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Jan 3, 2011 06:49 PM

Chuck Roast.... Roasted Low and Slow @ 220* F.....For A Better Pot Roast ?(Pictures)

A recent thread on Pot Roast, coinciding with a Beef Sale at my local Supermarket, inspired me to to do my own Kitchen Test with Five Different pieces of Chuck Roast of different sizes and weights cooked from 3.5 hours to 5 hours total time @ 220 F. All five roasts resulted in varying degrees of moist meat and tenderness... at least for me, the finished results were better than a Braised Pot Roast.

Pictures Left To Right : Roast #1, Roast #4, Roast #'s 1 & 2, (1 & 2), Roast #3, Roast #4, Roast #5

Roast # 1. 2 Pounds 2.5 Inches Thick 500* Initial Sear for 10 Minutes 3.5 Hours Total Time
Finished Temperature 135*

Roast # 2 2.2 Pounds 2.0 Inches Thick 500* Initial Sear for 10 Minutes 3.5 hours Total Time
Finished Temperature 150*

Roast # 3 2.0 Pounds 2.5 Inches Thick 500* Initial Sear for 10 Minutes 5.0 Hours Total Time
Finished Temperature 145*

Roast # 4 2.25 Pounds 2.25 Inches 500* Initial Sear for 10 Minutes 4.0 Hours Total Time
Finished Temperature 145*

Roast # 5 2.25 Pounds 2.0 Inches Thick 500* High Heat Blast @ End 4.0 Hours Total Time
Finished Temperature 160*

Final Conclusion.........Start with a Roast 2.5 Inches Thick.......Roast 3.5-5.0 Hours Total Time @215-225*....Aiming for a meat temperature of 135-145 ....Medium-Rare to Medium....
* Searing at the beginning is better than at the end for thinner roasts.

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  1. I have to ask ... what are you going to do with all that beef?

    8 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I have a lot of free time on my hands.....and my son, niece and nephews... along with their friends, like to be fed while watching Football games.

      1. re: fourunder

        U P D A T E D ! ! !




        My most recent Chuck Roast was made following the usual low and slow method as outlined here.....but the outcome was far from perfect and basically inedible....either a poor piece of meat....or just a poor pick for expecting a tender and flavorful roast....I suspect the latter, as the meat was super tough roasted to 135*.....and given the the connective tissue and collagen doesn't melt under 140*.

        Although the pictures look fine....the meat was not chewable.

        My conclusion is you need to select meat without the heavy white collagen...not to be confused with the marbling you see in Strip Steaks and Rib Eyes. In the last two pictures, for a Medium-Rare/Medium target roast, you need to select a leaner piece of meat like the last picture of pink meat, not the darker red one....which would be more suitable for an actual braised pot roast or roast beef cooked past medium temperature.

        1. re: fourunder

          I just got a 2.82lb Beef Chuck Cross Rib roast -- what is the best way to proceed -- how would you cook it?

          1. re: Sarah

            In a nutshell....

            * Season or marinate for one day

            * Pan sear

            * Transfer to a rack over a sheet pan.

            * Roast @ 200-225* for about 3 hours or until it hit your target temperature.

            * Rest a minimum one hour...but two is better.

            * I hold the meat in the oven @ 140*

            * In general, I find I get better results for Chuck Roast when I roast to 130* for the higher end of the scale for Medium-Rare.

            1. re: fourunder

              Curious as to your thoughts on this recipe from a CH (via another source) -- does it sound as if it'd work? I was taken by the let it sit in cooling oven thing!
              .Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees Canadian). Season the roast with whatever you normally do.and place in a roasting pan or baking dish. Do not cover or add water.
              Place the roast in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C). Roast minutes seven minutes per pound then turn off the oven and let the roast sit in the hot oven for 2 1/2 hours. Do not open the door at all during this time!
              Remove the roast from the oven, the internal temperature should have reached at least 145 degrees F (65 degrees C). Carve into thin slices to serve.

