Aside: I received some thrilling news yesterday, as I was included as an honoree in Blogher’s Voices of the Year 2012

(You’ll find me towards the bottom in the “Visuals” category.) 

I elaborated at length last year about what Voices of the Year means to me, so I will not do so again.  But I’d just like to say that I am beyond honored, and that BlogHer has given me so many wonderful opportunities for which I am unbelievably grateful!


I adore putting a gigantic bright red slab of meat in a crock pot and letting it simmer all day, allowing it’s seductive aromas to whet my appetite for the fantabulous meal that is to come.

But the problem is, I don’t know how to pick a roast.

Because I can never remember the names of the dozens of varieties, and I have no idea what they mean.

Approximately 1 out of every 4.375 times that I attempt this feat, I succeed in making a tender, succulent roast.  The other 3.375 times I end up vastly disappointed, nearly to the point of flinging said roast against the kitchen window because of my greatly magnified angst due to those cruelly deceptive aromas that I’d been breathing in all day long.

But when it works, I float away in a cloud of carnivorous bliss.

(My apologies to all of my vegetarian readers.)

So here’s what I do: I put my nameless roast in the bottom of my crock pot and cover it with salt and pepper.


I cut new potatoes in half and give my roast the worst zits that anyone could hope for:


(The theory there being that direct contact with the roast will further flavor the potatoes.)

I then cover my pock-marked roast with onions and mushrooms,


and pour a half a bottle of red wine over the whole thing.


Then…more vast coverings of salt and pepper.


I set my crockpot on low for about five hours, and when it’s finished, it looks something like this:


I then undo all of that mixing goodness and provide my children with deconstructed meals, just like they like it.


(But hey – at least it’s constructed for me.)

So.  That’s my roast recipe.  It’s really delicious – I swear!! At least when I pick out the right cut.

Which leads to the obvious question: which one of you know the secrets of beef cuts?  Or how to perfectly cook it, regardless of cut?  And do you have any other roast secrets?

Please do share, so that my roast dreams (and perhaps other’s) can be fully realized, 4.375 out of 4.375 times.

41 thoughts on “The Mystery of Roast.

  1. I use the chuck or english roast whenever I do pot roast. It always comes out nice and tender and falling to pieces. I only use the other cuts for dry roasting.

  2. I just look for a cheap cut of roast meat, add potatoes, baby carrots, onions, garlic salt, lipton beefy mushroom dry mix and campbells’s cream of mushroom soup and cook on low all day. It’s not fancy, but it’s good!

    Congrats on Voices of the Year!!!

  3. Cooks Illustrated (the America’s Test Kitchen people) has an excellent guide to meat and roasts…which ones should be pot roast, which ones should be grilled, etc.
    Ask the butcher too. They can tell you which will be the best for slow cooking.

    1. Thanks! Yes, I do not use the value of my butcher’s knowledge enough. And they’re so friendly! I need to ask them more questions.

  4. I like English cut or chuck roasts for the crock pot. But I readily admit, those are the only two I know anything about and could be missing out on something wonderful. You and I need to schedule a tutorial with the butcher at the Pig. I bet they’d do it! Might make for a great blog post. :)

  5. I never know which cut either! I’m hoping to get the answer here ;)

    Also, I’ll do the meat, potatoes, onions, carrots & cook it in Dale’s or Moore’s sauce!

  6. Rump……………the best and only one I use.

    Rump roast. I just wait til it goes on sale and then stock up.

  7. The best cookbook for crock pot meals is Slow Cooker Revolution by America’s Test Kitchens. They have got the art of making anything coming out of your crock pot taste like homemade awesomeness. It is totally worth the price.

    I am a horrific cook, but I have gotten some really awesome meals out of this cookbook. There is even a sausage lasagna in there that is to die for – seriously. It comes out just like oven lasagna.

    Congrats on the Blogher thing. I’m still waiting to hear if I can become a part of the network.


    1. Thanks!! I’ll have to check that out – I seriously underuse the Crock-Pot and need some new ideas. I just added it to my Amazon cart!

      About the BlogHer network – have you just added yourself to the waiting list, or have you emailed someone there? It took me 2 years to find out that the waiting list is practically everlasting, but if you email the right person, you can get “in” fairly quickly. If you haven’t emailed anyone, I’ll poke around and see if I can figure out who the correct person to email these days is.

  8. I just pick whatever has a sticker on it that says “great for pot roast” as opposed to “great for bake” (gosh I love that my supermarket does that).

    I will add my absolute favorite roast recipe though-pulled barbecue roast! I just stick a roast in the slower cooker, cover with barbecue sauce (I like Stubb’s) add a cut up onion and let sit on low for 7 hours. Then drain, shred the roast and put back in the slow cooker with some more barbecue sauce. Oh my goodness is it good.

