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Jan 3, 2010 06:20 AM

Pot Roast - How Low is "Low Heat" and How Much Liquid?

When cooking pot roast, I sear/brown the meat on all sides, then I add the veggies, aromatics and liquid. How low do you turn your heat down? Should it be barely simmering or a light boil?

And how much liquid do you use? I had one roast where the liquid came up about halfway and it seemed like the part below the liquid was more tender. Or did I just need to cook it longer? Or did I need to flip it halfway through?


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  1. Turn the heat down low enough that it is barely simmering. You will need to monitor this as the liquid reduces, particularly if you are doing all the cooking on the top of the stove.

    Start with enough liquid to submerge half to 3/4 of the meat. As you know, it will reduce, and after the meat is done you remove it, increase the heat, and reduce it to the desired strength on the stovetop. You need to turn the meat several times - about every 30-45 minutes. As you do this, give the liquid a stir to scrape up any bits that are sticking to the bottom of the pan. The key is longer, lower, and flipping.

    1. For me what works best for stove top soups and braising is:

      * lowest flame setting to maintain a gentle simmer.... and a tightly covered lid if the item is a large piece of meat. e.g.. a full brisket cut in half.....

      * with regards to liquid volume, I never really had much success with halfway up the sides of the protein....I find just reaching/covering the top produces much better and uniformly tender results

      1. The CI recipe NEVER fails me. In fact, made it yesterday. Fluid halfway up roast, 300 degree oven for 3.5 hours, add veggies, then another 30 minutes.. Turn every 30-45 minutes. OMG, soooo good. Can't wait to have some leftovers today. :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: shaebones

          This is the recipe I use (Tyler Florence from Food Network). It's all stovetop. Instead of the water, I use beef broth.

        2. I'm a big fan of long, long, very slow cooking. My pot roasts and stews barely bubble on the stove. An electric burner capable of giving very low heat is desirable. We also use half of a flat-top griddle in our restaurant kitchen, and the "cold" side of that griddle is *ideal* for keeping a pot full o' pot roast, beans, stew, or anything that must cook slowly. On the other side of this coin, I'm not a big fan of crock pots for pot roast; but that's just me.

          Pot roast should be barely covered by the combination of liquid/vegetables. Sure, you'll have a lot of liquid left over, but I just make a whole lot of sauce and we put it on the roast, mashed potatoes, etc. and have some left over for another use.