Love Mom's Pot Roast but forgot to take notes when she was making it? Search no more! Here's a foolproof recipe for the most tender, juicy and flavorful pot roast you've ever had...just like Mom's.
Pot Roast is the ultimate Sunday lunch in the South, usually served with tender pototoes, carrots and onions. Most often, all the ingredients cook in a big roasting pan in the oven-where the smell permeates throughout the house and smells delicious! This recipe can be made in a slow cooker as well.
What is a Pot Roast?
A pot roast is not a particular cut of meat. The term "pot roast" refers to a braised cut of meat, simmered with seasonings and aromatics. Believe it or not, the tougher cuts of meat work best!
What Cut of Beef Do I Use for Mom's Pot Roast?
You can see from the image below that chuck is on the upper portion of the cow, as are the rib, sirloins and rump. The chuck, rump, round and brisket are less tender than the center parts (ribs and loins). This is because they are used in movement, thus more muscular. When any of these cuts is braised at a low temperature for a long time, the results are fabulous! However, both chuck and rump cuts produce an amazingly tender and flavorful pot roast.
- Chuck cuts might be labeled as chuck roast, boneless chuck roast, 7-bone chuck roast, 7-bone-in roast, shoulder steak, chuck shoulder pot roast, or beef chuck arm.
- Brisket is a leaner, flat cut. Cuts might indicate "brisket point" which is usually fattier and often used for corned beef or barbecue recipes.
- Round rump roast or bottom round cuts are both relatively tough cuts and make beautifully delicious pot roasts.
What Type of Liquid Should I Use to Braise the Pot Roast?
A braising liquid can be water, stock or broth. Typically, beef broth is the most common choice, combined with a few cloves of garlic or onion added to the broth.
What Is the Best Way to Cook a Pot Roast?
Cook a roast in the oven in a roasting pan or in a slow-cooker. If you use a roasting pan, ensure the lid fits securely. The secret to a perfectly cooked roast is cooking it low and slow--keeping all the juices in tact. If the lid doesn't fit securely, steam will escape, as will the braising liquid.
If your roasting pan doesn't have a lid, place a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the top (allow about an inch of extra foil around the edges); then curl and fold the excess foil over the top lip of the roasting pan, creating a tight lid. This same technique works with a slow cooker if you're lid is cracked or missing.
How Do I Season a Pot Roast?
Salt, pepper and garlic powder are the most common seasonings, however, if you want a more developed flavor, add herbs to the broth. For instance, if you want a hint of oregano in your pot roast, apply a little oregano to the whole roast and the liquid as well.
This recipe uses a packaged dry onion soup mix as shown above, which gives a very savory, hearty flavor to the roast and vegetables.
What Vegetables Should I Add ?
You can never go wrong with adding onions, carrots and potatoes! Quarter a large onion or two and add it to the roasting pan or slow cooker with the roast and liquid. If you want to add carrots and potatoes, simply peel and cube either Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peel and chop carrots, and add both halfway through the cooking process.
If you want to add sliced yellow or zucchini squash, add them about an hour before the roast is done.
How Long Does It Take to Cook a Roast?
In a slow cooker, a pot roast usually takes between 6-8 hours; of course, it depends upon the size, but most 2-4 lb. roasts take all day to cook. If you're cooking a pot roast in the oven in a roasting pan, it will take about 4-5 hours.
Classic Pot Roast
- 1 chuck or rump roast ,allow 1/2 to 1 1/2 lbs. per person
- 1 large onion ,sliced
- 6 cloves garlic ,sliced
- 6-8 carrots , cut into bite size pieces
- 4-5 Russet potatoes , cut into bite size pieces
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 cups water or beef broth
- 1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
- Preheat oven to 325F
- Using a sharp knifetip, cut small slits into the roast; about 8 - 12, depending on how much garlic you like
- Slice garlic lengthwise and insert into the slits in the meat
- Season meat generously with salt and pepper
- Add oil to heavy bottom skillet at medium to medium-high temperature
- Using tongs, place roast in hot oil; cook for about 3 minutes, or until roast is browned; flip roast and cook the other side
- Using tongs, hold the roast to sear the sides of the roast
- Place roast in roasting pan; add onions and potatoes; season with salt and pepper
- Combine liquid with dry soup mix in a bowl; pour over roast
- After roast has cooked for about 3 hours, add carrots
- Add other vegetables to the roast about an hour before serving: squash, zucchini, parsnips
- If you don't have time to sear the roast, don't worry about it. Just season the roast and put in in the roasting pan.
- I prefer to cook my roast in the oven because it makes my whole house smell good:) A slow cooker will take about 8 hours to cook; oven cooking takes about 4-6.