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What to do if half of pot roast is done earlier?

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Okay, so I cooked a boneless chuck roast the other day, and I did a typical braise, searing the meat on both sides and putting it in the roasting pan with the lid on in the oven at 225 degrees (because my roasting pan seems to cook about 50 degrees hotter than regular ones). I don't do anything extra to seal the lid, because I always seem to end up with twice as much liquid as I started with.

Well, my problem was, half of my roast must have been slightly thinner or something, because after 3 hours it was perfectly fork tender while the other half wasn't even close! I bumped the temperature up to 250 and let the roast go for another half an hour, but the left side was still not fork-tender, and may have taken at least another hour and a half. So I took the roast out, not sure what to do, and one side was delicious, and one side was awful.

In the future, what should I have done if this happens to me again? I was worried that cooking the perfectly done side for another hour and a half might have dried it out... but I was also worried that cutting the tender part off and removing it from the oven might have allowed too many juices to escape from the meat. What would be my best plan of action for the future?

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  1. One way to ensure even cooking in the future is to tie up the roast so all parts are an even thickness, or cut it up into parts of similar size. If the roast is cut to uneven thickness and you cook it one piece, there isn't much you can do to prevent an outcome similar to what you've just experienced..

    2 Replies
    1. re: janniecooks

      I never even thought of tying it up! What a great idea. You tie it up after you've seared it, I'm assuming?

      1. re: megwini

        You tie it up before searing, after folding the narrow flap over the rest of the meat to make a uniformly sized package. Remove the string only after the roast is done.

    2. I would have kept cooking it until the whole thing was done. Either that or removing the done part would have resulted in a better outcome, imo.

      I think people worry too much about "putting a leak" in the meat. Sure, you don't want to cut into a medium rare steak or roast without resting it.. A pot roast, don't think it matters.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kengk

        +1 - slicing off the done part is fine. Then turn the thicker piece so the cut side is at the bottom of the roasting pan. If the OP has leftover under-roasted meat, it can be sliced thinly, then braised in leftover juices/gravy, with some additional broth, in a covered pan. When it's tender, check seasonings and adjust. Chop or shred the meat. Thicken/reduce juices if you prefer, and/or add mushrooms, cream or cream cheese or sour cream for a stroganoff take on it. Return meat to sauce, stir, and serve over noodles, mashed potatoes, or for open-faced sandwiches.

      2. Also, take it out of the fridge a couple of hours before cooking it.

        1. Chuck roast is a difficult cut to define because "chuck" encompasses a large area of the cow, from which many different roasts can be cut. The various muscles that make up the "chuck" aren't all the same texture, so what you probably got was a roast made up of two (or more) muscles, one of which was naturally less tender/suitable for braising than the other. In the future, you can definitely cut off the part that seems done and continue cooking the rest, but keep in mind that you may just have gotten a non-optimal cut.