4 easy steps to great pot roast every time!
Fork tender pot roast
nothing better than a dutch oven for pot roast!
How to make great pot roast
Nothing beats the homey mouthwatering aromas of a pot roast percolating in the oven on a crisp day…permeating the house with the promise of a great, succulent and fall apart tender meal to come! Unfortunately, too many pot roasts end up disappointing with a watery sauce, dry overcooked meat, and a flavor that doesn't live up to the promise of that aroma.
Here are four secrets to great pot roast every time, regardless of the recipe you're using.
4 Secrets to great pot roast
1 choose the right cut of meat
For a pot roast--a truly great pot roast--you need to skip right over those expensive, lean and tender offerings at the butcher counter and head straight to the cheapest, gnarliest and scariest looking hunk of meat that you can find (which is great, as these cuts generally retail for next to nothing, and these are the cuts that really shine in a long slow pot roast braise)!
Firstly, these very well worked muscles tend to have the best meaty flavor, and secondly, because they are so full of collagen (the stuff that makes it very chewy if cooked quickly) they will make a rich and thickened sauce with no need for additional thickeners like flour or cornstarch.
Over long slow cooking collagen dissolves into gelatin, which is a natural thickener, and also very rich tasting. Lean meats without collagen tend to become very dry in a long braise, and also do little to thicken the sauce.
Try cuts from the upper shoulder (chuck) the brisket, the skirt area or the bottom round. If in doubt, look for lots of scary looking connective tissue, and look for the cheapest stuff on offer!
2 Brown it well
There is an enzymatic reaction called the maillard reaction that occurs when meat is cooked over a high temperature. You need to really pre fry that meat well to get a rich and deep brown all over before adding liquid, as once you add liquid the temperatures can never get high enough to brown the meat.
Take your time, and in your heaviest Dutch oven or cast iron, slowly sear that meat all over until browned in every corner and crevice. Making a pot roast is truly effortless hands-free cooking, and it really pays to spend 20 minutes or so taking your time with this step.
4 Don't add too much liquid
Whether using water, stock, beer or wine, this is not a stew it's a braise, and you don’t want to dilute the taste of the rich gravy with too much liquid. Start with about 1 cup or so, and you can always add more if needed later.
4 Cook it slow and cook it covered!
Nothing will dry out a pot roast faster than a heavy boil or a steady stream of steam escaping from the pot. You want to use a very heavy cooking pot, a Dutch oven or heavy ceramic works great for slow pulsing radiant heat and you should never have your oven set higher than 350, and lower than this is even better if you’re not in a rush!
The heavenly rich taste of a great pot roast occurs as a result of gentle steam rising to the lid, condensing and drip/basting back over the meat. You need to have a very tight fitting lid to get this effect, and if you have steam escaping, the flavor will disappoint, and you'll also dry out the meat (no basting!)
If you're lid isn't tight enough, use foil to crimp a good seal on before closing the lid.
Great pot roast every time!
Follow these four easy steps, and you will have a heavenly pot roast awaiting you every time!