              1. re: Sarah

                First, I do not believe there is one best recipe or method for all...especially when it comes to family traditions and living up to Nana or Mom......but for me I just prefer the low and slow method as I enjoy the results and it very easy to do.

                The obvious problem I have with the recipe you mention is...what if someone does open the door? Then there's the problem of....what if the roast does not hit your target temperature? Does that affect the outcome of the roast? I would think it does, due to the fact when meat cools, you cannot just cook it up as the process has been a way, it's like when you rest or hold meat. The cooking process. at the very least, slows down or stops when you reduce the thermostat on the oven and the roast completes it's carryover effect. Ultimately, I have a problem with the fact you are not controlling heat and maintaining a constant temperature. The secret to the great BBQ masters is that they control the process and the heat. I would be curious to know what temperature the oven is at the end of 2 it above 250, or under 200? Both would not work for me.

                Regardless of how expensive or quality of the meat, even with perfect execution, you can still get a Clunker and poor's sometimes, just the luck of the draw. I've been fortunate that I have only had a few poor results....but then much of that I attribute to the Low and Sow opposed to the method you have outlined. I like to try different methods for roasting meat if it piques my interest or curiosity, but I would be more apt to use Oven Off method with a better cut or grade of meat... a flatter or small round shape, as opposed to a larger roast like a Whole Top Butt Sirloin, Beef Knuckle, Shoulder Clod or Prime Rib.....and definitely not a tough cut like Chuck Roast.

                Roasting any type of meat will always have variables to consider.....The piece of meat may be too lean without any fat, or have very much collagen that needs to be broken down. Even moisture content will affect the cooking time Another overlooked concern is the accuracy of the oven's calibration. Does it run hot or cold to the setting selected. Newer ovens may be better insulated to maintain heat than older ones. There's the possibility the oven seal is not tight and heat will escape quickly. Last, the shape of the meat is more important in considering roasting time than weight. using your 2.82 roast, you could effectively cook it to well done in the first 20 minutes....that's why I recommend small roasts be pan seared, instead of being browned in the oven.

                People have different expectations and preferences for their beef. One's idea of Medium-Rare is different from many others. Some like charred meat, while others do not, Some will only eat Well-Done or Pot Roast...while others will only eat Rare. Using Medium-Rare as an example, there are many ways to get the meat to that's only a matter of hitting the 125-135* mark. Some like their meat soft, while others like their meat with a little chew. Low and Slow will get you softer, more tender meat with less chew. Higher heat stiffens the muscle the longer the time spent on high heat, then the more chance for tougher meat....this goes for steak or roasts and the reason why some have embraced the Reverse Sear process. Lower heat also limits shrinkage and results in higher yield.

                In general, when you brown in the oven, you do so for only 15-20 minutes to kill the bacteria on the surface of the meat. In the method you describe, a roast could calculated to sit in the oven for up to 90 minutes for a large roast. All beef is very expensive now, so I would not subject the meat stiffening the outer portion and shrinking.

                The biggest difference between the two methods is the approach and the final results on meat tenderness. With the low and slow, you will not have an outer ring of meat cooked more than the center. You may or may not get one with the High Heat Oven Off. Both will get you a nice pink or red center....and sliced thin, both will probably get you raves from polite well manner guest.....BUT this is what you need to know why the Low and Slow approach is preferred by many who have tried it and in Commercial applications. The method mimics the Dry Aging Process and TIME is needed to do so to allow the natural enzymes to break down the muscle fibers....with the high heat, it's not true low and slow as the temperature is not constant, and it does not produce the same effects. Coupled with the longer resting period of two hours or more, it allows the juices inside the roast to redistribute and be reabsorbed so the meat stays moist instead of bleeding on the cutting board or plate.

                Bottom line...I prefer to control the process and environment of the can also get a nice char with the high heat blast at the end of holding, or resting. It does not cook up the meat

                If you have not already, you can see similar results with different cuts of beef. The basic process is the same for all. There's more detailed information and pictures so you can see the results.

