I made roast beef.
And it was awesome. I actually would have settled for not-horrible-for-once, so I was thrilled.
I posted two weeks ago that I was planning to give it another shot, and appreciated all of the supportive comments with great advice. I know that every one else in the entire world can make a great roast in a crock pot, but mine always turn out horrible. Like . . . I-can-only-chew-for-so-long-before-my-jaw-starts-to-ache horrible. And my heart sank when my camera-woman for the chicken cut-up session said that she felt it really came down to meat quality.
No matter how much I want to make a decent roast, I’m not paying more than 1.99/lb.
And then it hit me . . . a few of you mentioned the low-and-slow method.
My mother-in-law makes brisket that tastes like my ideal roast. I know that sounds strange, but I had only ever had barbecued brisket before hers. I now cook brisket this way, and it turns out perfectly every single time. I had the bright idea that since brisket is one of those meats that is fabulous when cooked low-and-slow, but horrid if cooked ANY other way . . . maybe roast, even the 1.99/lb kind, would do well with this method.
It did! And as a blogger . . . I took pictures of the entire process on the off-chance that it would turn out.
Remember, this is my MIL’s recipe, and she’s a FABulous cook, but not-so-much into specific amounts. I’m not either, so I was fine with that.
Sprinkle heavily with “all the spices in your cabinet.”
Seriously. Now, I only use what sounds like it would taste good on roast and skip the cinnamon and nutmeg. I stick with the savory stuff like Lawry’s seasoning salt, garlic powder, celery salt, pepper, onion powder, etc.
Pour “one of those pink cups full” of water over the meat. (Don’t tell her I threw out the pink cups. I use a large plastic drinking cup, about 2-3 measuring cups worth, until the water comes to the top of the meat.)
Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil.
Cook for eight hours at 225 degrees.
All that’s well and good, but here’s what I think is the genius of her method: Cook it the day before.
Meaning . . . I got home from the store, seasoned the roast, and stuck it in the oven at 2:00 p.m. I took it out just before 10:00 p.m., let it cool, and put it in the fridge.
The next day, it looks like this:
The fat that was in the juice is now completely solid, and can be picked right off and thrown away. The fatty sections within the meat are also solid, and can be easily identified and cut away.
Then, I chop/slice/randomly shred the meat, make gravy out of the broth,
and put the meat into the gravy to heat back up.
Serve it over mashed potatoes and you have the world’s most comforting comfort food.
Next time, I’m getting a bigger roast. With brisket, I generally buy enough to make two pans at the same time, and freeze one meal’s worth.
My family’s thoughts? My nine-year-old said, “This is roast? I like it better than usual. It’s so much easier to chew.”
Actually, they loooovvedd it. Everyone raved and raved.
So what’s on my menu this week?
Monday – Out to Eat for School Fundraiser (No complaining here!)
Tuesday – Chicken Fried Rice
Wednesday – Crock pot BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Thursday – Tacos
Friday – Out to Eat
I’ll be linking this up to Orgjunkie.com for Menu Plan Monday!
Okay, so I’m wondering. . . could you elaborate on your “make gravy out of the broth” step? What exactly do you do? This post made my mouth water so I FULLY intend to grocery shop Monday and make this on Tuesday to eat on Wednesday (our usual ‘eat out’ day because of all the clubs). I can’t wait! Thank you so much!!
Yes, I was wondering where the broth came from too?
Also, what is a “pink cup”? <:O)
They were these pink plastic cups that we somehow inherited!
Ummmm, here’s the thing. I actually took pictures of the first few steps, but then realized I had done it completely wrong and ended up having to do a million steps to correct my mistake. Definitely not tutorial-worthy. My MIL actually just makes gravy from a package. I’ll try to look up a link about making gravy from broth.
1. Melt a few tablespoons of fat: butter, unrefined coconut oil, the fat from the roast, etc.
2. Sprinkle in enough flour to absorb the fat but still have a sort of runny consistency (aka make a roux). It will bubble in the skillet and leave an empty trail for a few seconds if you run a spoon through it, then it will fill back in.
3. Let cook a couple of minutes.
4. Whisk in a few cups of the broth and let thicken. If it’s too thick, add more broth.
5. Taste for seasoning and swoon. You just made gravy 😉
1. Melt 2-3 Tablespoons of fat – butter, refined coconut oil, lard, fat from the roast, etc.
2. Stir in a few Tablespoons of flour – enough to still be runny but will leave a trail for a few seconds before filling back in when you run a spoon through it.
