Pot Roast: Back to Basics

girlHeather says:

Pot roasting beef is a great way to get a tender dish from a fairly tough cut of meat. Pot roast typically refers to tougher cuts of beef: chuck, rump, or brisket cooked by braising. Braising simply means a wet, slow cook. Slow cookers and Crock-Pots® work well for this type of cooking, but the oven is my favorite method. While this isn’t a meal that can be finished in a hurry, the amount of actual hands on cooking is minimal.


Remember the amounts of each ingredient will vary depending on the size of your roast, the size of your pan, and how much you enjoy vegetables and potatoes. We like our pot roast with rice or over mashed potatoes.

Basic Ingredients:

  • beef roast
  • oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic cloves – sliced
  • herbs such as – thyme, rosemary, bay leaves (your discretion)
  • vegetables – carrots, celery
  • water or beef stock


Crock-Pot ® / slow cooker adjustments will follow.

potroast1.jpgHeat a small amount of olive or vegetable oil over medium heat in a large skillet*, Dutch oven, or oven safe pot. While the oil is heating, sprinkle the meat with salt.

Sear the meat by placing it in the hot pan and allowing it to cook two or three minutes per side. If you are adding lots of other ingredients such as cream soups, this step may be unnecessary. I prefer the flavor development caused by the Maillard reaction. (This is what causes the browning of meat at higher temperatures.)

Remove the pan from heat.

Preheat the oven to 325F.

potroast3.jpgIf you are a huge garlic fan, you can take the sharp point of a knife, poke holes in the roast and insert slivers of garlic. If this seems like too much work, toss the sliced garlic on top of the roast. It is not necessary to spend a lot of time prepping your vegetables. Celery leaves provide lots of flavor, just chop the tops roughly and the stalks into lengths of a couple inches. It is not necessary to peel carrots in this recipe, just chop into reasonable lengths. If your carrots are really fat, cut them in half lengthwise. Leave the onions in fairly large chunks, so there will be something left at the end of the lengthy cooking process. Cover the roast with the vegetables. Sprinkle the vegetables with pepper and the herbs of your choice. We enjoy just a little thyme.

Add just enough stock or water to cover the bottom of the pan. The roast and vegetables will add to the liquid as they slowly cook. When the roast is done, be sure to use the liquid for gravy.

Cover the pot and place in the oven for three to three and half hours at 325F. The roast should be fork tender.

Slowcooker adjustments:

Remove the roast from the skillet and place in the crock. Add the onions and just enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pot. Cook on low for 3 – 4 hours, add the vegetables and herbs, and cook for another 1 – 2 hours. If you use potatoes, add them with the vegetables.

**Edit** Remember that slow cookers vary widely by brand and model.  You’ll need to experiment with the one you own and adjust guidelines accordingly.



  1. says

    I’ve tried to do potatoes w/pot roast in the crock pot and 1-2 hours wasn’t enough.. they were still really hard. Am I not cutting them up small enough? Should I zap them in the microwave first?

  2. says

    One of the reasons I’m not a huge fan of slow cookers is their wide variances. I would try both cutting the potatoes smaller and increasing the cook time. I should add a disclaimer.

  3. says

    I often just scrub carrots without peeling them for longer-cooking recipes, but I’ve found that when I do that with a crock pot, I sometimes get very unaesthetic grey carrots. The insides are fine, but the skins darken to a pretty gross colour. I’m not sure why that is, but just a heads-up for anyone who cares. :)

  4. says

    Just in time for lunch! That post roast looks delicious. I’ll have to pass this recipe on to my wife to see if she’ll give me permission to try and cook it! She might think it’s a little to complicated for me, but I’ll underline the SIMPLE and see what happens. thanks

  5. says

    goood job :)
    Just in time for lunch! That post roast looks delicious. I’ll have to pass this recipe on to my wife to see if she’ll give me permission to try and cook it!

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