Learn what the best cut to make pot roast is and why if you can find a 7 bone roast you should snatch it up right away. Also tips on how to cook and season your beef - I share what I learned from Alton Brown. At the end you will find a recipe for a Moroccan Inspired Pot Roast.
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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 could chew them.
Good news there are many ways to make a flavorful pot roast. It all starts with choosing the right cut of meat.
❓ What Cut of Beef Makes the Best 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.
Any type of round (bottom, top, etc) for pot roast is not recommended. Round is leaner. Chuck is fatter thus producing more of a finger licking good pot roast. Leftovers are better too. You could use a round roast in a pinch.
? Types of Chuck Cuts
If you are at the grocery store looking for a chuck roast here are some things you might encounter.
Boneless Chuck Roast
The most easy to find roast will just be called a boneless chuck roast. Sometimes stores will market them as for pot roast. This is what I buy 99% of the time. They are easy to find and affordable.
Chuck Eye Steak
Chuck eye steak looks very similar to the boneless chuck roast. The main difference is that it's cut for steaks, so it's thinner than a chuck roast. Could you use it to make pot roast? Sure. If you are looking for a smaller potion you could try it with a steak. I do recommend them for using their intended purpose though.
? RELATED - How to Cook a Chuck Eye Steak
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. This roast is called called a Blade Cut Chuck Roast.
Alton Brown once said in an old episode of Good Eats that the 7 bone roast was his go-to for pot roast.
? Read our review of Alton Brown's Final 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.
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 nowadays. Some say it's because chuck is being cut up differently nowadays with the introduction of the flat iron steak.
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.
If are looking to get your hands on the best chuck roast you can imagine look for a dry aged chuck roast. Porter Road carries them on their website.
? Shop for Dry Aged Chuck Roasts
♨️ Cooking Tips
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.
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. go with a high heat oil like grapeseed or avocado. Also ghee is really good for this.
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 grilled flavor.
You need to do this first before you braise the meat. Skipping this stage is cheating yourself out of additional flavor.
? Seasoning Tips
It is also important to use a flavorful liquid like tomato juice or beef broth as water alone doesn't add any flavor. I suggest you taste your liquid before you add it to the beef. Does it taste strong? If it doesn't you need to add more seasonings.
Dried herbs like rosemary or thyme go well with pot roast. Or Herbs de Provence seasoning is a good choice.
It's also important to generously season your meat with kosher salt before you brown it. This will help brown it better.
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.
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. Trust me, it won't taste line cinnamon, although your kitchen make pick up the smell - not a bad thing if you ask me.
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 ½ 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 ⅓ 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.
Ed Schenk/Real Foods Blog
Great wintertime fair. I do my pot roast with fennel and finish with a fennel gremolata.
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