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Aug 15, 2011 05:54 PM

Help me with my pot roast please!

By all accounts from friends and family, I am a good cook. I can make and master almost anything. However there is one "classic staple" that I cannot seem to get right, no matter how many times I have tried. Pot roast: the one dinner I cannot seem to get "right". I have made a goal to finally be able to do a great pot roast. I have tried repeatedly, using different cuts of beef, on top of the stove and in the oven....but each time it always comes out dry. The carrots onions and potatoes always are amazing, the roast itself meh... Mind you it is falling apart tender and there is plenty of gravy but the meat itself is dry. Yes I make sure to use the fatty cuts of meat and don't trim. What am I doing wrong? Please, please, please! I beg you, send me all the tricks your Bubbe passed down to you for her beloved pot roast. While I am mostly requesting cooking tips and suggestions, I would also love to receive time tested family recipes - grandma's recipes are always the best! My only request is that due to a food allergies of one of the family, the recipe cannot contain tomatoes or barley.

I know my fellow hounds will come to my rescue and share their wisdom so that I can finally master this classic dish. Thank you all so very much!


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  1. It's possible you just don't like pot roast. If you're using fatty cuts and not trimming, we're on entirely different pages, so I doubt I'm much help, but there are various ways to use the liquid, which takes a lot from the meat and needs to be part of the finished dish. I usually defat (!!!!) it carefully and reduce it for a sauce, but that's just me.

    9 Replies
    1. re: oldunc

      Oh but I love pot roast! I have had many wonderful versions. And I always de-fat the liquid before thickening and serving it as the gravy. I guess I should have stated that I use the "cheaper/fattier cuts" that are recommended for pot roast, I have tried chuck, and brisket, even once tried a seven bone roast that someone swore by, but sadly mine always comes out with dry meat. (despite all the gravy in the pot!) I have tried the browning it and then simmering it on top of the stove as well as the browning it and then cooking it in a low temp (275/300) oven.

        1. re: acgold7

          It was about a 3 lbs roast, and I seem to recall it cooked for about 4 hours

          1. re: PuniceaRana

            Hm... Sounds about right. If you have access to a Crockpot, try the Crockpot method suggested in the thread below.

        2. re: PuniceaRana

          I'm a Portagee- we traditionally use rump roasts for pot roast. I should probably stay away from meat threads- a lot of the stuff people seem to be aiming for when they cook meat I find actively disgusting. I'd probably be a vegetarian if I had an ounce of integrity, but I love pot roast too.
          I've never done it myself, but a tri tip might get you where you want to be- they're generally well marbled and have a very open texture.

          1. re: PuniceaRana

            Try adding some balsamic vinegar or cheap, dry, red wine next time. Also, try rubbing the roast with a little kosher salt before you sear it, just be mindful of what's going into your base and don't over salt!! Both of those, the vinegar/wine and the salt will help tenderize and activate the natural juices.

            I also get much better luck using consomme rather than regular beef broth for my base. Oh! And make sure you have a tight, tight seal on whatever vessel you're cooking it in. I use a heavy ceramic and cast iron dutch oven. Roast is one of my favorite dishes to make, if you would like I'll reply with the recipe :)

            1. re: mauneym

              "...if you would like I'll reply with the recipe."

              Yes, please.

              1. re: DoobieWah

                here's yet another to try:
                Gabriella's Pot Roast: Domenica Marchetti is my sister-in-law's neighbor/friend - they just returned from DM's brother-in-law's wedding in Hawaii with a stop in San Francisco. The recipe is from DM's mother.
                I like pot roast from chuck - I can find it on sale for $1.69 lb. Of course, you probably have better pricing in Houston?
                I, too, am waiting for mauneym's recipe ...

                1. re: Cynsa

                  Thanks, Cynsa.

                  Hope you had a great trip.


        3. What cut of meat are you using, and how are you cooking it? Chuck will stay moist but Round will not. The Flat cut of a Brisket dries out but the Point does not. All depends on the cut and the amount of collagen within.

          Speaking of Pot Roast:

          1. And temperature. Can you describe your method?

            1. I could never make it myself until I tried a recipe I saw on FN Down Home With The Neelys. I'm not a big fan of theirs, but Momma Neely's Pot Roast is delicious, IMO. I omit the garlic (trust me) and double the wine. Sooooo good!

              1. Try using a flat cut of brisket. It will take three or four hours, but the flavor is out of this world.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RGC1982

                  Yeah, but if the problem is dry meat, the Flat Cut isn't a good choice -- it's the driest part of the Brisket. All the fat is on the top layer and there's no marbling to speak of. The Point is better.