A Pot Roast Confession


As someone who cooks and bakes as much as I do, and as someone who writes a blog about cooking and baking, I have an embarrassing confession to make...

I can't make a good pot roast to save my life.

Growing up, Rich and I both had pot roast weekly, our moms made them perfectly: tender, juicy, cut-with-a-fork pot roast. You know, the kind that you could pull apart with your fork and dip into ketchup or gravy and it tasted like....home?

That's not at all what mine turn out as. The adjectives that come to mind when describing my pot roast are: tough, dark, rubbery, fatty, CHEWY. EVIL.


I know people who rarely cook who can whip out a better pot roast than I. And let me tell you I have tried it all! Different cuts of meat. A zillion recipes (yes, Pioneer Woman's and Martha's as well), the crockpot (which I'm not fond of anyway). I always get the same result...

Rich looking at me across the table, with his mouth full of gristly shoe leather meat with that look in his eyes that says, "Hmmmm, I thought it might be edible this time. Guess I was wrong."

His eyes meet mine and I say, with a desperate squeak in my voice, "How is it this time?"

He looks me in the eye, then quickly away, coughs a few times, drinks down a quart of liquid after he manages to get the meat down his esophugas and answers:

"Not bad." then his eyes meet mine again and we both start laughing.

"I'll give it to the dog. Let's get Mcdonalds." I can see the relief in his face.

I used to think I was getting the wrong cut of meat so I asked around to see what more successful pot roast makers advised. They were buying the same cuts, from the same store as I. Crap.

So, I chalk it up to the fact that I'm not a big red-meat lover so it doesn't love me back. But just ONCE I'd like to put a beautiful, tender pot roast on the table in front of the guys and have Rich say,

"This taste exactly like my mom's."'


"DANG that's good!"


"Did hell freeze over because you actually made an edible pot roast!?"

And I'd also like him to be able to chew it for less than 15 minutes and still swallow it.

So, if you are one of those people who can make a pot roast and make it well HELP ME! Please tell me your secrets so I can battle the one thing that should be easy to me but isn't!


Tina at Mommy's Kitchen said...

Pot roasts can be tricky. All I can say is keep trying you will get it. I only use chuck roasts when I cook a roast. I also use my slow cooker so it comes out fork tender. Here is my recipe if you want to give it a whirl again.

No Fail Crock Pot Roast

Greenville Coupon Clippers said...

I couldn't make a good pot roast either. I get a sirloin cut and use a pressure cooker of all things. I always did them in the crock, but they were never "good". Pressure cooker only takes about 40 minutes and tender every time.

Vanessa said...

I do want my friend does and she puts in the pot roast, potatoes, carrots and beef stock in the slow cooker on high and it is falling apart when we take it out. Hope this help.


Molly said...

I use a cast iron dutch oven (like a le crueset, but a cheaper macy's version. lol) I chop up a whole onion and put in there with the spices, then I add my potatoes and carrots as well. I've heard if it's tough, than it's not done (as much as our brain will say "hey, it's been in the oven a long time") so keep it in there and let it cook away. That's the only tip I have...

Quite Contrary said...

I was the same way until I tried the Pot Roast with Root Vegetables in Not Your Mother's Slowcooker Cookbook. There are several steps to do before you put it in to cook and I do like to turn it over halfway through cooking (I also add bay leaves and only do carrots and celery for the veg--but those are my only changes). It turns out perfect every time. Just like one my grandmother used to make in the oven that always turned into petrified wood for me. Now if I can just figure out my aunt's mushroom gravy....

Amy C said...

I find that the longer I let it cook at a lower temperature, the more tender it becomes.....that is why I love my slow cooker for pot roasts. I usually season with salt and pepper and then brown my pot roast on all sides in a dutch oven on the stove. I then transfer it over to my slow cooker along with any vegetables I want to cook with it, some herbs de provence, plus enough water or beef broth to cover about half of the roast. I let it cook for 8 hours, at the very least, on the lowest temperature to help break down the tough fibers in the meat. Good Luck!!

Robin L Greenslade said...

