This is how to make a deliciously tender and juicy pot roast in the oven with a seared crust for the perfect celebratory meal to share with friends and family.
A pot roast is always an impressive and centerpiece-worthy dish. With juicy tender meat that packs deep, roasted flavor and a buttery texture, it’s never a bad time to prepare a pot roast for dinner, whether it’s a holiday or a regular Tuesday night.
How do you make the perfect pot roast? First, season the roast with salt and pepper, sear it in a hot pan for 10 minutes to build a caramelized crust, prepare a flavorful cooking liquid, place the meat and vegetables inside a large oven-safe pot, and braise the meat in the oven for 3 hours at 350°F. The roast will be incredibly tender and flavorful and ready to serve!
Is It Better To Roast Pot Roast at High Or Low Heat?
If you want to cook the perfect pot roast, the key is actually to cook it with both high and low heat. You’ll start by earning the outside of the roast over high heat. This is necessary to build a deep umami flavor in your roast. It also adds a beautifully crisp outer crust. Then, you’ll braise the meat slowly over several hours at low heat in the oven. This second period of cooking helps soften up the inside of the roast and cooks it all the way through. As a result, your perfect pot roast has a beautifully seared crust all over the outside and an interior that is butter, moist and easy to slice through.
What Are The Best Cuts Of Meat For A Pot Roast?
The term “pot roast” refers to how the meat is cooked, rather than a specific cut of meat. This means that you can use almost any large cut of meat from the “working parts” of an animal. These include the shoulder, rump and butt. However, the most common variety of meat used to make the perfect pot roast is beef. Then, you can choose any of the larger, tougher cuts of beef that come from the working muscles. For example, chuck steak, bottom round, and short ribs all work well for this pot roast recipe. Smaller pieces of meat, such as short ribs, however, may need less time than larger cuts, such as a whole bottom round.
The reason these tougher cuts of meat are preferred for pot roasting is that when the meat is cooked for a long time at low temperatures in a moist environment, the tough, fibrous connective tissues (collagen and elastin) break down and turn into gelatin. This gelatin in turn works to moisten and tenderize the meat. As a result, the perfect pot roast is easy to slice through like butter.
Here are the three most common cuts of beef used to make pot roast:
This large, tough cut of meat comes from the shoulder area of the cow, a muscle area heavily used by the animal. Therefore, this is an especially tough cut that benefits from the low-and-slow process of pot roast cooking. It also goes by shoulder steak, chuck shoulder roast, or beef chuck arm.
Round roast consists of meat from the upper part of the back legs of the cow. It may also be called a rump roast. This is the least fatty of the three top choices for pot roasting, which makes it less flavorful than the other two. However, you can make up for this lack of fat by enriching your dish with butter or seasonings!
Brisket is a cut of meat consisting of meat from the cow’s chest area. This is another cut that benefits from a long, slow cooking process. And when it is properly cooked, the meat becomes so tender it can fall apart and be shredded like pulled pork.
How to cook the perfect pot roast
Once you have found the right cut of beef for your pot roast, it’s time to get into the kitchen and start cooking!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make the perfect pot roast for dinner tonight:
3 pounds of beef (chuck roast, round roast or brisket all work)
6 cloves of minced garlic
2 white onions
1 pound of baby carrots
1 pound of potatoes
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 cups of beef broth
2 cups of red wine (2 more cups of beef broth works too)
¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
Prepping The Pot Roast
It’s time to get started! Pull out all your ingredients, a chef’s knife, a cutting board, and an oven-safe braising dish.
Step 1: Get the vegetables ready
Before you begin, make sure you wash your vegetables and cut them properly. Cut the potatoes, onions and carrots into even-sized chunks. You do not want the vegetable pieces to be too small, or they will disintegrate over the three-hour braising process. However, you can mince the garlic very small so the flavors infuse into the cooking liquid.
Step 2: Season the meat
Next, use salt and pepper to season your roast beef on all sides. You can, and probably will, season the dish at the end before serving as well, but don’t be shy with the seasoning at this stage. The salt will also help draw moisture out of the meat for a better, more even, sear on the outside.
Cooking The Pot Roast
Once you’ve finished the prep work, move on to searing the roast.
Step 1: Preheat the oven
Preheat your oven to 350°F (Or 175°C). While you wait, heat the cooking pot, preferably a Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and wait until it shimmers.
Step 2: Sear the meat
When the oil is hot, carefully put the roast beef in the pot and sear it on each side. It takes 3 to 4 minutes on each side to brown well. It should take you 10 minutes at most. Use tongs to turn the meat in the pot.
Step 3: Remove the meat and make the broth
Next, remove the meat from the pot to a plate. Then use the empty pot to saute the garlic for 60 seconds, until fragrant.
Then add both the beef broth and the wine to the pot, and stir to combine. If you don’t have broth or wine, you can use water as a substitute. You can also substitute wine altogether with an equal amount of broth.
Step 4: Place everything together
Add the Worcestershire sauce, along with the chopped potatoes, onions, and carrots to the pot. Then place the meat on top of the vegetables. The liquid should come at least halfway up the sides of the roast. If not, add more beef broth. Finally, add the rosemary sprig on top.
Step 5: Put the pot roast in the oven
Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven. Braise the meat for 3 hours. Then remove the pot from the oven and use a fork to test the meat. If the fork meets no resistance, it is cooked. Another way to test if your pot roast is fully cooked is with an instant-read thermometer. According to FoodSaftey.Gov, your pot roast is ready to enjoy when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
When you reach that point, it’s ready to serve! Remove the meat from the pot and slice it. If you have a lot of liquid left, you can reduce it into a flavorful sauce by simmering on the stove.
This juicy pot roast is full of flavor. And the carrots, onions, and potatoes help make this recipe into a complete meal all in one pot.
How Do You Make Pot Roast Tender?
If you’re trying to make a lean cut more tender than usual, use braising techniques. Simply put, have more than enough liquid to cover the meat while you slowly cook it. Use enough broth and sauce for this.
Other than that, make sure you don’t rush your way through cooking the pot roast. The more time you take to cook it, the more tender and flavorful the meat will become.
Should A Pot Roast Be Covered While Cooking?
There is more than one way to cook a pot roast. You can use an oven, a slow cooker, or a pressure cooker, for example. However, all of these methods have one thing in common: you should always cover your pot roast while it cooks.
Covering the pot roast allows everything to steam together. That will help the meat be more tender and more flavorful.
The perfect pot roast is cooked slow, at low heat, and covered.
Perfect Pot Roast
- Braising pot
- Cutting board
- Chef's knife
- 3 pounds of beef chuck roast, round roast or brisket all work
- 6 cloves of minced garlic
- 2 white onions chopped
- 1 pound baby carrots chopped
- 1 pound potatoes chopped
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 cups red wine 2 more cups of beef broth works too
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- Season the meat all over with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Heat a large oven-safe braising dish over medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, carefully put the roast beef in the pot and sear it on each side. It takes 3 to 4 minutes on each side to brown well. It should take you 10 minutes at most. Use tongs to turn the meat in the pot.
- Remove the meat from the pot to a plate. Then use the empty pot to saute the garlic for 60 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add both the beef broth and the wine to the pot, and stir to combine. Add the Worcestershire sauce, along with the chopped potatoes, onions, and carrots to the pot. Then place the meat on top of the vegetables. The liquid should come at least halfway up the sides of the roast. If not, add more beef broth. Finally, add the rosemary sprig on top.
- Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven. Braise the meat for 3 hours. Then remove the pot from the oven and use a fork to test the meat. If the fork meets no resistance, it is cooked.