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Thread: I need help with pot roasts and beef roasts in general.

  1. #1

    Red face I need help with pot roasts and beef roasts in general.

    While the rest of America is probably trying to cut back on beef, I am actually beginning to cook MORE of it. I have little or no experience with anything beyond ground beef and flank steak. I have been eating meat again since about 1997 after not eating for 7 years and one of the last frontiers for me is beef. Even when I did eat meat, I didn't cook much beef. Now I'd like to learn how - I like it just okay, but my DH and boys love it.

    Anyway, I did a crockpot recipe tonight and I am confused. I was hoping to make a pot roast. Pot roast as I remember it is falling apart tender, you can pretty much flake it with a fork. What I ended up with tonight is more like what I'd call roast beef, something you'd slice, not flake.

    I'm so clueless that when my recipe called for rump roast or a chuck roast, I had no idea what to look for in the store. The butcher pointed me toward a chuck roast (looked more like a steak to me) and a bottom round. I chose the bottom round.

    I cooked it in the crockpot with a bottle of beer, about a half can of consumme and various other ingredients. I used a thermometer and stopped cooking it when the temp reached 160 or 165. Was this too long? It was still a bit pink. It cooked for about 3 1/2 hours on low, I think.

    Is what I'm imagining in my head NOT pot roast (tender, almost a pulled look to it)? Or is what's in my head a pot roast made from a specific cut of meat? I'm thinking of something like Bob Evans' pot roast sandwich, but that's definitely not what I got. How do I achieve this kind of pot roast?

    What I need is a step-by-step tutorial - from what kind of meat cut to buy (putting "pot roast" as an ingredient does not help me because the stores don't label any of their cuts by this term), to how and how long to cook it, to how I can tell when it's done.

    I appreciate any help. I'd really like to learn. I did some searches online, but none of it was specific enough. I need instructions that assume extreme cluelessness!!! You know, pot roast for dummies.

    Meanwhile, I'll keep hunting for tips in my cookbooks and online. Thank you!!!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Probably everyone has their own way of cooking pot roast. To get it to "flake" - my favorite way too- it needs to cook long and very slowly. Here is what I do. I use an English roast, similar to chuck roast but leaner. They do look like big steaks about 2 -3 inches thick. I brown each side well in an iron skillet, then add about 1/2-1 inch of water, turn to lowewt heat, cover tightly and cook about 2 1/2 hrs. Some folks cook in a 325 oven instead of on the stove top. You can add halfed red potatoes, carrots cut in big chunks and quartered onions about half way thru. Watch to be sure there is a little water in the pan so it doesn't cook dry. Cook until very tender. Remove the meat and veggies and make fabulous gravy. I trim the meat well before cooking and drain off most of the fat before making the gravy. Ahh , comfort food at its finest.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    Alysha, I don't know how much help I will be, because I don't really cook much in terms of roasts either, but I am actually making a pot roast right now!

    This is the recipe I used. I went to the meat counter at Whole Foods and told them I was making a pot roast. They directed me towards the chuck roasts (sort of a loaf-shaped roast) but they were all too big for just DH and me. What I ended up getting was labeled Beef Chuck Short Ribs, but it is a boneless cut of meat, which I don't really understand, but that's what I got

    Anyway, here is the recipe I am making. I guess I'll have to tell you later how it turned out. This one sounds like a roast that you slice, as in the description it talks about testing for doneness by slicing it and testing it.

    This is from the new version of Joy of Cooking, pg. 667-668 if you have this book.

    Beef Pot Roast (basic recipe)

    As with other moist, slowly cooked meats, leftover pot roast tastes superb. The best method for rewarming is to heat slices of meat gently in the sauce with additional stock, wine, or water on the stove or in a microwave.

    Pat dry:

    1 beef chuck or rump roast (3-5 lb), neatly tied if boneless.

    Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

    Heat in a heavy Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat

    2-3 tbsp vegetable oil, rendered beef fat or lard

    Add the roast and brown on all sides, about 15-20 min. Maintain the heat so that the meat sizzles but does not burn. Remove the meat to a plate. Pour off all but 2 tbsp of fat from teh pan and heat over medium high heat. Add:

    1/2 C each finely chopped celery, carrot and onion.

    Cook vegetables stirring occasionally just until they begin to color, about 5 min. Add

    1 C beef or chicken stock, dry red wine or water

    bring to a boil, add 1 bay leaf and 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme.

    Return roast to the pan and cover. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cook the roast slowly so that the liquid just barely simmers. Turn the roast every 30 min or so. Flat roasts will take about 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours; round or oblong roasts may take as long as 4 hours. Make sure there is always some liquid in the pot and add more as needed. When meat is tender, remove the roast to a platter and cover with foil. Skim off any fat from the sruface of the liquid. Strain the liquid. To thicken the sauce slightly, bring liquid to a boil. For each cup liquid, stir together and whisk in:

    1 tbsp all purpose flour and
    1 tbsp butter, softened.

    Simmer, stirring constantly until thickened. Serve with potato pancakes, egg noodles or boiled new potatoes.
    “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed
    door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

    Helen Keller (1880–1968)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Lenexa, KS
    Alysha -

    I am also baffled by cuts of meat. I have a Betty Crocker slow cooker cook book, and it calls for either a boneless chuck or a a bottom round roast for their pot roast recipes, so I don't think you used the wrong cut of meat.

    My best guess is that you didn't cook it long enough. Using a slow cooker, my post roast recipes (according to a couple of cookbooks) take 8 - 10 hours on low heat. I usually cook 1 hour on high to start, then cook about 7 hours on low. Its the long, slow cooking time that makes the meat fork tender. I don't depend at all on the internal temperature (after cooking for this long, I'm sure its "done") - I rely more on the tenderness of the meat when using a slow cooker.

    I was also a bit confused the first time I shopped for a chuck roast. It does look like a big steak! This is usually my choice for recipes that call for cut up meat. It allows me to trim most of the fat (and there's quite a bit), but this cut of meat seems to be more tender than rump roast or bottom round.

    Here are a couple of links that you might find helpful.

    Pics of meat cuts

    Beef brochure

    Hope this helps!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Right where I want to be
    I always use chuck roast when making pot roast. I season with salt and pepper, then sear in a hot skillet. I cook mine in my Pampered Chef stoneware 9 x 13 pan with the stoneware lid. I usually cook at about 325 for several hours--depends on whether I'm making one or two. Even though there are only two of us who regularly eat at home, I like to make extra and freeze it. It can be shredded (just like you're picturing) to make awesome Mexican food. This is one of those "I'm home all day cleaning anyway, might as well make a pot roast" things. I used to make them in the crockpot,but really wasn't as happy with the final result.

    I know it's done when I put a fork in and twist, and the meat falls apart. I would guess at LEAST 8 hours in the crockpot.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Baja Manitoba
    Alysha, it sounds like maybe you didn't cook your roast long enough - when I do pot roast in the slow cooker, I always do it for at least 6 hours on low (for about a 3-lb roast). I wouldn't worry about temperature because you're doing a pot roast, not a roast. My favorite cut of beef for pot roast is an English roast (in Canada, it's called cross-rib roast) - it may have a different name in your part of the country.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Lowell, MA
    Alysha - no advice for you on pot roasts (that's one of my Waterloos) but I did want to mention that CL did a great article on beef last year which I believe was in the June, 2002 (or was it 2003? I think it was 2002) issue. I'm at work so I can't check but I will tonight and if it was a different issue I'll post back. It was very informative in terms of demystifying the different cuts of meat and what purpose each is best for.

    When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say “I used everything you gave me.”