  9. I never even look at the name when I am buying roast. If you cook any roast long enough (in the crockpot) it will eventually submit and become tender and juicy. My mom always talks about how she can’t cook roast and raves about mine. I tell her she’s just not cooking her’s long enough! LOL I always just add onions, potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper to my “original” roasts. But I have played around with Pepperoncinis (about 20) with 1/2 jar of the juice, zesty Italian seasoning, beef stock, and salt & pepper. It’s really good too!

    1. Okay – that’s where I get confused. Because for a while, I started to think I was OVERcooking my roasts and causing them to dry out. Perhaps if I’m just going to cook it for years on end I should leave it on low?? What’s the secret of cooking and cooking and cooking and not overcooking?

      1. I always cook mine on low because I am usually putting it on as I am leaving for work, and won’t be home for about 12 hours. HAHA! You just have to make sure you have enough liquid (which looks like it does from the recipe you showed above). If there is still liquid in the bottom (at least 1/2″), then it shouldn’t be dry. There is a difference between “tough” and “dry”. If you have to cut it with a knife, then it’s tough and needs to be cooked longer. The roasts I make literally come apart with a fork.

  10. I like to sear/brown my meat before putting into crockpot. You can then deglaze the pan with some of the wine. Good flavour! No advice on cuts.

  11. I buy the cheapest roast I can find that will feed all of us regardless of cut. And then I cook it till it falls apart. I know, buts its all I know to do. I like to add carrots and celery to mine. The celery really adds yummy flavor and we likes lots of onions too.

    1. Thanks! But how do you keep from overcooking it? I feel like I’ve cooked mine to the point of dryness before. Perhaps I’m just a bad roast cooker all around…

  12. Here’s what I do:

    Buy a rump roast (they are the most flavorful and tender)
    Pan sear the roast to retain the moisture OR pour 1 cup of boiling water over it (then dump out the water or your crock pot will overflow while cooking)
    Add carrots, potatoes, and at least one white onion
    Add celery (natural tenderizer)
    Salt and Pepper
    Pour in 1/4-1/2 cup of Worcestershire
    Place a Bay leaf on top (so you know where to locate it once the cooking is done ***DO NOT EAT THE BAY LEAF… it’s gross!***)

    Cook on High for 1 hour – continue cooking on Low for 3+ hours.


    1. I feel I should include a warning to my roast recipe…

      *WARNING* It WILL fall apart on your fork and your knives will feel totally left out! :D

  13. Congrats on the award!

    Your recipe sounds delicious, and I plan to put to use some of the awesome ideas in the comments section.

    I usually get a chuck roast — it always comes out tender for me.
    I salt and pepper both sides and sear it in a skillet before putting it into the crock pot.
    I mix a package of dry onion soup mix with a can of cream of mushroom soup and then mix that mixture with a cup of boiling water to which I have added a beef bouillon cube
    I place the roast in the crock pot with the soup and bouillon mixture and then add potatoes and carrots
    I crush another bouillon cube and sprinkle it on the roast
    Cook on low for about 6 hours

  14. I always buy the wrong one, but I usually blame it on my cheap crock pot. It’s nice to place the blame on an inanimate object. This sounds delicious. I’ll try it next time I buy mystery meat. Thanks!

    1. Ha! Well, according to everyone here, the general consensus seems to be chuck or rump roast. Perhaps we shall no longer need to blame animate or inanimate objects on our failures.

  15. I never know what to buy either. We’ve bought beef from a friend the last two years so I just do whichever packages have “roast” in any way. Haha:)

  16. I am the husband of Tammy- Cliff – and I have never once read any one of the many blogs she reads. I know she thoroughly enjoys them. It seems to lift her spirits when she is down , and it always makes her laugh.
    As for the roast-, you should not get a “cheap” cut of meat, as the cheaper the tougher is my philosophy. I like the “rump, chuck , or Pot variety. And NO not that kind of pot. Here in Atlanta , we have Publix. They have wonderful meat. We usually pay about $14-18 dollars for a good cut of meat. Also the obligatory carrots, onions, ( we use baked potatoes cut in quarters or 1/8th’s. No wine but a packet of dry french onion soup mix, and 2 cups of water. After about 3 hours, I check to see if we need to add more water. The potatoes and carrots go in about 4 hours after starting the roast.
    I hope that you like this method. Your recipe sounds great. Have a great week.

    Cliff and Tammy

    1. Thanks so much!! We have Publix, too. I’ll check their roasts out next time! I wonder if it was using the wine that has been drying out my roasts…

  17. Okay, apparently I’m the slacker… I get rump or chuck, whatever Publix has on sale… All I do is drop the roast in, add about 4-5 potatoes that I’ve cut into chunks, pour in a bag of those baby carrots, pour in 2 cans of Cambells beef consumme Add a can of water. I let it go for about 8 hours on low… That’s it. Sometimes, if I’m going to work, I fix it all the night before and leave it in the fridge overnight…
    Told you I’m a slacker… :). This is the recipe you have to use when your husband’s particular about veggies….

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