3. Cook for a couple of minutes so it doesn’t taste like flour in the end product.
4. Whisk in a few cups of broth and let thicken. If it’s too thick, add more broth. If there is no more broth, you can use water or milk.
5. Season to taste.
Ugggh, it diassapeared so I typed it again and then it reappeared! I’m sorry for the double post.
Shannon L says
That’s awesome! And now you’ve taught me how to cook a brisket! Thanks.
Woohoo! Can’t wait to try it!
You’re making wish I didn’t recently eliminate meat from my diet. Anyway, the best crockpot $1.99/lb roast recipe ever (no, seriously – it’s the best).
1 – 4(ish) lb cheap roast (cheaper the better)
1 pkg lipton onion soup mix
14 oz ketchup
32 oz cola soda (not diet)
Pour ingredients over roast in crockpot – cook on low 8 to 10 hours. I always shredded the beef in the broth afterwards and we enjoyed it most on buns using some of the “sauce” as an au jus.
The leftover beef is also awesome in beef enchiladas.
I have to vouch for this recipe as I slowcook my roast in cola sometimes too. Yummy Yummy!
Try Goya adobo seasoning…and for the liquid substitute leftover coffee for the water about 1-1.5 c and 1/4 c soy sauce…then cook by your same method…if its thawed it is also a good tip to rub it down with olive oil and brown it first but not absolutely necessary.
This is also how I cook venison, but with less ketchup. I think the cola helps tenderize the meat.
Cathy Lewis says
Love your blog but I’m vegan and that just looks icky! Sorry.
Oh Cathy, I’m sorry! I can only imagine that it’s the last thing you want to see!
Jessica S. says
Where do you find beef for $1.99/lb (besides super fatty hamburger)? I have trouble finding anything under $3/lb (in Central Illinois). Maybe I’m watching the wrong store ads.
It’s rare, but I do find it here in Texas. I know it’s different in different regions though. Is there a local frugal blogger that you follow that you could ask? If not, I’ll see if I know anyone who blogs about grocery deals in that area.
Beef is getting harder and harder to find for that price.
Jessica S. says
Good idea! I just posted on a frugal bloggers facebook page that I follow. Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction! Thank you
I loved that he noticed the “lack of chewiness”. So awesome. 🙂
I’m with you…I’ve never made a good roast and I usually use a crock pot. Need to try this method.
Awesome! I’m not a roast fan usually (dry, etc.) so I’ll have to try it.
What cut of beef did you use. I love chuck roasts. They are probably the cheapest of the roasts but to me the best. They are ALWAYS tender.The longer it cooks the more tender it gets.
I just had to laugh at your “Sprinkle heavily with “all the spices in your cabinet.” instruction as I do this myself all the time. In fact, this morning I put our porc roast in the crockpot, heavily sprinkled it with onion & garlic powder, chili powder and basil. Then I reached for whatever fruit juice we happen to have, in this case a blend of guava, pineapple and passion fruit puree juice and voila. It smells sooooooo good right now, I can’t wait for dinner!
I used this method to cook a brisket for Philadelphia Cheesesteak sandwiches this week end.
The results were fantastic; thanks so much for posting this.
Kris Weber says
Low and slow works great on cattle fattened up in the feedlots, but if your roasting grass fed beef, then your beef is going to taste like shoe leather, and the more you roast it, the tougher it will be, no fat in the grass fed beef at all.
I was wondering the same, finding beef that cheap, we raise beef, and it’s at it’s all time high, sold our calves for $2.00 a lb at 550 lbs. Seen a 4 day old calf go for $800 last week at the salebarn. Great for the producers but not so great for the consumers.
It is common practice for retailers to sell an item at cost to get you through the door, but they will be expecting to make a profit from your other purchases and often complimentary items will be a bit more expensive at that time. For example they offer a great deal on bread but milk is priced higher.
I grew up vegetarian but started eating meat in my 20’s. I had no idea how to cook a roast. About 14 years ago a dear friend of mine taught me his method. I love to cook roast now because it is my lazy meal, throw everything in the oven and forget about it.
