Classic Pot Roast recipe old school style. It may not be a slow cooker recipe, but it’s still an easy pot roast recipe that results in the best flavor and the most tender meat.
I’m sure like most of you, the pandemic has our daily life upside down and sideways, so you’re probably thinking this is definitely going to cut into your Tiger King viewing time. I’m not going to lie, it most definitely will—but remember this is an easy pot roast recipe, so just queue up your favorite Spotify playlist and get to work.
Think of this way, this recipe feeds an army, so make this on Saturday and you’ll have left overs through the weekend. And if your boys are anything like mine and object to repeat meals, they have options. Ladle this over a rotation of rice, creamy polenta or egg noodles—see, totally not the same. If you still run into resistance, let them make their own PB&J sandwiches and blend the pot roast for a protein shake and tell them no one leaves the table until plates are cleared and glasses are emptied.
Or if you are feeling kind, freeze half of it and save it for another day that you have dinner duties. Alternately, you can halve the recipe if your freezer is full and your kids don’t like PB&J sandwiches.
Now that we have all that out of the way, let’s get down to the details.
- Method: Yes, I’ve gone pretty old school on this recipe and bypassed the slow cooker. Trust me when I tell you it’s worth the extra effort to do the same. This recipe tested with the slow cooker came up short on flavor and the meat wasn’t nearly as tender. It was almost like I was working with two different recipes. Sure it’s easier, but easier isn’t always better—and it is especially true of pot roast.
- Meat: Chuck roast is the way the way to go. The longer you cook it the more tender it becomes and the more flavorful it becomes. But during this quarantine time, if you can’t find chuck roast, bottom round roast will work. As a side note, my 13-year old actually prefers the latter for the texture since it’s still tender but doesn’t fall apart so easily and he says it tastes “closer to steak.”
- Aromatics: Don’t skip sautéing the onions, celery, and carrots. Like most soups, stews and braises of any sorts, this is a crucial step for flavoring. The fancy term for it is mirepoix. For this recipe, or any recipe that starts with a mirepoix, make sure to utilize the celery leaves. Most people discard them, but they pack a lot of flavor you don’t want to trash. That may go against the classic idea of mirepoix, but this is cooking, not science, so do what tastes best to you.
- Cook time: It’s a guide. The pot roast is ready when the meat is soft, tender and easily falls apart. Depending on how thick your roast is and the shape of your roast, some parts may become more tender and fall apart before another. The takeaway here is, try to buy one that is most uniform in shape and cook it longer if needed. Contrary to other methods of meat cooking and cuts of meat, slow roasting a chuck roast benefits from a long cook time and is nearly impossible to cook too long. In fact, if the meat is tough, most likely it just needs to be cooked longer. It’s not that the meat is under cooked, it just needs more time to tenderize.
This is one of those meals (like most soups) that tastes better the next day. I don’t know the science behind why that is. I just know that this taste 10x better once it sits overnight.
This recipe seems labor intensive, but it’s not hard to do – it’s an easy pot roast recipe to pull off. Yes, it’s a few more steps than throwing it all in a slow cooker, but the payoff is there, so plan a weekend day to make this and you’re set for a few days.