This slow-cooked stove top pot roast recipe kicks protein cravings to the curb. That’s right- we’re taking a break from carbs this week and bringing the meats. And what’s not to love about one-pot meals? The simplicity of any dump-it-and-forget-about-it meal, but especially a dutch oven pot roast, is just so appealing. I’ve been busy braising it up so we can review the six most important things about how to make pot roast right the first time. Go ahead and bookmark it now, because this classic chuck roast recipe is ready to be your perfect cold-weather companion.
Classic Pot Roast Techniques
Salting in advance is the best way to infuse the meat with flavor and succulent juices. Too many recipes I see seasoning being recommended right before cooking commences. But this just isn’t enough time to flavor the meat from within. You’d be lucky to even have a seasoned surface.
Instead, try getting your meat in advance and salting it right away. The bigger and denser the cut, the more time it will need to sit in salt. Kosher salt will be your best bet here. You can follow Chef Samin’s advice and salt by weight, or you can just coat the entire surface with a light layer of the stuff.
Searing may not “lock-in” meaty juices so much as it gives distinct flavors of its own. When proteins hit high heat, they undergo the Maillard reaction (an interaction of proteins, sugars, and heat) which creates new, yummy flavor compounds and turns brown in the process.
Ever notice why so many tasty foods are brown? Steaks, french fries, pie crust, marshmallows….that’s Maillard. Even though searing isn’t *necessary* for stove top pot roast, it creates a little more depth to the dish. And if you can do it right in the same pot you’ll be cooking in, then why not?
First and foremost, for successful searing, start with as close to a room temperature cut of meat as possible. If the meat goes straight from the fridge to high heat (and we do need HIGH heat for searing), it will seize up instead of sear. Seized up meat is super tough and chewy. Not a good start to a fall-apart chuck roast recipe.
While you can use just about any oil to get your sear on, olive oil may prove a bit too smokey. Try grapeseed, canola, or vegetable oil as you crank up the heat. It will do the job with less smoke and impart a more neutral flavor.
Lastly, if you’ve ever tried searing and found that you get sticking instead, try this method. I’m not a big fan of the “don’t touch it” rule that’s pervasive in meat cookery. The rule that you have to put the meat in and only go back to bother it when it comes time to flip it to sear another side, assuming that the meat is “ready” and lifts easily from the bottom.
Instead, I’ve found much more success in moving the meat around in the pan once it’s placed. It’s such a simple change, but it’s made a big difference in getting the perfect sear without the stick. Give it a try next time you sear meat and let me know what you think!
Yes, do bring this one up to a boil to start. Just don’t leave it going the whole cook time. With the types of meats used in stove top pot roast recipes, slow and steady heat is the way to go. These are usually cheaper and larger pieces of meat with more tough connective tissue between muscle fibers. While chuck (shoulder) is used here, you can just as easily use top or bottom round (hind leg), or another tough cut. Low cooking temperature over a longer period of time (low and slow as they say!) is what allows these connective tissues to soften. The time may vary on the cut, so best to check how it’s coming along. Gauge your liquid levels if you go longer than expected, and either add more liquid as needed, or pop the lid back on to preserve what you’ve got.
There’s a reason dutch oven pot roast is so tender, and simmering is it!
More Tips For One Pot Nirvana
Aromatics are the flavor boosters of the food world. These include ingredients with pleasant aromas like onions, garlic, celery, carrots, ginger, herbs, spices, and so on- hence the name. They can infuse whatever dish they go in with their signature scent.
As you can probably imagine, pot roast and aromatics are a match made in heaven. This is where you can really have fun with your own pot roast recipe. I’ve put my favorite combination of flavor boosters below, but you can give them a spin. For example, you may want to try rosemary, garlic, or marjoram in yours. You can use resources like the Flavor Bible as a guide, or just have fun and throw some things in to see what you like.
Bones are finally having their moment! By cooking with bones (including the marrow inside, as well as the meat and connective tissues nearest the bones), you can add new levels of flavor and tenderness. Particularly in slow and low, wet cooking methods, like the braising we need to do for classic pot roast!
I love me some bone-in cooking for certain cuts of meat and cooking methods. There’s some beefy debate on whether and why a bone-in cut makes a difference, but if it’s available, and a cheaper option, I’m usually buying it. At minimum just to be able to say it falls off the bone!
For this series of recipe testing, I used a boneless chuck roast. But I still got that boney goodness using a beef bone broth in place of regular beef stock or beef broth. By using beef bones in the stock making process, I essentially get a similar bone-in effect as my stove top pot roast is busy soaking and simmering.
I see a lot of pot roasts with the traditional carrots and potatoes. We’re roasting in a different direction here. I’m talking mushrooms, which will add impossible umami.
If you’re a hardcore potato traditionalist, I apologize. But I have not once been happy with the texture or flavor of pot roast potatoes. I’d rather have my potatoes perfectly creamed and buttery on the side for this particular chuck roast recipe.
Anyway, with minimal effort, a chuck roast with bone broth steeped in mushrooms can transform a ho-hum meal into one pot nirvana, as promised!
So there you have it. Stove top pot roast magic. As a kid, I’d marvel at how something left alone to cook for hours could turn out so perfect as if it was carefully tended the entire time. Now that we’ve gone over the details for how to make pot roast like you’ve been doing it for decades, it’s time to warm up, belly out. So give this classic dutch oven pot roast a try this season, and let me know how yours turns out!
- small bowl
- paper towels
- large straight-sided pan
- large plate
- large dutch oven with lid
- liquid measuring cup
- dry measuring cup
- measuring spoons
- cutting board
- chef's knife
- wooden spoon
- 5 lb boneless chuck roast
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup onion small diced
- 1 cup baby bella mushrooms sliced
- 32 ounces beef bone broth
- 12 ounces red wine
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups carrots chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pat chuck roast dry, trim any excess fat if desired, and liberally coat with kosher salt on all sides.
- Refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.
- About one hour prior to cooking, take the salted chuck roast out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
- In a large dutch oven, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Pat dry the chuck roast once more and add to dutch oven, searing each side, approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side.
- Remove the pot roast from the dutch oven onto a large, clean plate and let rest.
- Sauté the onions and mushrooms until soft and tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the red wine, beef bone broth, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and bay leaf into the dutch oven, stirring to combine and scraping any stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the chuck roast back to the pot, and bring content to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours, occasionally spooning the liquid over the top of the meat.
- Remove lid and turn the meat over for even cooking. Add carrots, and continue to simmer about another 2 hours uncovered or until meat begins to fall apart.
- Remove bay leaf, and serve warm with a side of creamy mashed potatoes.