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