Pot Roast 101: Picking a Roast Plus a Great Recipe!
One day I was in the meat section of the grocery store, contemplating what to buy, when a man and his daughter came up to me and asked for help. He said they were making a pot roast for his wife for Mother’s Day and he needed help picking “a good one.” I was caught a little off-guard, and wasn’t sure why he was asking me. Did he know I write for Cook’n? (Just kidding). I told him a few things I knew and helped him pick one out, but I left the whole scenario feeling inadequate and hoped I hadn’t ruined his Mother’s Day meal.
This experience prompted me to do a little more research on choosing the perfect hunk of beef for your pot roast. There is a lot of information and opinions out there when it comes to choosing the perfect roast. I will focus on three things to consider: cut, size, and appearance. There are many more things I could write about, but hopefully this will get you started.
Cut: Most of the time when cooking a pot roast, people cook it slowly in the oven or crockpot. Tough cuts of beef work better for slow cooking. Tough cuts come from the parts of the cow that were more exercised and muscular. Chuck Roast is an affordable, common cut of meat used for pot roasts. Chuck roast comes from the cow’s shoulder. Eye of Round Roasts or other round roasts are also great for pot roasts and they are cut from the rear leg of the cow. Rump Roasts make excellent pot roasts and come from the hindquarters of the cow. Some people prefer Rib Roasts, which can be very succulent and tender when cooked correctly. You may have to do some experimenting to figure out which type of roast you like best.
Size: As a rule of thumb, you will want to have half a pound of boneless meat per person. Of course, you will want to consider the ages and appetites of those you are feeding. My family of 5 people usually has more than enough meat with only a 2-pound roast.
Appearance: Beef roasts should be a deep red color, but not bright red (unless it was very recently cut). Beef that appears grayish brown is older and may have been sitting on the shelf too long. There should be bright, white marbling of fat throughout the meat. If you buy a bone-in roast, the bone should also appear bright white. A good cut of roast should also be dry to the touch and sweet smelling.
Many people recommended going to your local butcher shop instead of buying meat from the grocery store. Meat from butcher shops is often of a higher quality and fresher.
I hope this article gave you a few new things to think about when picking out your next roast. I will end by sharing with you my favorite pot roast recipe. Happy roasting!
Cristina’s Favorite Pot Roast
5 large baking potatoes, cubed
3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into segments
1 small onion, cut into chunks
2 lb beef chuck roast
½ cup bottled steak sauce (I prefer A-1)
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Directions: Spray the bottom of a slow-cooker with cooking spray. Add the cubed potatoes, and carrots, and onion chunks. Place the roast on top of the vegetables. In a small bowl, whisk together the steak sauce, water, brown sugar, yellow mustard, and lemon juice. Pour the mixture over top of the meat. Cook on low heat for 6-7 hours.
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