    Erma Bombeck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    I am of no help but wanted to thank Holly for the two sites! I have bookmarked them. Good luck Alysha, I am learning from this thread also.
    "There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

  9. #9
    I'm 90% sure your problem is due to the cut of meat. Every time I use round steak -- especially eye of round or top round -- in the crockpot, I get the same results as you did. Try it again with a chuck roast or a rump roast. Chuck and rump roasts always come out fall apart tender in the crockpot

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Alysha, I agree with cookin4love and Clara. Really, a chuck roast is the best for pot roast because of the fat that is marbled throughout the roast. I use this cut for stew, Italian beef, and soup. I used to buy a round bone pot roast, but I haven't seen this cut for years, and it was so good.


    Also, the jab and twist with a fork is what I do to see if it is done.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    I grew up on pot roast. My dad was a big meat, potato, bread kind of man and so that is what we ate nearly every night. Needless to say, I love our pot roast recipe. It is very traditional, as a child I used to pull the strings of meat off and dip in ketchup Now I just savor the flavor of the beef with the potatoes, carrots, gravy and a good bread. Anyway, here is my mom's recipe:

    One Chuck, Arm, English, or Rump roast (we used to raise our own cows, so we had a variety of roasts, they all turn out about the same, some a little drier than others, but all will work)
    1 pkg Lipton onion mushroom soup mix
    enough water to cover up 1/2 to 2/3 of the roast
    enough potatoes for your family(optional)
    one onion
    enough carrots for your family(optional)
    head of cabbage (optional)

    Put the roast in a large roasting pan. Add enough water to cover at least half way. The water will rise a bit when you add the potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle the onion mushroom soup mix over all. Quarter the onion and place in the water around the roast. Cover and bake in the oven at 300* for several hours. My mom would usually use a pretty big roast, and put it in the oven around noon for a 5:00 or 6:00 dinner. If you need it to cook slower, lower the temp to 250 for a few hours and then up to 350 for the last couple of hours. NOTE: OUR ROAST CAME STRAIGHT FROM THE DEEP FREEZER; NO NEED TO THAW FIRST. In fact, when I buy a roast from the store, I freeze it first This way, it cooks really slow. About an hour or two before dinner, add your halved potatoes, peeled carrots, and any other root veggies you want. About 1/2 hour to 1 hour before serving, my mom would sometimes add a head of cabbage quartered. The roasting pan is quite full by this time. Anyway, hope you understand all of this. I don't really have a proper recipe for it, but it is pretty easy and turns out wonderful each time. Let me know if you have any questions.

    On the side: We would save all of the broth and the rest of the shredded meat for Beef and Noodles. Bring the broth to a simmer, add Reames Egg Noodles, frozen, to the broth, along with the shredded meat and a teaspoon or so of beef broth base. My mom would serve this over mashed potatoes. One of my husbands favorite meals now

    Another variation, to make for a thicker gravy is to add a can of cream of mushroom soup to the frozen roast and water before you start cooking it.

  12. #12
    I don't have time to read the responses this morning, but I wanted to pop in and thank you all for your help. It looks like I'm not the only one who could use some help.

    I welcome any other responses - the more information, the better.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    I, personally, do not care that much for pot roast; but this is a recipe that I make occasionally for DH. It has always been successful for me and I normally buy whatever cut of beef is on sale; but I'm thinking probably a pretty good cut (not that I know that much about beef).


    1 beef roast, large enough to fit in your crockpot
    1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
    1 pkg. brown gravy mix
    1 pkg. Italian dressing mix
    1/2 C. warm water

    Place roast in crockpot. Mix all three envelopes and
    sprinkle on top of roast. Pour water in the bottom of the
    crockpot. Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours.

    Note: Can use half of seasoning packages without
    jeopardizing the taste. Also you can add more water at
    end for more gravy

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Everett, WA
    Here's our fav pot roast recipe, developed by a friend of mine many years ago, stolen by me at about the same time.

