A true American dinner, the Pot Roast has been a part of Sunday evenings for millions of families over the last few decades. The popularity of a roast dinner has declined somewhat in recent years, but it’s still one of the best ways to feed a crowd without spending too much. No need to settle for bland, dry, or overcooked Pot Roast if that’s what you remember from childhood. The key is choosing the right cut of meat for this kind of braising which usually takes hours to complete. Start with the best meat for pot roast and you’ll surely enjoy your meal.
What to Look for in a Roast
You’ll want a boneless roast for this dish. While bone-in roasts like the Prime Rib are flavorful and eye-catching, Pot Roast is designed for easy shredding when serving. Having the bone left in makes the meat more sliceable and less shreddable. It also gets in the way of serving everything quickly when you have a hungry crowd to feed. You also want a roast that releases plenty of juices for gravy, but without too much fat that would leave the meat and juices greasy. Finally, look for a size that makes sense for you. A 1 to 2-pound Pot Roast is perfect for two to three people, while larger cuts of meat that weigh 4 pounds or more work best for large families and get-togethers.
Tips for Choosing the Right Cut
- Stick with a Choice or Select roast rather than USDA Prime beef since the slow braising process will tenderize it
- Remember that you can trim external fat caps easily, while internal fat layers contribute to the tenderness and flavor of the finished roast
- Larger roasts will take multiple hours to cook, while small roasts under 3 pounds can cook in as little as 2 hours.
Popular Cuts for Pot Roast
There’s no one piece of beef labeled as Pot Roast in the butcher’s case. Pot Roast is a cooking method that’s easily adapted to most large pieces of beef, but some of them work better than others. Braising a boneless roast with a good balance of fat and muscle will result in a juicy Pot Roast that you enjoy eating even without gravy on top. For most people, the best meat for Pot Roast is the beef Chuck Roast.
Beef Chuck Roast
Most Chuck Roast cuts are boneless, making it easy to find one that is the right size for your dinner. You may find it called a Chuck Eye or Blade Roast instead. Coming from the shoulder area, it is generally tougher and more marbled than many other roasts. This makes it ideal for the long braising used on Pot Roast. The meat will shred or tear in large chunks rather than getting mushy, offering just the right tenderness and flavor while remaining intact after hours of cooking.
Most people associate Brisket with smoking and grilling, but it can also cook up beautifully in a closed roasting pan in the oven. There are thicker fat layers on this cut of beef, so you may want to trim up the surface before cooking. The extra fat makes this cut of meat appealing to some for Pot Roast, but it may not satisfy everyone’s tastes. Brisket also costs quite a bit more per pound than the Chuck Roast.
Bottom Round Roast
If you’re looking for a lean Pot Roast that is still marbled enough for good flavor, consider the Bottom Round Roast. It comes from the rear of the cow rather than the front like the previous two cuts. There isn’t much fat in or on this piece of meat, so you may want to add some olive oil or butter to the roast before it goes into the oven. The resulting meat is tender and flavorful, but make sure to keep the roast tightly covered while cooking to keep it from drying out.
The Best Way to Make Pot Roast
The oven is the key to a good Pot Roast, along with a roasting pan with a fitted lid. Cooking this large piece of meat on the stovetop or grill will only leave it dried out and far too tough. Instead, the idea is to place the beef in a pan with liquids already added like beef broth, wine, or plain water. This cooking method is called braising. When you keep the cooking temperature low and give it plenty of time, the result is fork-tender meat with a concentrated flavor and no dryness.
Preventing a Dry Roast
Try buying a cut of beef with good marbling and at least a little fat cap on the exterior. Even if you try to eat lean meat, Pot Roast benefits from having fat slowly roast into the muscle tissues. Choosing a slightly tougher cut like the Chuck Roast also helps. The connective tissues in the meat soften and melt as the meat roasts, giving it extra moisture and tenderness at the end of the cooking period.
What to Roast with the Pot Roast
A Yankee Pot Roast includes plenty of tasty roasted vegetables in the same pan, producing a complete meal all at once. Potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, and autumn squash all hold up well to the long roast.
Pot Roast Recipe
- 1 boneless Chuck Roast, about 3 to 4 pounds
- 2 tablespoons of high-heat oil
- 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
- ½ tablespoon of cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of granulated garlic
- ½ tablespoon of Italian spices
- 2 cups of beef broth or stock
- 1 cup dry red wine
- Vegetables to roast (if desired)
1. Heat a large cast iron pan or Dutch oven on the stovetop with the oil. Sear the roast for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Sit the roast directly in the bottom of the roasting pan, then pour in the beef broth and red wine. Add water if needed until 2/3rds of the meat is covered. Apply the seasonings to the surface of the roast, rubbing them in to get even coverage. Toss any vegetables in if you want to roast them.
3. Put the lid on and place the pan in the hot oven. Roast for 1 hour per pound of meat before checking. Pot Roast is only done when it’s easily shredded with a fork, or when the internal temperature is above 150 degrees F.
Consider saving the cooking liquid for making au jus or gravy, even if it’s for another dish.
Please your picky eaters with a Pot Roast that everyone will love. There are no spicy flavors or unusual seasonings in this recipe, only a classic roasted beef flavor. Find the best cuts of beef for slow roasting here at Chicago Steak Company along with luxury favorites like Top Sirloin steaks.
- 1 3-4lb boneless chuck roast
- 2 tbsp high heat oil
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp granulated garlic
- 1/2 tbsp Italian spices
- 2 cups broth or stock
- 1 cup dry red wine
- vegetables to roast (if desired)
- Heat a large cast iron pan or Dutch oven on the stovetop with the oil. Sear the roast for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F
- Sit the roast directly in the bottom of the roasting pan, then pour in the beef broth and red wine. Add water if needed until 2/3rds of the meat is covered. Apply the seasonings to the surface of the roast, rubbing them in to get even coverage. Toss any vegetables in if you want to roast them
- Put the lid on and place the pan in the hot oven. Roast for 1 hour per pound of meat before checking. Pot Roast is only done when it’s easily shredded with a fork, or when the internal temperature is above 150 degrees F