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How to Cook Pot Roast

Tender and Delicious Results

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Perfect Pot Roast

Perfect Pot Roast

Linda Larsen
Want to learn how to cook pot roast so it's deliciously tender and juicy every time? I have always felt that facing a big chunk of meat and cooking it well was very intimidating and one of the biggest cooking challenges. For years even I was afraid of making a pot roast, even though both of my grandmothers were famous for their tender, melting roasts. Can you believe I never got their recipes? Then I found Laurie Colwin's recipe for pot roast and it sounded so wonderful I decided to try it.

Instant success! A variation of that recipe is now the one I turn to when I crave pot roast. I don't make it often; just a few times each winter. But my mouth waters just thinking about it.

How to Cook Pot Roast

  • Moist heat is a must. The cuts of meat used for pot roast have less fat than steaks and long, slow cooking with liquid (also called braising) tenderizes the meat fibers.
  • Whether the pot roast is cooked on the stove, in the oven or in the crockpot, you may brown the meat first on all sides. This improves the flavor and appearance of the meat. The high heat used during browning caramelizes the sugars and proteins in the meat, which results in a rich flavor. If the recipe doesn't call for browning, you don't have to worry about it.
  • Season the meat before browning for best flavor.
  • Common cuts used for pot roast include:
    • chuck
    • brisket
    • top round
    • bottom round (my maternal grandmother's favorite)
    • rump
    • I'll quote Laurie Colwin again here: "My mother favors front-cut brisket, but she grew up when one could buy prime meat... without dipping into capital... I settled on the cheaper chuck steak, cut thick, and I stand by it. It is fattier than brisket and therefore more lip-smacking."
  • Remember, you can always ask the butcher in your supermarket for help selecting a cut for pot roast. He or she will have lots of information to help you buy the perfect meat for your pot roast.
  • Always buy more meat than you think you will need. Leftover pot roast can be even better! Generally, you'll get 2-3 servings out of a pound of boneless roast, and 2 servings from a bone-in roast.
  • I prefer baking the roast in the oven or using the crockpot to stovetop cooking. When the roast is simmered in a skillet, you have to pay much more attention to the cooking process. One of the things I like about pot roast is you can literally 'fix it and forget it'.
  • For cooking liquid, you can use anything from coca-cola to beef broth or tomato juice.
  • Add vegetables to the meat and you have a complete one pot meal!
  • Vegetables should be added right at the beginning when you are cooking in the crockpot. For oven pot roast, add vegetables about one hour before the meat is done.

Pot Roast Recipes

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