    David's Old World Pot Roast

    1 chuck roast (pick the size that works best for your family)

    4 cups of water (for a 3-4lb roast)
    4 beef boullion cubes
    1 yellow onion, quartered
    2 T W'stershire
    2 T yellow mustard
    1 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp dried thyme
    1/2 C brown sugar
    1/2 C white vinegar
    1/2 C red wine
    Note that there is no salt at this point

    meat tenderizer
    2-3 potatoes, in chunks
    small bag baby carrots, in chunks (or regular carrots, in smallish chunks)

    I don't usually sear the meat, but feel free to knock yerself out. But do rub the meat with all the dry seasonings and meat tenderizer (just sprinkle these on--don't use the same amounts as in the marinade). Put roast in your crockpot (I spray mine liberally with Pam first) and add onion. Pour 2 cups of the water in, and put the other 2 into a large measuring cup or bowl. Add all the marinade ingredients to the remaining 2 cups of water (I also add a little more meat tenderizer to the liquid, just fer grins). Pour this mixture over the roast, put the lid on, and cook on low for 3 hours.

    At the end of the 3 hours, put your carrots in a strainer or collander and rinse them. Shake off excess water, and then sprinkle them with the amount of salt you'd think the carrots would need if you were cooking them by themselves. Add these to the crockpot, and then do the same for the potatoes. Because of the boullion cubes, that's all the salt you'll need.

    Cook for another 2-3 hours, or until the meat falls apart.

    This is a wonderful marinade...I know someone who made the roast one day, then saved the leftover marinade and made another roast in it the next day. Darn tasty!
    Just another Susan

    "Peggy, here I am tryin' to contain an outbreak, and you're drivin' the monkey to the airport!" Hank Hill

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Renton, WA
    I'm getting to the point where I use more chuck roast than any other cut of beef, unless it's flank or ground beef. Chuck is so versatile! I found a sale two weeks ago and I bought 3 5-pounders. I cut them into 6 each 2.5 roasts and did the FoodSaver thing on them so they'll keep. When I made my Beef, Mushroom & Barley Soup last week I put a chuck roast in the pressure cooker for 40 minutes and then chunked it up into my soup! Chuck is marbled enough to be flavorful and tender and has the benefit of being value priced! You really do have to be careful about the one you choose though. I have seen leaner roasts and I've seen some that a 3 lb roast might yield 1 lb of meat there was so much fat.

    I agree with the others that you didn't cook it long enough. You don't really need a meat thermometer in a crockpot. Your fork will tell you when its done! a 3 lb roast should take 8-10 hours on low. Resist the temptation to cook it on high when you're short of doesn't work!
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    South Lake Tahoe, CA
    I agree with the advice offered. By way of background, I don't have a slow cooker, but have cooked many pot roasts on top of the stove or in the oven. My thoughts--

    1. Like others who have responded, I find the easiest meat to get to the super-tender stage you describe is chuck. Round can be used (and is much lower in fat) but it will invariably have more of an oven roast texture.

    2. If cooking conventionally, be sure to cook at a low heat. High heat will toughen this type of meat.

    3. The chapter "Meat" in the current Joy of Cooking has very good discussions on beef (p. 646-47), braising (p. 640) and pot roasts (p. 667), as well as a diagram of the major cuts of beef (p. 647). If you don't own this book, your local library probably has it. Older editions have good information also as do other basic cookbooks.

    5. You may notice something interesting when you look at this or any diagram of major cuts of beef. The cuts of beef that had the LEAST amount of exercise when the animal was alive are the tenderest. (Think rib roast, tenderloin and various steaks.) Cuts from the legs (chuck and round) come from parts of the animal that got more exercise, and thereby profit by long, slow cooking or by grinding up into ground round or whatever.

    6. Don't worry about making too much for your family, as pot roast freezes and reheats very well. Just one caution -- if you add vegetables, add only enough potatoes for the food you'll serve before freezing as this vegetable becomes mealy when frozen.

