Savory, fork-tender Pot Roast smothered in a rich brown gravy just might be the most wanted comfort food dish of all. This one, in particular, shines far above the rest thanks to a few simple steps other recipes are leaving behind. This is everything you need to know to make a killer Pot Roast every single time.
Today, in addition to a must-have recipe, we'll cover the simple formula for a foolproof, perfectly tender pot roast, how to know if you've been searing all wrong, easy steps to add more flavor to your roast, and lastly, how to take your gravy from good to great without a reduction!
THE SECRET TO PERFECTLY TENDER POT ROAST
When it comes to making a perfect, fork-tender pot roast, it's all about cooking the right cut of meat low and slow, at the right temperature, in the right amount of liquid...for the right amount of time. When all of these factors come together perfectly, you are guaranteed a fork-tender pot roast every single time. The best cut of beef for a fork-tender pot roast is beef chuck shoulder roast, and a three-hour braise is perfect for a 4-5 pound chuck shoulder.
Braising sounds technical, but all it means is that you are cooking something partially in liquid (not necessarily submerged), in a covered dish. Dutch ovens are going to be your best friend for this cooking process.
COOKING ROAST BEEF IN A DUTCH OVEN
Dutch ovens are by far the best product out there for braising meats, which is exactly how we are going to be cooking our pot roast. Using the Dutch oven for cooking your roast beef allows you to build an incredible amount of flavor in just one vessel. It is also an excellent even-heat distributor because of its thick cast iron makeup. Here is a simple overview of how we will cook out roast beef in the Dutch oven:
- Season and sear the meat.
- Sauté the vegetables.
- Add in the braising liquid and the roast.
- Cook low and slow for 3 hours.
ARE YOU SEARING THE WRONG WAY?
The perfect pot roast recipe is all about building flavor, and the sear is where the flavor begins. After the roast is seared, it leaves behind a plethora of savory fats and juices on the Dutch oven floor. Then, the vegetables take a turn in all that beefy goodness, picking up on all those left-behind flavors. Once the vegetables have softened slightly, a bold braising liquid goes in, picking up on everything both the beef and the vegetables had to offer.
But, before we can get to the end, we must start at the beginning, and as I said before, it all begins with a proper sear.
2 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR SEARING MEAT
- To prepare the roast, you should first pat it dry with a paper towel to remove any excess water from the cut of beef. This step is essential to getting a good sear on the roast before braising, which in turn, equals flavor.
- When searing a roast, you want to be sure that your meat is not going into the Dutch oven ice-cold. For the best sear, allow your roast to sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
DON'T FORGET TO SEASON LIBERALLY
Once the excess water has been removed, season the beef liberally with your favorite seasoning. Adding the seasoning directly to meat will help to build flavor. I use my personal favorite, TAK House Seasoning. It's a mix of Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, and it's perfect for beef.
In addition to a fair amount of seasoning, we'll also coat the roast in flour before searing.
THE OIL MATTERS AND THIS IS WHY
The type of oil you use for the process of searing is important. To get a good sear on the meat you must work with medium-high to high heat. Canola oil has a high smoke point, which means that it does not quickly burn, or quite literally begin to smoke as fast as let's say, butter, which has a low smoke point. You can use an oil other than Canola, just make certain it has a smoke point of 400° or higher.
KEEPING THE VEGETABLES SIMPLE
After a nice crust has been developed from searing, the beef goes out, and the vegetables go in for a quick sauté. This is an elegant, yet simple pot roast, and calls for only onions and carrots from the vegetable department. The carrots add a subtle sweetness to an otherwise savory dish, and they're absolutely perfect coated in a thick and luscious pot roast gravy.
A GRAVY THAT REQUIRES NO REDUCTION
To achieve a thicker consistency for your pot roast gravy, adding just a little flour to the vegetables before adding in your braising liquid is key. This approach also eliminates the need for any sort of stovetop reduction after the pot roast has finished its stint in the oven.
WHY YOU SHOULD USE WINE IN YOUR BRAISING LIQUID
Earlier, we touched upon a couple of things throughout the searing process that would help us to build flavor in our pot roast. Now, we'll bring that flavor full circle with a perfect ending of red wine, beef broth, and fresh herbs. A bold red wine like merlot or cabernet sauvignon will enhance the flavor of your pot roast and take it from good to spectacular.
