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Aug 20, 2007 10:34 AM

Beef roast in crockpot, how much liquid?


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  1. Oops, here's the rest that goes with the above post. I have a bread and butter roast in my crockpot. It's raised up by sitting on top of celery and green peppers. I browned it and some onions, added a dried assortment of mushrooms on top along with some fresh herbs. It's also sitting in about 2-3 cups of broth. However, the broth only goes up so high. There is about 3 inches of roast not covered by broth. I've seen recipes both ways: food not covered by liquid and roast covered with liquid. I've usually cooked roasts covered all the way with liquid, but the meat seems kind of dry Does anyone have suggestions regarding the amount of liquid. Thanks.

    6 Replies
    1. re: conniemcd

      I agree, less added liquid is better and you will have a more flavorful sauce/gravy. I cooked a 4-5 pound boneless pork roast in the crock pot and added about 3/4 cup of water. My roast was swimming in liquid before it was done.

      1. re: conniemcd

        Thanks to WCchopper and AntarcticWidow for suggestions. Results were about ok+. I added no more water as you both indicated. I turned it over about 2/3 to 3/4 done. The bottom seemed dry and mealy. I thought, oh no, here we go again. However when I cut into it after it was done, I thought it was not bad as far as dryness. Later my DH said it was a little dry. My daughter said she's used to having meat a little on the the dry side, and liked it a lot. Next time I want to try pork roast with a little water. With beef I should probably stick to chuck

        Feel free to chime in with any tips on crockpot cooking.

        PS: The Santini chef's choice mixed dried wild mushrooms were wonderful.

        1. re: conniemcd

          Slow cooking brings out the best in meats that contain a good bit of connective tissue, ie. tougher cuts. Lean cuts do get dried out, but that tends to be true of lean cuts of meat no matter what the cooking method. I use the slow cooker for pork with great success, for chili verde, pork with Asian spices, pork with prunes and a little chicken stock and port. Beef can be trickier and in my experience, you are right that chuck is the best choice for braising. Cooking it SLOWLY makes a huge difference, allowing time for the gelatin to dissolve and not squeeze all of the liquid out first.

          1. re: WCchopper

            Suggest trying a flat cut of brisket next time. It would take 3 hours stovetop on a simmer, so adjust your slow cooker time accordingly. And it is nearly always submerged under the cooking liquid because it is flat. Essentially, this is the same cut used for corned beef, but it is not brined and pickled. I'd put some pototoes, carrots, onions and celery on TOP next time, especially if I was going to leave the thing alone all day and go to work. You can thicken the liquid when you get home stovetop for a good gravy after checking the seasoning. One thing I like about brisket is that it is not as likely to dry out like a piece from the round, and it cooks up a nice lean roast without gristle and connective tissue when slicing (against the grain). Avoid a piece that is obviously in two halves with a fat layer in the middle, so you need to choose carefully. Sometimes it is called a first cut.

        2. re: conniemcd

          What is a "bread and butter" roast?

          1. re: pikawicca

            From Cook's Thesaurus on

            cross rib roast = cross rib pot
            roast = Boston cut = English cut
            roast = English roast = thick rib
            roast + bread and butter cut =
            beef chuck cross rib pot roast

            NOTES: If boneless, this is sometiimes called an English roll.
            This makes a fine pot roast, but it's too tough to roast with dry heat. SUBSTITUTES: arm roast OR
            blade pot roast OR 7-bone roast

            FYI ; I had the boneless cut with wrapped around with twine.

        3. My experience with crock pots talls me that much less liquid is needed than for other slow cooking methods. A lot of liquid comes out of the ingredients and I have found that if you add a lot more, the sauce or gravy needs to be cooked down a lot. Cooking the roast as slowly as possible should prevent it from drying out in the crock pot.

          1 Reply
          1. re: WCchopper

            When I cook a roast in my crock pot, I get a sirloin roast I put in a envelope of dry
            onion soup with a glass of water 16oz so I will have plenty to make a gravy when
            its done.