    Good luck to you. You'll soon get the hang of it!

  17. #17
    I have a slow cooker but I prefer to put my pot roast in the oven @ 325. I also do not brown it first,and also use Lipton Onion Soup mix. I sprinkle it on, add carrots, onion and potatoes. I add the potatoes about an hour after I put it in and continue to cook. I also love it falling apart with catsup. Makes me hungry.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Bellaire, Texas (Houston)

    two suggestions

    There was a thread for Merlot Pot Roast I have cooked it several times and it is the type of roast that you talked about. You can use the search engine to find the thread.

    As far as meat is concerned what ever grocery store you shop at talk to your butcher and get t j=know them. let them know how you plan to prepare the meat or what you want and let them pick it out for you. A good butcher will take good care of you.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Maizey, I've used that recipe that you posted and it is very good. I did use red wine instead of the water, added shrooms later and didn't use all of the seasonings. Too much sodium.


  20. #20
    Here is a recipe from Cuisine at Home:

    Spoon-Tender Pot Roast
    (Makes 4 Servings)
    Work Time: 20 Minutes
    Cook Time: 2 Hours, 20 Minutes

    1 (2 1/23 lb.) center cut chuck pot roast, untrimmed

    Sear in:
    3 T. olive oil

    Remove Roast; Add:
    2 cups onion, diced small
    1 cup celery, diced small
    1 cup carrot, diced small
    6 cloves garlic, peeled

    Add and Reduce:
    1 cup dry red wine

    Sprinkle in:
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour

    Add, Simmer, Place in Oven:
    2 cups beef broth
    1 cup warm water
    2 T. tomato paste
    2 T. Dijon mustard
    2 bay leaves
    3 sprigs fresh thyme

    Strain Sauce; Add and Cook:
    1 cup baby carrots, scrubbed
    1 cup parsnip, diced large
    1 cup pearl onions, peeled

    1 cup button mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed

    Garnish with:
    Fresh thyme sprigs

    Serve with:
    Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

    1 Preheat oven to 275. Pat roast dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in pan over high heat. Sear roast on both sides until well browned, about 7 minutes total.

    2 Remove roast from pan and set aside. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook until onions brown, about 10 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spoon to loosen bits of meat.

    3 Add wine, scraping the bottom of the pan again to loosen any bits of browned vegetables. Reduce until wine has almost cooked away, about 5 minutes.

    4 Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring constantly, about a minute, to coat the vegetables well. The flour will give thickness to the sauce during braising.

    5 Add beef broth, water, tomato paste, mustard, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

    6 Return roast and its juices to pan, cover tightly, and place in oven. After 10 min., check for simmer; adjust heat if needed. Prepare second batch of vegetables while the roast braises.

    7 Optional: After braising an hour, you can strain the sauce for smoothness. This is a texture thing and doesnt affect the quality of the sauce. The mirepoix has basically maxed out.

    8 Add carrots, parsnips, and pearl onions to the pan; bring sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat. Place meat back in the pan. Cover, return to oven, and cook 50 minutes more.

    9 Add the mushrooms, stirring to coat them in sauce. Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes (add mushrooms last so theyll be tender, not overcooked).

    10 The pot roast is done when a spoon breaks the meat apart easily. Serve portions of roast with sauce, vegetables, and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Falls Church, VA

    No real recipes, but I thought I would chime in with some info on what is going on when you braise (stewing, a moist, long cooking, falls under the umbrella of braising). You are actually melting some of the connective tissues that hold the meat together...those tissues are what make so-called "braising cuts" such as chucks or short ribs so tough until you braise them. And it is not just about hitting a certain temperature; you have to hold it there long enough for the connective tissues to melt. You can generally see the kind of tissue I am talking about in a chuck roast if you cut it up...there is an almost-bony purply-pearlescent vein that runs through the cut. This is a big chunk of connective tissue. There are smaller, less visable ones throughout the meat.

