I’ve had a long, often unsuccessful, history with pot roasts. Growing up, they were a Sunday dinner (the noon meal is called “dinner” only on Sundays; every other day of the week it is merely “lunch”) staple in our home, and they were always – always – savory and succulent. My pot roasts, however, varied from overcooked to undercooked to flavorless to ok but with hard carrots. Sometimes you just shouldn’t try to cook like your mom. But I really wanted to master the pot roast.
I’m married to a meat-and-potatoes man, and I know few things make him as happy as a traditional meal. He raves about the roasts and homemade rolls and marinated green beans and creamy, cheesy potato casseroles we have when we visit my parents. So I have applied myself to replicating my mom’s pot roasts.
Don’t tell her, but I think this one maybe even surpassed hers… I think the beef broth put it over the top.
How did we achieve this? A few important things…
1. Seasoning. Before plopping your roast in the crockpot, season it liberally on all sides with Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Rub it in. Don’t be squeamish. Cooking isn’t for wimps.
2. More seasoning. Pour a packet of onion soup mix on top of the roast once it’s in the crockpot.
3. Beef broth. Mom uses water, but I decided to up the ante. Pour enough in to cover the bottom 1/2″ or so of the roast.
4. Low, slow cooking. Mom said to start it at 10:30 p.m. the night before, if we wanted to eat it about noon on Sunday. Well, I forgot to do that. But when I got up at 3 a.m. to see if my prodigal cat had returned from him evening of small-game hunting, I remembered and started it on low then.
5. Carrots. Peel them a bit if you like, and chop them into 2″ pieces. Cut the larger pieces in half if you need to, so they’re all about a uniform size. Add them to the roast in the morning – about 8 a.m. so they have 4 hours to cook. Make sure they are covered by liquid! If you need to add more beef broth to cover them, do it now. Otherwise, you’ll get leathery spots. Ick. Potatoes are also typically added to pot roasts. But our family always fights over the carrots, so I just did those. I used about 8 carrots, and we, um, we ate them all. The two of us did.
6. That’s it. Don’t open the lid more than you have to. Make sure the bottom 1/2″ of the roast is always covered by liquid (this shouldn’t be a problem if you add enough at the very beginning, because the juices automatically cook out of it a bit).
Enjoy! And, if you have leftovers, I’d suggest spreading a little mayo on bread, heating up a few chunks of meat, and slapping them between your bread for the best roast beef sandwich you’ll ever have.
P.S. This was about a 3-4 lb. beef chuck roast, and I put it in the biggest crockpot (probably 4-5 qt) that I have, if you want details!