                Chuck Roast/Shoulder

                Prime Rib Roast

                Top Sirloin, Reverse Sear.

                1. re: fourunder

                  .but then much of that I attribute to the Low and Sow opposed to the method you have outlined.

                  that should not be there.....poor cut and paste job and editing on a different thought.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    It turned out great! I put the roast into 450 oven (too hot to do stove top browning), turned oven down to 225 immed, and let it roast for 2.5 hrs before checking temp -- it was 140 - perfect. Had an extra 1/2 hour to rest. Thank you for all your research and help.

    2. Excellent info - thank you. Just one quibble - what you made is roast beef. Without vegetables and covered cooking, it's not a pot roast.

      3 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        The experiment was to cook The Chuck Roast at less than Well Done temperature to see if it would be tender and have the connective tissues melt. As Mr Barnes noted in the Pot Roast thread, the connective tissue melts at 140*. There was a decided argument in the thread on which side of the fence you sat on..... love or hate. Personally, I said the only cut of meat I could stand for Pot Roast was the Chuck....and many others agreed. In previous posts, I maintained others should try Chuck Roast cooked less than Well-Done and at Medium-Rare Temperature. I find any Braised Pot Roast to be on the dry side and for braised red meats, I prefer Ox Tails or Short Ribs....Generally, most will not cook a Chuck Roast as Roast Beef as you describe it (correctly)......I'm just trying to open a few eyes and tell everyone that Chuck Roast or Under Blade is a good option and better than the typical London Broil made from Top or Bottom Round if you like your meat Medium-Rare, Medium or Medium-Well. It has a lot of flavor, is tender and very inexpensive compared to other beef cuts, especially when on sale.

        If Pot Roast with Vegetables and Sauce is preferred.....I'm just suggesting to braise the vegetables and roast the meat in the oven for a change if you like the Chuck Roast cut of beef. The Medium-Well Roast I made was very tender and still moist....unlike a Braised Pot Roast.

        1. re: fourunder

          I applaud your effort, your desire to throw beef and $$$ wildly into the ring and to then admit the results.

          Pot Roast to me has always been a slow cooked mixtures of beef, veggies, broth and aeromatics and herbs that was never served anything but well done.

          Your experiment has certainly help me with the ever pressing chuck roast as round roast substitution issue.

          Thank you.


          1. re: jjjrfoodie

            Thanks for the kind words....the Medium-Well result was actually a failure on my part, as I made some Rookie mistakes and it was not my internded results. Although the meat was a heavier roast, it was not thicker than another piece of meat I roasted at the same time, which turned out medium, my target tempemperature.....I browned the meat at the end, and the higher heat blast raised the meat temperature when the roast was covered during its resting period....Steaming occurred and it simply over-cooked beyond my expectations....but the meat was still tender and moist, not bone dry, like Well-Done.

            For the record, the beef was on sale......approximately 11 pounds of meat only cost around 26 bucks.

      2. Wow, Thanks for this! Is there any reason this wouldn't work in my Weber Smoker or Kettle? I can see some awesome pit beef type sandwiches on the way for Football day..

        8 Replies
        1. re: King of Northern Blvd

          Absolutely not. Sadly to say, although Barbecue and Grilled Meats are two of my favorites.....however,I am not qualified to give you specific instructions other than to say...*Indirect Heat*. Adding a little smoke to this would be a great choice and the temperatures and time should yield similar results if you can maintain the proper temperatures throughout. My mission was to prove Chuck Roast is a better alternative than Top or Bottom Round and Rump....especially if you like your meat in the Medium-Rare, Medium or even Medium-Well range.

          On previous threads on Baltimore Pit Beef, my opinions were I liked the taste....but the Round Cuts were tough and not enjoyable. As greygarious pointed out above......this is really a roast beef in the end.

          1. re: fourunder

            An Update:

            Final Conclusion :

            For small roast, I find the pan sear method is more reliable than using the oven, either at the beginning or at the end of roasting. For medium-rare, I find the lower temperature of 200* for 5 hours also produces a more tender roast, than @ 225* for shorter period of roasting time.