After you've added your braising liquid to the mix, your roast goes back in, the Dutch oven is sealed, and it will need to cook for three hours total. Half-way through the cooking process, you'll turn your roast, ensuring both sides are picking up on all of those amazing flavors.
Remember, the braise is quite likely the most important part of the whole recipe, and allowing your pot roast to cook low and slow for the right amount of time will ensure a perfectly tender pot roast every single time.
As soon as the cold winds finally start to drift into Texas, we gladly welcome them with open arms. And naturally, I begin to yearn for those hearty and warming dishes we love so much, and I don't know that there is another meal in existence that speaks more loudly to this craving than this here very pot roast.
Braised low and slow until fork-tender, smothered in a rich and savory gravy, and variegated with soft, sweet carrots. It is the epitome of comfort food. It's a recipe that requires only simple preparation, time, and a hearty appetite.
9 MORE BEEFY COMFORT FOOD RECIPES TO TRY:
- Got leftovers? Make this Hot Roast Beef Sandwich -- Po' Boy Style! Actually, even if you don't have leftovers, this recipe comes well-equipped with an easy slow-cooker roast beef recipe, fresh bakery bread, and toppings piled high! It's the perfect, hearty dinnertime sandwich.
- Roasted Beef Tenderloin is easier to make than you think. Promise. Just some freshly ground pepper, a little Kosher salt, and the right recipe is all you need. This recipe is perfect for holiday dinners and feeding a crowd.
- Easy Beef and Broccoli is a classic Chinese take-out dish you can master at home! It features quick-cooking beef coated in a sweet and savory sauce, served with fresh broccoli over rice. The perfect quick-fix for a weeknight dinner!
- Easy Homemade Hamburger Helper is another family-favorite weeknight dinner you can whip up fast! Featuring flavorful, seasoned ground beef, freshly grated Cheddar cheese, and pasta! You can count on both the kids and the husband to go crazy for this one.
- Chicken Fried Steak features perfectly fried breaded cube steaks topped with a homemade country gravy, and it's essentially Texas on a plate.
- Salisbury Steak is like having your own personal-sized meatloaf and makes for the perfect family-style, comfort food dinner.
- Spaghetti and Meatballs is every kid's favorite dinner, and this one just might be the best of them all, equipped with homemade meatballs baked in the oven and a simple marinara sauce recipe.
- For another beefy braised recipe similar to this perfect pot roast, try savory, fall-off-the-bone Braised Short Ribs served with cremini mushrooms and a red wine sauce!
- Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas are loaded with taco-seasoned ground beef, cheese, and smothered in a perfect enchilada gravy. There's no longer a need to go out for Mexican food. You can officially make it better at home.
An easy recipe for fork-tender pot roast made in the oven. The recipe features beef chuck shoulder braised in beef broth and red wine, with carrots, onions and fresh herbs.
- 4 ½ lb Beef Chuck Shoulder Roast
- 4-5 tsp TAK Seasoning (see notes below) or use your favorite beef seasoning -- enough to cover roast
- 4 tbsp All-Purpose Flour separated
- ¼ c Canola Oil
- 1 Yellow Onion quartered and thinly sliced
- 6 Carrots peeled and sliced on a ½” bias
- 2 Cloves of Garlic minced
- 1 c Dry and Bold Red Wine such as Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2 c Unsalted Beef Broth
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- 2 Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
- 3 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
Preheat oven to 325° Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Pat roast dry with a paper towel and sprinkle generously with TAK Seasoning evenly on each side and rub to adhere. Coat the roast with 2 tbsp of flour.
Place roast in Dutch oven and sear 4-6 minutes on each side. Once the entire roast has developed a golden-brown crust, remove it from the heat and set aside on a large plate.
Add the onion and carrots to the Dutch oven and sauté briefly to evenly coat with oil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and allow to cook 5 minutes, or just until barely softened. Add the garlic and sauté uncovered for an additional minute or so.
Sprinkle over 2 tbsp of flour and stir until the flour takes on a yellow tinge and the vegetables are evenly coated. Slowly whisk in the red wine, followed by the beef broth, followed by the beef broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add roast back to the Dutch oven, along with rosemary and thyme. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake for 1 ½ hours. Turn roast, return to the oven and bake for an additional 1 ½ hours. Remove from the oven, allow to cool, serve and enjoy.
To make a quick mix of TAK Seasoning combine 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon onion powder in a bowl and mix to combine!