    I find that all braised meat dishes go through several stages. First, the meat is squishy, because although it has been browned, it has not cooked through yet. Then, the meat will get very hard, almost. The fibers have shortened through cooking, but are still bound up with the aforementioned connective tissue. A lot of people stop at this hard phase, and have really, really chewy pot roast or stew. Don't be like them ; ). Then, the meat will slowly re-relax, as the connective tissue is broken down. I find that the optimal point is when you can easily plunge a dinner fork into the roast, and then pull it out again without the roast lifting off the bottom of the pot at all (this sounds odd...someone chime in if they know what I mean and can say it better). At this stage, the pot roast is done. You will be able to slice it and have flakes of tender meat, but the slices will stay pretty much intact...although not like a roast. Totally different texture.

    You can keep cooking, and the meat will totally fall appart. This is great for chili, but I think that this would constitue "overbraising" in the minds of the techinque police.

    It took me a winter of braising for fun and enjoyment to get really good at this technique. On one hand, it is a really homey way to cook. But each cut is a little different, so there is a lot of eyeballing and going on feel. Bones, size...these all change cooking times. But pot roast is within your grasp. Just keep cooking the darn roast, and forget the thermometer.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2000

    Re: I need help with pot roasts and beef roasts in general.

    Originally posted by lindrusso
    I'm so clueless that when my recipe called for rump roast or a chuck roast, I had no idea what to look for in the store. The butcher pointed me toward a chuck roast (looked more like a steak to me) and a bottom round. I chose the bottom round.

    Is what I'm imagining in my head NOT pot roast (tender, almost a pulled look to it)? Or is what's in my head a pot roast made from a specific cut of meat? I'm thinking of something like Bob Evans' pot roast sandwich, but that's definitely not what I got. How do I achieve this kind of pot roast?

    What I need is a step-by-step tutorial - from what kind of meat cut to buy (putting "pot roast" as an ingredient does not help me because the stores don't label any of their cuts by this term), to how and how long to cook it, to how I can tell when it's done.

    Bottom round is a fine choice for pot roast it just happens to be a leaner cut than chuck so it would take at least 6-8 hours on low in a crockpot (3-4 hours in a Dutch oven, sotvetop or oven @ 325).
    This site is great for learning about different cuts and the best way to cook them. You can also go to Beef...It's Whats for Dinner! for more information!

    Pot roast is one of those things that I just usually throw together. First I saut the onion and garlic. I do dredge the meat in seasoned flour and brown in a bit of oil (bacon grease is best but I rarely have any anymore). Then a can of beef broth, carrots, celery, thyme, bay leaf and a glass of red wine. In the oven by 1:00 and dinner at 6:00. Pot roast is allowed to sit just like any other meatthen I remove it and keep warm on a covered platter to pure the liquids & veggies and adjust the seasonings.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    The cuts of meat behave differently depending on the amount of connective tissue as was said and also the amount of fat. A chuck or English are richer tasting because they have more marbeling ( fat) and the round roasts are smoother because they have relatively little in grain fat. Choose the meat type for the texture you want. One more point about chuck and English types, cut the cooked meat across the grain when slicing or it will all fall apart.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    SW Ohio
    It can be shredded (just like you're picturing) to make awesome Mexican food.

    Your comment about Mexcian food made me think-- I too love pot roast and find it to be serious comfort food, but my husband really does not like it. So I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions of spices or particular veggies to roast it with to give it a kick. If it was spicy and Mexican-tasting, rather than good old fashioned English pot roast, maybe I could get him to appreciate it more.

    PS I agree with everyone else--it needs to be cooked very slowly.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Originally posted by ljt2r
    Your comment about Mexcian food made me think-- I too love pot roast and find it to be serious comfort food, but my husband really does not like it. So I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions of spices or particular veggies to roast it with to give it a kick. If it was spicy and Mexican-tasting, rather than good old fashioned English pot roast, maybe I could get him to appreciate it more.
    This is a 2 day jprocess but the end result is excellent!