When you find a recipe that works for you ..... will you let me know? Your pot roast and mine probably sit together in the dog's stomach and laugh at us. Mine is horrid too. You are not alone. I can NOT make coffee either. Nor can I make a poached egg. But that is okay. I still love to cook. Happy Wednesday!

Julia said...

I can't make a good pot roast to save my life either. That's all :)

Melanie said...

Chuck roast, or cuts with more fat, will be more tender. Place in crock pot and COVER with water, stick of butter, salt and pepper, and a splash of red wine vinaigrette or soy sauce or Italian dressing. (Something with the salt/acid mixture to break down the meat.) You could also add chopped onion. Cook low 7-8 hrs or high 4-6 hours...if you read your crock pot or slow cooker manual it will say how long for the size of the roast. Or just serve when it falls apart. My trick is to take the roast out, slice as best you can when it's falling apart, and place on serving dish. Then pour the juice from the crock pot into a pan on the stove and make gravy with it. I shake up milk and flour to make it creamier. Or make roux...melted butter and flour (a few TBS each) and cook in a pan for a few minutes. Then whisk into meat juice. I would also say that you have to have a lot of salt. It really breaks down the meat. Pot roast tastes like cardboard without a lot of salt. You make it healthier with "Real Salt" (get it at bulkherbstore.com) or Himalayan Rock Salt. After the gravy is good and salty, pour over sliced meat. Works every time. C'mon try again. I dare ya!!! :D

Justeen said...

This might sound crazy.... but have you ever tried pouring a can of coke or beer over it? My mom use to do this....(before she re-married, and now I can't stand her pot roast LOL) and it made it so tender and delicious. I know she put the meat in, fat side up, so those juices would flavor the meat.... and then (I prefer Coke over beer) poured over.... we've done it in the crock pot, or in an oven roaster pan. It's worth a shot :) Good Luck! and If you try it with beer, at least you'll have the rest of the pack to drink if it isn't good :) lol.... but we've always found it to help tenderize the meat really well!

Qwendykay said...

I made the WORST pot roast for the first 10 years of our marriage. Then I meshed several recipes together, now I'm a pro. I rub my CHUCK ROAST in "Pappy's Seasoning", if you don't have Pappy's then seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion soup mix, and some pepper will work too. Then I cover the meat with water and cook it for 24 hours on low in the crockpot. It comes out falling apart and delish.

joanna said...

My mom made pot roast every week--with varying results, sometimes great, sometimes dry. I LOVE this Paula Deen recipe:

Paula Deen’s Pot Roast

1 4lb sirloin tip roast
6 large russet potatoes,
peeled & cut into 2" pieces
8 carrots, peeled & cut into 2" pieces
4 large onions, peeled & cut into 2" pieces
6 cloves garlic, peeled
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 (10.75 ounce) cans cream of onion soup
.75 cup water
1 tablespoon The Lady's House seasoning

Preheat oven to 450. Place roast and next 5 ingredients in a large roasting pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together soup, water and The Lady's House seasoning. Pour soup mixture over roast and veggies. cover with aluminum foil. Bake 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375. bake an additional 3 hours or until tender. Uncover the last 30-40 minutes.

It turns out great every time--and I do think the sirloin tip roast is the best (it didn't turn out so great when I tried it with a chuck roast.)

tonya said...

Ina Gartens Company Pot roast. I start with her receipe and adjust it to fit what I have on hand. I think the most important part is the cast iron lidded pot in the oven. My pot roasts before the lidded pot were nasty, dry inedible lumps.

Lauren said...

I stumbled upon your blog while desperately googling "sirloin tip roast dry rubbery mess help". And I must say, I just died of laughter. This morning I bought the most beautiful sirloin roast I have ever laid eyes upon from our local farmers market. I got home and gloated and gloated and beamed to my boyfriend about the deliciousness that would ensue when I slow cooked this glorious piece of meat.

Here we are, 7 hours later, and we have...leather. Rubber, even. Maybe slightly melted tar with ribbons of twine running through it would be a better way to describe it. A fibrous, chewy, gray mess of what was once a lovely piece of meat.

What is most perplexing is that I have cooked a delicious melts like butter roast before.

For now, we laugh, throw it to the dog and get McDonalds.

Thank you for taking the sting off of my failure with your hysterical story!