Learning how to make the perfect pot roast is not as hard as you may think. This is a family favorite that generations are sure to remember and fall in love with.
Today we’re going to be talking about pot roasts which for me go hand-in-hand with Sunday dinners.
Sunday dinner is a time for families to gather around, sharing stories and laughs, before the chaos of the week starts. Did you enjoy Sunday dinners while growing up? Do you do them now? To this day I have fond memories of the aromas wafting through the house as the pot roast was cooking.
I’m lucky enough to have experienced dinners where everyone sat around the table. While I was growing up, we always went to my grandparents’ house after church and often pot roast was on the menu. Grandma would put it in the oven before church and it smelled so good when we walked in the door. She called it “beef roast” though, never “pot roast.”
Now you’re thinking, yeah, a Sunday family dinner sounds really nice but what am I going to make that everyone will enjoy? The answer, my friends, is this perfect pot roast! Meat, potatoes, vegetables all slow cooked in one pan — it couldn’t be easier. (P.S. I have lots more ideas for you at the end of the post in case pot roast isn’t your thing!)
While there are many versions of pot roast out there, the one I always come back to is a super simple one that that is naturally flavored by the beef and vegetables cooking together, accentuated by fresh herbs. So let’s get our Dutch ovens out and cook a pot roast!
Tips and tricks for the perfect pot roast
- Always remove the ‘silver skin‘ or fat film that is on one side of the roast. Start at one end of the roast and gently pull up the skin or fat that needs to be removed. If necessary, nudge a knife towards the opposite end of the roast to remove it.
- Pre-salt the meat: Pat the pot roast with salt and garlic salt. Pre-salting brings out the flavors of the meat. Meat that is salted after cooking tastes like just that – meat that has been salted after cooking – it doesn’t bring out any of the complexities of a well-seasoned and browned roast.
- Oil the meat, not the pan. You want to rub the roast with oil directly, not heat oil in the pan. This will help to create an amazing crust when browning.
- Brown your roast: Always brown your roast before adding the other ingredients. It adds so much flavor and a nice brown crust.
- Always use tongs or a spatula to flip your meat while browning because puncturing it with a fork causes meat juices to run out. You want the juice to stay in!
- Use fresh herbs: They really complement the flavors of the meat and vegetables.
- Be patient. The perfect pot roast needs four hours in the oven, slowly roasting to perfection. If you’re looking for a quicker method to prepare pot roast, try Instant Pot pot roast. Looking for an all day (8-10 hours) recipe? Try this fantastic slow cooker Italian Pot Roast.
A pot roast is browned first and then cooked in liquid, such as broth, water, wine, etc. This process is called “braising.” It’s perfect for cheaper cuts of meat that may be tougher, like chuck roast, rump roast, short ribs, etc.
An oven roast can be called “roast beef” and is roasted dry. Good cuts for an oven roast are prime rib, sirloin tip, tenderloin or rib-eye.
It could be undercooked, overcooked, or the wrong cut of beef. You want a roast with quite a lot of fat and connective tissue, which will melt away as it roasts. Always brown it first and use plenty of liquid to braise the meat.
This is somewhat a matter of how you like the vegetables. If you put them under the roast, they will absorb all the juices from the roast and become very flavorful, but somewhat softer. If you put them alongside the roast, they will brown nicely and be a little firmer. I like to arrange the onions and garlic on top of the roast so they flavor the roast.
Storage and Reheating Tips
Lucky you if you have any roast left over! It can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. The roast can be frozen, too, although I would advise against freezing the potatoes. They tend to get mushy.
While the roast is good served cold (there’s nothing like a roast beef sandwich with grainy mustard), you can reheat the roast easily too. Gently microwave one serving at a time. It can be reheated in the oven, too, at 325°F for 10 minutes or until heated through. If it seems dry, sprinkle a little extra broth over it.
Let’s make this roast! And I’d love to know, do you have Sunday family dinners? What are some of your favorites?
More Sunday Dinners
Pot roast isn’t the only Sunday dinner! Try:
- Homemade Spaghetti Sauce – what’s more classic than spaghetti sauce simmering all day on the stove?
- Chicken Cacciatore – easy recipe
- Roasted Chicken – with potatoes and vegetables
- Steak Sheet Pan Dinner – this one doesn’t take all day to make and it only makes one pan dirty!
- Instant Pot Pork Loin Roast – turns out juicy and perfect every time.
- Braised Lamb Shanks
- Slow Cooker Ribs – fall off the bone!
- Slow Cooker Pork Tacos – you’ll have plenty left over for easy weekday meals!
- Instant Pot Short Ribs & Mashed Potatoes (at the same time!)
- 4 pound chuck roast
- 1 tablespoon salt, plus a little more for seasoning the vegetables
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for cooking the onion
- 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 6-8 carrots, cut into 1 -inch chunks
- 2 parsnips, cut into 1 -inch chunks
- 4 medium sized potatoes, cut into quarters
- 3 cups beef broth (use low sodium or unsalted)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Remove silver skin on the roast: start at one end of the roast, poke a fork into the silver skin and then pick it up in your fingers in a pinching motion and cut underneath it to remove it, while pushing the blade of your knife away from you towards the other end of the meat.
- In a small bowl, mix the salt, garlic salt, and paprika. Using your hands, pat the salt mixture on the roast. If your entire roast isn’t covered, add a little more salt. Next spoon the olive oil over the salted roast and pat it on so that the whole roast is covered in olive oil.
- Place oiled/salted roast into a Dutch oven and sear it over high heat until it is brown on all sides (about 5 minutes). To brown the meat, simply let it sit for a few minutes on each side, don’t constantly flip it. Only use tongs or a spatula to flip your meat, don’t poke it with a fork.
- Remove browned roast from the Dutch oven and let it rest on a plate. In the now empty Dutch oven, add a dash of oil, and add the onion. Cook until the onions start to become translucent, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes) then add the garlic and stir, and then add the carrots, parsnips, and potatoes and a few dashes of salt. Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables start to brown a little (about 5 minutes).
- Gently push the vegetables to the sides of the Dutch oven and nestle the roast in the middle. Pour beef broth over the meat and vegetables and place rosemary and thyme on top. Cover with a lid and cook on medium-low for 4 hours, or until the meat falls apart when touched with a fork.
- To serve, remove a few vegetables from the pot and desired amount of meat. I just leave the herb stalks in the pot until I’m done serving, then I remove them. Enjoy!
- Nutrition information is based on a 4 lb. roast with vegetables.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.