    (Serves 16-20)

    8# top sirloin roast (I have used cheaper cuts since it cooks so long nothing is tough)
    2 cloves garlic
    2 bay leaves
    1 tbs black peppercorns
    5 or 6 dried red chiles or 2 tbs crushed, dried red chiles
    1 16oz can tomatoes
    1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    sal and pepper to taste
    8oz Italian dressing ( or 6oz. xtra-virgin olive oil, 2oz vinegar, salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp dried oregano and 12 tsp dried basil)
    1 1/2 cups chopped green chiles (or 3 cans chopped green chiles)
    1/2 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 1/2 inch squares
    2 avocados, peeled and sliced
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

    Place beef in a large pot. Cover with water and add garlic, bay leaves, peppercorn, red chiles, tomatoes and 1/4 cup cilantro and about 1 tbs salt. Bring to boil and then cover and simmer 5 hours. Remove meat and cool.Cut into pieces roughly 2" square, then shred pieces (I use two forks). Place in a 9X11" baking dish and cover with dressing and plastic wrap. Marinate overnight.

    Top beef with chopped green chiles and cheese squares. Then decorate with avocado slices and sprinkle on remaining cilantro and parsley. Bake at 325 for 20 to 30 minutes, until meat is heated through.

    May also be served cold.

    Recipe is from: It's a Long Way to Guacamole
    by Rue Judd & Ann Worley c1978.

    I serve it with warm corn tortillas
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    SW Ohio
    Yum! Thanks for the suggestion. My recipe folder in MS Word (I am hoping to get Mastercook for xmas) has gotten huge since joining the BB!


  27. #27
    I just wanted to chime in and say that I have always cooked and eaten them the way SHERRY described. I've never tried it frozen though.
    Additionally, I think jphilg shared great info! I have experienced all these things, but had never put it all together. Thanks for the info!

  28. #28
    Thanks so much everyone.

    I'm still wading through the responses, but it sounds like I need to try the Chuck (I hate that it's called "Chuck" - that's my husband's name!!! ) next time. It just confused me because it really looked like a very thick steak, not a roast as I picture them.

    I did think that it looked too lean to produce the kind of pot roast I wanted (I could tell the ones I've had before were a bit fatty), but since I had never cooked it, I wasn't sure.

    I don't know that cooking this particular roast any longer would have helped - the parts that were more done were beginning to really dry out, not tenderize and fall apart. Sounds like more marbling is what I need. It so goes against my nature to reach for the fattier cut of meat!! ;o

    Another continuing problem I have is that my crockpot cooks too fast! Even when I cook on low, most things are done in just a few hours. I have NEVER been able to cook anything for 8 hours. I think the problem in this case is that my pot is too big for what I'm cooking. I'm going to get a 3.5-quart model and see if this helps.

    Thanks again everyone - you ALL were very, very helpful. I did haul out my Joy of Cooking and look at all the different cuts of meat and read what they had to say, but it still didn't tell me everything I wanted to know.

    What we ended up with the other night is still good and tasty, just not what we were expecting.


  29. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2003

    Pot roast!!

    I completely understand your confusion and ultimately frustration!! You definately want a RUMP ROAST - it's a little more fatty than eye of round or even bottom round but really worth it. I follow a receipe by Martha Stewart that has worked every time I've made it (and it does end up falling apart). I found one of the keys, besides the cut of meat, is searing the roast in a little bit of olive oil before you put it into the pan to roast. Good luck!! Let me know if you want the receipe

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ashton, Maryland
    Originally posted by alicerh
    I use an English roast, similar to chuck roast but leaner.
    Oh another "learning-to-beef" question -- what is an English roast? I've never heard of this

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