get a perfect result without the risk of burning.
- In the oven. The more traditional method for cooking a pot roast is braising in your oven or on the stovetop using a Dutch oven (a large, heavy, thick-walled pot with a lid, usually made of cast iron). While this method is labor intensive, it also takes about half the time of a slow cooker: between three and four hours.
4 Tips for Cooking Pot Roast
While making a pot roast is very easy and requires minimal labor and preparation, there are a few tips and techniques that can make your meal even more flavorful.
- Buy the right cut of meat. As mentioned above, choose lean beef cuts with good amount of connective tissue, like a brisket, round roast, or chuck roast.
- Brown your roast first. Browning or searing may not actually seal in moisture, as previously thought. What it will do, however, is develop a brown crust, enhancing the flavor of the overall dish.
- Deglaze the pan. After searing your roast, deglaze your pan or Dutch oven, then add onions and a splash of good red wine (examples include Bordeaux wines like malbec, cabernet sauvignon, or even Carménère). This process will pull the browned bits of meat and remaining fat off the bottom of the pan, resulting in a delicious pan sauce.
- Add the vegetables last. To get the perfect texture, add your vegetables to the pot an hour to an hour and a half after you’ve begun cooking the meat. (To avoid losing too much heat and moisture, be sure to have all your vegetables ready as soon as you open the lid.)