            1. re: fourunder

              My latest Chuck Blade Roast......12 pounds and 4 inches thick roasted @ 250* for 5.5 hours, rested for 45 minutes, then char browned under the broiler for 6 minutes, an additional 10 minutes resting period before slicing. Perfect Medium Rare and the most tender roast and perfect results I have made to date.

              Pictures are at the following thread:


              This roast is from the fourth through eighth inches from the front end of the Chuck section, as explained by the butcher who prepared it. The first through third inches are part of another roast I had cut and put in the freezer for another day.

              The roast was removed from the fridge 2 1/2 hours before placing in the oven. At this time, I seasoned both sides simply with Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper. I covered with plastic film and allowed it to come close to room temperature. When time to prepare for the oven, I preheated the oven @ 400* for 20 minutes, I then placed the roast on a rack, and the rack then on a sheet pan lined with foil. I did not sear the roast. After the preheat, I placed the roast on the second rung/setting from the bottom of the oven, closed the door and immediately reduced the oven down to 250*. The roast now cooked for three hours, where I then removed it from the oven to flip it over on the other side, and continued to slow roast for another two hours. I do not use a digital probe thermometer, rather, I use the simple poke test with my finger to get an idea of the getting a feel for the resistance of the meat, and in combination with a classic instant read thermometer. At this time, I determined it was prudent to take the initial temperature check with the pocket thermometer. The readings were: 130* on the outer edge and 120* near the center.. I continued to cook the roast for an additional 30 minutes, where I then again took readings with the pocket thermometer. At this time the roast was 137* on the outer edges and 126* near the center. I removed the roast from the oven and placed the sheet pan on a large thick bath towel, away from any drafts, and covered the roast with a large stainless steel mixing bowl, then covered the bowl with the remaining half of the towel to insulate the bowl somewhat and reduce heat loss....or cold air from hitting the bowl While I placed my side potatoes and vegetables in the oven for the next 45 minutes, the roast rested undisturbed. After the 45 minute rest period, I placed the roast under the broiler for exactly three minutes on each side to brown and develop some char.. After the six minutes browning stage, I shut the oven off and left the roast sit in the oven for another 10 minutes with the broiler door open.

              I transferred to a cutting board and removed the chine bone....made my first cut and some slices. The following pictures show each stage. Sorry for some of the blurriness in the photos.......


              *1.. Roast removed from the refrigerator.

              *2. Seasoned roast resting and coming to room temperature.

              *3. Roast removed from oven after 5.5 hours

              *4. Roast removed from oven after 5.5 hours, reverse side

              *5. Roast removed from the Broiler, after browning stage

              *6. Roast removed from the Broiler, reverse side

              *7. Chine Bone removed

              *8. First slices

              *9. First Cut and First Slices....Chine Bone removed.

              *10. Consistent Medium-Rare Temperature throughout.

              *11. Leftover pieces after one hour and being boned out...including the Flat iron section. You can see there was very minimal bleeding or loss of meat juice.

              The final conclusion.......I will always try to have the Chuck Roast, or Blade Roast, a minimum three inches thick for slow roasting. After the roast reaches 135*, I will remove it from the oven and allow it to rest a minimum 45 minutes.....then I will brown it in the oven and warm it up, allow to rest for a short while and then slice. This will also be my method for all Holiday Prime Rib or Strip Loin Roasts as well.

              1. re: fourunder

                I've never had a chuck roast done medium rare...what's it like?

                1. re: joonjoon

                  magnificent beefy flavor and tender, slight chew on only one or two muscles. ...... you need to get cozy with your butcher and get the front piece which includes the flat iron. I purchase at ShopRite when on sale.....have him cut a minimum 2.5 inches thick, but I prefer 3-4 inches for nice slices and plate presentation when cut slightly on the bias.

                  The roast in the above thread was purchased at a local Bravo Market in Teaneck on Cedar Lane. It was 4 inches thick and 12 pounds. About 23 bucks if I recall. The butcher's name is Elvis. I know you come up to Bergen on occasion....check the Bravo website goes on sale for 2.39 a pound a couple of times a month.