I have never done a slow roast and only with some cuts that I am familiar with but the principle is the same for each.
lightly oil the meat (this helps the salt and herbs to stick)
heavily salt the fat to assist rendering (or lightly salt your chicken because they don’t have loads of fat)
add the herbs and spices that rock your boat
cook in a hot oven for half an hour which will get the fat rendering beautifully
then cook in a moderate oven for an hour (small roast) to 2 hours (large roast)
or when it looks all golden and yummo – I often use the potatoes as a guide, if they’re ready the roast is probably ready. If the roast isn’t ready all the way in the middle we don’t worry because we’ll be recooking that the next night for something.
The exception is pork belly, which is so thin with so much fat that you need to render the fat in a frypan first.
That friend and I celebrated our 12th anniversary a few months ago.
I roast grassfed beef using Pioneer Womans best pot roast recipe. It’s low and slow and fantastic. Every. Time. You should try it. It’ll change your mind about cooking with this method.
Oh, and it’s usually chuck roast but I’ve also done it will pork shoulder.
Not to be argumentative for the sake of argument, but I beg to differ.
I used grass-fed beef when I did this. (My parents raise Black Angus, which is renowned for being “not-fatty”…) It turned out perfectly.
I think “low and slow” are key; I agree that cooking a piece of meat (grass-fed or otherwise) for 8 hours at a more typical temperature (350, say) would result in shoe leather. But cooking it in a slow oven (250 degrees) with liquid and in a dish covered tightly with tinfoil will give good results.
LOL – I was hoping I wasn’t the only one wondering about that comment! Our grass fed beef has fantastic fat in it! I’ve only done my roasts in the crock pot but I think I’ll try this method next time. Thanks for confirming it is fine for grass-fed beef 🙂
Cassie Lee says
I have yet to make a traditional potroast. I didn’t know what to put in it the first time so I cut up potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery into 1-2″ pieces. Shoved those into a crockpot. I remembered my sister mentioning her secret prime rib rub being mostly chicken soup base so I dubbed the whole roast in that and some poultry seasoning. Nestled (or wrestled) the whole beast into the veggies, sprinkling the leftover ‘rub’ around. I realized that it probably needed some liquid… but water didn’t sound right so I poured two cans tomato sauce and some chicken stock over it. Peppered the top and cooked all day on low.
I really wanted a roast with gravy. What I got was the most tender, juicy roast I had ever had with a side of veggies. I chopped the leftover meat up and put it back in the pot with the veggies and juice. I added more chicken stock and tomato sauce, stuck it in the fridge overnight and discovered the next night my new favorite beef stew recipe. 🙂
I’ll have to try it your way soon because I still can’t make a roast with gravy!
Dana White says
This sounds so good! I’ll have to try your way!
i know it sounds odd, but you should do yourself a favor and try the cinnamon and/or nutmeg on your roast. nutmeg especially is great for savory items with sharp cheeses in them, (like mac and cheese or potatoes au gratin) and i always put cinnamon in my spice rubs for bbq ribs.
To make a
Dana White says
Really? I will try that at some point. Probably not with a huge batch the first time, but I’ll definitely give it a shot!
Someone may have mentioned this already but the easiest roast in the world is in the crock pot 8 hours on low. Put in the roast dump a packet of brown gravy mix and packet of ranch dressing mix and s stick of butter. Pour one fourth of a cup of water over it all. Flip the meat at hour four. The meat should fall off any bone and it has the gravy already made for you. It’s wonderful
Carolyn Medendorp says
I use the crockpot on low for 12 hours, starting just before I go to bed. I spice it like you do. For liquid I mix ketchup (best way to finish up an almost-empty bottle) with a single serving can of V-8 or with water. I like to mix the liquid with Lipton soup mix, too. Pour the liquid over the meat, cover and go to bed with the crock pot on low. In the morning, turn off the crock pot and refrigerate until a couple hours before eating. You can peel off the fat this way just like you can with your way. If you can, you can add peeled carrots and potatoes, reheat on high and eat for dinner. It’s great but I still don’t like roast beef.
For gravy I would do a basic 2 TBSP of fat and flour and let that cook for 2 minutes then add 2 cups of broth and let that simmer until thickened and viola you have gravy.
It’d be a ton more flavorful roast-taste-wise if you browned it well on all sides before putting it in the crock pot. It would take 10 mins to do. You would not be disappointed!