Why does my pot roast keep turning out so tough?
I put it in the crock pot, low and slow. I allow the roast to sit until it reaches room temperature prior to putting in the pot, but, no matter what, I can't make it turn out tender like my mother used to. Is there a step that I'm missing?
You need to brown it first. That locks in the juices. Cook it briefly on both sides in a pan on the stove until both sides are brown, then put it in your crockpot. Don't cook it all the way through, just the outside.
I would ask you first: what cut of meat are you using? Also, always bear in mind that tenderness -or at least the tendency for tenderness in a cut of beef or pork- usually depends on two things: what portion of the animal it was taken from and the age of the animal. Cuts taken from the portion of the animal with least fat is generally tougher than those taken from fattier areas. And the meat of older animals is almost always tougher than animals in their prime or younger.
Otherwise, overuse of salt has a detrimental effect on the tenderness of meat. As strange as it may seem, overuse of meat tenderizer -which incorporates a great deal of sodium- can harden the tissues, even if you baste well or roast in liquid. If the cut and age of your roast is suitable, I would suggest you steer away from meat tenderizer seasonings altogether. Allow the roast to cook in its own juices, and season it minimally at most. And never let the roast go dry. If it appears to be sizzling in the crock pot, pour in some natural broth or water with a little olive oil.
There are a few things you can try to get the pot roast to turn out better. One thing you can do is to brown the outside. Put one side on a hot pan or pot just long enough for it to brown the outside. Then do it with the rest of the roast. It should only take seconds to brown each spot. Doing that helps to keep the meat moist. Another thing you can do is to change the cooking time. You could be overcooking it.
If it is beef or pork you probably don't need very much water, if any. Turn the meat so that the fat is at the top. That way it melts and drips down the meat. More fat generally means the meat can be cooked in less water. Keep track of what works and what does not.
Cutting the meat and soaking it in hot gravy for a little while before you eat it helps to make the meat more tender. Some roasts are tougher than others. You might need to buy better roasts.
keep turning after 20 min, use a fork to poke it now and then
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