                  I tip the butchers a couple of bucks per roast. The ShopRite(Paramus) guys refuse, but I just toss it on the table and tell them to buy a beer or coffee.....If I have three or more roast cut, I spot them a five and many thanks.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    Earlier this week I stopped by the local ShopRite store and they had an in store special on Certified Angus Beef Chuck Roast, on sale for $3.21/lb. I spotted a nice looking piece weighing approximately 2.5 I picked it up. From this thread, you can tell I find this beef cut a very good choice for an inexpensive roast beef....especially when on sale for around 3 bucks per pound.....

                    So yesterday, I was in a cooking mood, so i decided to make the roast, along with my Sunday Gravy, which I started on first. After getting the vegetables and tomatoes into the pot, I finished browning the meats and placed them into the vessel as well. Now it was time for me to turn my attention to the Chuck Roast......unfortunately, during the process, I had my senior moment, and instead of cooking this low and slow at 225*, I ended up roasting it at 450* for about 25 minutes. My mistake was that I placed the meat into a cold oven and turned the heat up to 450*....expecting to turn it down to 225* after 10 minutes...but I forgot about it. Between stirring the pot of sauce and checking new posts on chowhound....I simply forgot about it....Rookie Mistake.

                    However all was not lost and something was learned. First and foremost, do not forget about beef in the oven......and looks can be deceiving. Luckily for me, I did have a digital temperature probe set in the roast for 135*, a little higher than I normally set for(125). When I realized the meat was in the oven, it had been for 25+ minutes and the internal temperature probe registered 134*.. I quickly opened the oven door and removed the roast....shutting off the oven completely to allow all the heat to escape. After 15 minutes, I replaced the roast back into the oven to hold it for an additional 90 minutes, uncovered, but with the door closed. At this time, the roast registered 138. After the 90 minutes, the roast was registering 84*. At this point. I started what I call the *warm up phase*, in preparation for serving. I turned the oven on to 250* for 30 minutes until the roast's internal temperature read 95*, then I increased the temperature to 450* for 8 minutes and pulled the roast from the oven and transferred to the cutting board. There was no second resting period, but only the time needed to take a few pictures before I made the first slice. Below, you can see pictures of the finished roast, the first few slices and the meat on the plate. You can clearly see the meat is medium-rare / medium with minimal bleeding.

                    In the end, the meat still looked great and was pretty good.....but it was definitely not as tender as with the low and slow roasting method.

                2. re: fourunder

                  Pictures for the 4 inch thick, 12 pound Chuck Roast:

            2. Two Chuck Roasts ....Pan seared first, then slow roasted @ 190* for approximately 3 hours until they hit 122*. I used a NorPro Meat Tenderizer to punch it first. The results were very good. Each beef cut was 1.5 inches thick and slightly over 2 pounds.

              10 Replies
              1. re: fourunder

                fourunder, YOU are the chuck roast KING! Thanks for all your research. It'll certainly save me time and money!

                1. re: max5d

                  Thanks for the kind words. Make sure you check out this thread for a three in thick cut Chuck I made almost a year ago was the best one I have ever made......6-7 pounds pre-cooked weight. pictures are included.


                  1. re: fourunder

                    My only problem with any of this is finding chuck roast in stores - they almost never carry it in supermarkets around here(chuck steaks, but not chuck roasts). It's all rump and round. Even when I suck it up and get it from the butcher I often have to order it a day or two in advance. No idea why.

                    1. re: ratgirlagogo

                      That's sad to hear....but why cant you just ask your market to cut you thicker steaks? Essentially, that's all a roast is....that's what i do whenever it goes on sale.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        Well, yes I could - but again this involves ordering in advance and in that case I'd order from the butcher shop proper. It just isn't something that's always in the market ready to grab and go like a pernil and I'm not sure why.

