Pot Roast is a classic American dish. Problem is a lot of Americans don’t know how to properly cook one. Most of the time the problem is the meat is so flavorless that you need to pile on tons of gravy in order to shallow it down. Good news there are many ways to make a flavorful pot roast.
First thing you need to know is 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. You want to choose 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. To get the best chuck roast, you want to get part of the bone from the shoulder blade. For that you need a 7 bone 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.
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.
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 meat (thank you, Alton Brown for teaching me this!). This same reaction is what gives grilled meats their flavor. So 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.