Learn the best way to make a flavorful pot roast featuring some knowledge I gained from the Alton Brown.
Pot Roast is a classic American dish that been influence by the French.
There is a dish called boeuf à la mode that is similar to our pot roast and what influenced it.
Everyone’s grandma seems to have a recipe for one.
Problem is a lot of Americans don’t know how to properly cook one.
Sometimes the meat is so flavorless that you need to pile on tons of gravy in order to shallow it down. Other times the veggies are so soft that even a baby or your grandma with no dentures cold chew them.
Good news there are many ways to make a flavorful pot roast. Let’s explore those.
What Cut of Beef Makes the Best Tasting Pot Roast?
The best pot roast starts with knowing what cut of beef makes the best pot roast. This is the perfect opportunity to turn a cheap cut of beef into a flavorful one.
I always suggest choosing a chuck roast, which is as cheap as they get, as the chuck primal is where we get the most meat from the cow. The chuck is found at the top front of the cow, near the neck. It contains the shoulder blade of the animal.
I don’t like using any type of round (bottom, top, etc) for pot roast. Round is leaner. Chuck is fatter thus producing more of a finger licking good pot roast. Leftovers are better too.
Does it Matter What Type of Chuck Roast You Get?
To get the best chuck roast, you want to get part of the bone from the shoulder blade. For hat look for the 7 bone!
The 7 Bone Chuck Pot Roast
No, there isn’t 7 bones in that cut of meat, but there is a bone shaped like a 7. The bone will add tenderness and hopefully leak out some gelatin to make a finger licking good pot roast.
Alton Brown once said in an old episode of Good Eats that the 7 bone roast was his go-to for pot roast.
So if you can find a 7 bone roast, use it. You follow the same procedure to cook the 7 bone roast as you would a boneless one.
Can’t Find a 7 Bone Chuck Pot Roast?
I should have put the word “if” in bold print in that last paragraph. Most of the time you can only find boneless chuck roasts. Most grocery stores where I have looked have only carried boneless. In fact, only one place have I seen a 7 bone roast in and that store is a shop that specializes in meat.
The Secret to Cooking Pot Roast – Go Slow
To cook your pot roast, you want to go low and slow.
This cut of beef has a lot of connective tissue in it that needs to be broken down so that you have a tender result, not a tough one. You also want a low temperature for even cooking.
Also you will be performing what’s called a braise, which involves cooking with a small amount of liquid. If your temperature is too high than your liquid will boil and that’s not something you want.
It is also important to use a flavorful liquid like tomato juice or beef broth as water alone doesn’t add any flavor.
Never Miss a Chance to Add Flavor
Before you begin braising your beef, you will want to brown it. The reason is not to keep juices inside the meat, like so many people tend to believe, but to add flavor.
To brown the meat you will cook it over high heat with a little oil for about 4-5 minutes per side.
When you do this the Maillard Reaction takes place. The high heat causes proteins and sugars to react to produce new flavors on the surface of the pot roast meat (thank you, Alton Brown for teaching me this!). This same reaction is what gives grilled meats their flavor.
You need to do this first before you braise the meat. Skipping this stage is cheating yourself out of additional flavor.
Now that you have given some knowledge how to create a flavorful pot roast, check out this recipe below to get started on a delicious, finger-licking good dinner.
The Most Flavorful Slow Cooker Pot Roast Recipe
When it comes to making a pot roast my all time favorite pot roast recipe is not your everyday roast. It’s my Moroccan inspired pot roast with chickpeas and couscous. You can make it in your slow cooker!
I love serving pot roast this way as it lightens up the meal, making it not as heavy as a traditional pot roast with potatoes. It’s the perfect summer time pot roast 🙂
I add lots of spices to this pot roast including cinnamon, which really turns up the beef flavor without tasting like a sticky bun.
Moroccan Pot Roast
- 3 to 4 lb chuck roast
- 2 cups beef stock or broth
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- cooking oil
- 3 medium carrots peeled and cut on the bias
- chopped parsley
- 2 cups of cooked couscous
- 8 ounces of cooked chickpeas
Preparing the beef
- Heat up a skillet over medium high heat with about a tablespoon of oil. Liberally salt the beef on both sides. Add to the pan.
- Cook until the meat is brown on one side, flip and do the next side.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Place the beef in a slow cooker. Immediately take about 1/3 cup of the beef broth and add it the pan. Gently scrap all the brown bites that are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Then dump the liquid into the slow cooker.
- Add the spices and garlic.
- Cook for 4 to 6 hours or until the meat is falling apart.
- Add the carrots during the final hour of cooking.
Finishing the dish
- When the beef is tender. Add in 8 ounces of cooked chickpeas. Serve the pot roast over a bed of couscous. Add chopped fresh parsley on top and serve.
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