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Have giant chuck roast, need pot roast advice

Being in a family of 2, I don't cook large pieces of meat very often. The typical pot roast I do will be no more than 3 pounds, which is plenty for a couple meals and leftovers for the 2 of us. However, I am having meat and potatoes lovers over for dinner and have a large 4.5 to 5 pound tied piece of chuck. Usually I would gently simmer the 3 pounder covered in a dutch oven on low for about 3 hours and it always comes out perfect. Should I increase the time for this big beast of a roast that I have? If so, how much? I know it will be technically cooked in 3 hours, but I want to ensure it will be tender.

Any tips?

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  1. 3 hours should be fine. Heck 1.5 hours is fine for most portions of meat to be edible. If you're not going to be serving the whole thing on a platter, portion it before you start braising, it will cook faster than all tied together.

    If you're REALLY worried you can cook it starting now and reheat for dinner. This will also allow you to chill and remove any fat, spend more time getting a sauce done, and give you more time with your guests. With braised meats they're better once cooked, chilled and reheated. Unlike, say a rib steak.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Zalbar

      Agree, pot roast is always better the next day.

      1. re: mike0989

        Especially if you take it out, slice it and return it to a reduced braising liquid and keep it in there overnight before reheating.

        I like to puree about half of the veggies in the liquid before returning the slices to the reduced and skimmed braising liquid.

    2. I use a meat fork to test for doneness/tenderness of pot roast.
      When it "forks" easily...It's ready...regardless of size.


      1. Sear it first. Put it in your dutch oven. Set oven temp to 200 F. No higher. Check it after a couple of hours. Check it again after three hours. You should be getting close to 140 F. When it gets to that internal temp remove it and tent lightly. The 'carry over' will bring the internal temp to about 145 F. 'Low and slow'. Think SV. I worry about the word "simmer". Leave out the water. Place some root veg on the bottom. There's ample moisture in the meat.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Puffin3

          I would not enjoy a pot roast cooked that low and that little. And I'd miss the wonderful gravy made from red wine, stock tomatoes, herbs and veggies. That's the glory of braising.

          1. re: Puffin3

            Sorry but pot roast is not supposed to be served medium.

            Cook it higher than 200 but still low. 250-275. In some liquid, you need it for the gravy.

            The fork test works very well. It should be very tender. Way beyond 140.

          2. I am finding confusion when people talk of chuck roasts lately... is it a more rectangular cut, with marbling and veins of fat, or is it a more rounded chunk, with little fat throughout the center?
            If the former, what I consider chuck roast, it needs the braising for about 3 hrs, and it will be tender... also it will go to a higher internal temp, like 190-200.
            If the latter, it needs to go more to a med (130-140) and I'm not sure how long that will take.

            3 Replies
            1. re: woodburner

              Chuck not cut from the large end by the butcher can be flat and in segments that fall apart if not well rolled and tied. From the large end, you get a nicer, rounder cut, and that's what I prefer.

              I braise at 275 and it's still firm enough for a large chuck roast to hold together for slicing and returning to the pot to soak up more goodness before and during reheating.

              1. re: woodburner

                I tried to ease the confusion by mentioning my roast is tied. It's one of those irregular chuck steak cuts, all rolled and tied up into a (relatively) consistent sized round.

                1. re: mels

                  Relax, you're overthinking/worrying about it. If it's not a tender quick sear on each side done sort of steak, you're fine. Just braise it for 3 hours and see how it is, if it's no done it's not done, let it go a bit longer. As I said, if you're really pressed for time portion it up and braise then instead of one huge hunk of beef, it will cook faster since you have more surface area exposed to the hot liquid.

                  btw, how'd it turn out?

              2. And here is the family standard straightr from the 1950s.

                Have flat cut chuck 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick.

                Sprinkle an envolope of Liptons onion soup on top.

                Enclose tightly with aluminum foil to seal in juices and steam.

                Add 1 cup of water if you want plenty of au jus.

                Place in roasting pan just in case, and cook 2.5 to 3 hours in a 300 degree oven.

                These roasts were meant to feed 6 to 8 adults. And left overs for sandwiches the next day.

                1. Cut the big roast in half, put both pieces in your pot, and proceed as you would for a smaller chunk of meat. You won't need to increase the time.

                  1. Thanks for the advice all, it turned out great! Hauled out the Le Creuset, did a big sear in a little oil to get a nice brown crust on all sides, dumped in some aromatics and liquid which came up about half way on the side of the roast, brought it to a boil, then put the lid on and let it simmer very gently on the stove for about 4 hours.

                    I was overthinking this, mainly because I grew up in the house of awful pot roast- either not tender enough or stringy and overcooked (sorry, Mom!). I apparently feel the need to make up for it as an adult!

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: mels

                      How big was your pot? How many people did the roast serve? I have a 5.5 quart pot and I'll be having 8 people over, plus myself and my husband. I'm just not sure if a 5 lb roast will fit in my pot and if it will be enough for 10 people. Thanks!

                      1. re: smmeyer724

                        You may want to use a roasting pan and cover it with foil. You should have enough for 10, hope your going to add lots of root veggies for them as well.

                        1. re: smmeyer724

                          I used my 7-1/4 qt. Dutch oven and my almost 5 pound roast fit perfectly. I am thinking 5.5 qt. will be too small. cstr had a good idea about using acovered roasting pan instead.

                          The (almost) 5 pound roast fed 9 with some leftovers, but not much. I am thinking 10 people is perfect for a 5 pound roast, so long as your guests don't have huge appetites. I would ramp up the sides as an insurance policy!

                          1. re: mels

                            cstr - great idea. I had considered buying a bigger pot, but I do have a large roasting pan which should work.

                            mels - thanks for the update. I thought the 5.5 might be too small. Was it difficult to sear all the sides? I have a hard time picking up the meat to turn it, it's so awkward. I have some tongs. Maybe a fork and tongs?

                            Either way, thank you both for your responses!

                            1. re: smmeyer724

                              Hi smmeyer- it wasn't difficult to sear it though I try to move it as little as possible. Get the oil ripping hot, plunk down the seasoned roast, then after a while I do a tiny peek underneath until I have the desired color crust. When I do, I flip it using only tongs. However, good tongs are key. I have had crappy tongs in the past that grip terribly. I am not sure where I even bought my tongs, but they are a good sturdy stainless with which I can easily grasp items big and small.

                              1. re: smmeyer724

                                try to avoid a fork, no holes is better.