                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                          With regards to my local supermarket......whenever the meat goes on sale, I could phone the butcher in advance in the morning i intend to shop....but usually I just make the first stop after entering the store at the butcher window. I tell him what I want and he prepares it for me while I do my regular shopping.

                          For the record, I live in a busy area and the market is quite active throughout the they are always cutting and replenishing the stock, or inventory.

                          While I would agree many butchers are better than local supermarkets....I would also say that the Choice Grade meat I get at local markets on sale will always be 50% or less in cost than at any of the butchers for comparable quality (cryovac).

                            1. re: ratgirlagogo

                              Hi fourunder - one more question. I have a friend whose family loves roast but they eat their meat rather medium well ( yuk) and would like to give her this recipe. Is this method possible for the chuck or any roast and if so, how much time should I add for that before testing with the digital thermo. I think she might have the one that you leave in the roast and it lets you know, not sure. Thank you for all the information.

                              1. re: happygoluckyinoregon


                                If you look in the original post above, Roast # 5 is cooked to what I would consider to be Medium-Well temperature....cooked to150-155* final temperature 160* after resting. ...It is also the last picture in the post so you can see the results.

                                I suspect the roast would probably take 4-4.5 hours roasting time. The first check should be made at about 3.5 hours.....also recommend she flip and rotate the roast at the 2 hour mark.

                                Even though your friend likes the meat cooked longer, this method will still be better suited than others, as the slow roast will not dry out the meat...but it will be cooked through.

                                Please note when you explain the procedure, I recommend a thicker, rather than thinner roast....the thicker roast will stay more moist and the slices are prettier as well for presentation on the plate. All she really needs to do is to keep her eye on the roast and make sure it does not look like it's drying out. There are always variables for each individual roast that affect the final outcome, but with a Medium-Well roast, I would also suggest she choose a roast that has more connective tissue than less. The added fat will also keep the roast more moist for the longer cooking time.

                                let me know if you need any other queries answered and Happy Holidays to you and yours this season.

                  2. Hi, its me again and so sorry but I am totally confused. In this link you mentioned a 2.5" roast of 4.2 lbs. ( Roast #4) which is exactly my size chuck roast. However, you say 4 hours TOTAL time, so is it cook 3 and rest l, or what.

                    My second problem is that I just checked my oven and the LOWEST temp it will go to is 170ยบ and you said to let it hold for a certain number of hours at 140> What is the solution as I am doing this for Christmas - HELP:-)

                    WE LIKE OUR ROAST MEDIUM RARE! I am going to marinate it in a good brand of root beer overnight which I heard really tenderizes and adds flavor, then cajun season on top and pan sear.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: happygoluckyinoregon

                      Paragraph 1

                      First, that roast #4 was half the size of it's really not a good example to, that roast was purposely cooked to medium temperature

                      The general rule is about 40-50 minutes per pound taking variables into account. You should check the roast @2.5 hours to be safe, but expect 3-3.5 hours roasting for at least an hour...two if you can. I would suggest you take the roast to at least 125, but under135 to hold.
                      Paragraph 2

                      You can hold the roast on a plate, covered with a large mixing bowl or pot, covered by a towel.....or you can keep in on the lowest setting of 170 and crack the door open to let some heat escape. If you have an oven thermometer, you can monitor the temperature, but I would not be too concerned for exact temperatures...last you can hold in a insulated beverage cooler. covered with foil on a plate.
                      Paragraph 3

                      Your recipe sound very good. I've heard people use Dr Pepper to marinate beef and ribs as well.

                      1. re: happygoluckyinoregon


                        Hello, I just wanted to let you know I saw your comments on another thread in an attempt to contact me and trying to let me know you had successful result.....I appreciate the thought and the extra effort. Most would not think to do so, so it is greatly appreciated.

                        Again, Thanks for taking the time to make an effort and share your experience.....I would still love to hear the details or any notable thoughts you had and your thoughts about the low and slow method for roasting meats. I would love to hear if you agree this is about as easy as cooking gets and the process is just about foolproof.

                        Happy Holidays...