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Isn't a pot roast cooked in a POT?

I see threads where people discuss their pot roasts and often they mention roasting times in their oven. I've always cooked a pot roast in a pot on a burner on my stove top. The oven doesn't get turned on if I'm making a pot roast. I use this method to tenderize larger, tough cuts of beef. The beef steams in the pot for hours. A better cut of beef can roast in the oven. So is an oven roasted piece of beef a pot roast too?

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  1. Some people sear on the stovetop and cook the pot roast (in a pot) in the oven.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ttoommyy

      I sear and then cook in the slow cooker often and I call it a pot roast, but maybe I'm cheating.

      It tastes good.

    2. I prefer to cook a pot roast in a covered it in the oven as I find it easier to keep the heat even.
      Many people do this, many prefer stove top.
      Contrary to the Cooks Illustrateds etc, there is more than one way to do things.

      4 Replies
      1. re: magiesmom

        I'm like you. I sear and then cook in the oven. Easier to maintain a low temp... with no tending.

        1. re: c oliver

          Yes, I do sear on stovetop first, unless I am making my aunt's no sear brisket recipe.

          1. re: c oliver

            I sear, set meat aside, add onion, garlic, some beef stock. Put in a small rack, place beef on the rack then crimp foil tightly around lid. On the stove top at a low heat setting it cooks unattended for hours, till I'm ready to let the roast rest, make the gravy & serve.

            1. re: c oliver

              I have a gas stove, and even with a diffuser on the lowest setting you have to watch it carefully for burning.

          2. My grandmother always did pot roast in the oven.

            1. It is really about searing the meat on the stove and then cooking it at a low and steady temperature. It can be on the stove, in the oven or in a Crock Pot. It really depends on how much attention you want to give to the dish as it is cooking.

              1 Reply
              1. A pot roast in our family was always a seven bone roast, cooked as you describe, Lois.
                It describes a specific luscious meal to me, something I rarely encounter now that i'm an old man living alone. It has to have the potatoes and carrots cooked in with the roast too. :)

                5 Replies
                1. re: bbqboy

                  Can't forget those onions bbqboy... and I always drop in a clove or 2 of garlic. Helps to create a gravy worthy of that luscious meat.

                  1. re: bbqboy

                    I never add vegetables until late in the cooking process. Otherwise, IMO, they're mush and only good for making gravy with.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I love em when they turn to mush. :)

                      1. re: bbqboy

                        To each his/her own. I ate enough overcooked vegetables growing up in the South :(

                      2. re: c oliver

                        Agreed, so I add the second batch of prepped vegetables - longest cooking items first (potatoes, carrots, turnips) then red onions etc. Depending on temp I allow 1-1/2 hr for the second batch to become tender. Prepped veggies make all the difference.

                    2. It goes in the oven in a covered pot. It's called braising.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        And yet....isn't pot-roasting different? My Grandma made hers in the oven, covered, with no liquid. Then made a gravy out of the drippings. To me, braising is partly immersed in liquid.

                        1. re: mwhitmore

                          she made a roast, not a pot roast, despite what cut of meat and what she and you call it.

                          1. re: mwhitmore

                            I brown my roast, then set it on a round rack so it sits above the liquid in the pot. I find if it's partly immersed in liquid for hours, the bottom half has a different texture & flavor. I prefer my roasts completely steamed (braised), not partially boiled.

                            1. re: i_am_Lois

                              In my round DOs I make a 'donut' out of aluminum foil.

                        2. the term is just about the enclosure used or not.

                          I hate pot roast. hate it. (sorry, was I vague? I hate it. - more for the dog.)

                          5 Replies
                            1. re: hill food

                              just outta curiosity, what is it about the pot roast you don't like?

                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                the type I grew up with was flavorless, no real broth no salt cooked until stringy. had to floss between bites. the very idea makes me cringe to this day. I have since had it done right, but it's not 'better' enough to bring me around.

                                I'd rather just do a regular (rare) dry roast even with a cheap cut.

                                1. re: hill food

                                  I think I have to agree. Just had too many overcooked, flavorless, mushy vegetables pot roast growing up. It's a bias and one I'm not real interested in overcoming :(

                                2. re: Gastronomos

                                  I can't put my finger on it... not really into any kind of braised beef. I made some short ribs earlier this year, braised in guinness and stock etc and SO raved, and I thought "meh".... just not into them. Odd, because I love dry roasted beef, and beef in general.

                              2. My pot roast is cooked in a pot. Is it the oven piece you are taking issue with in regards to whether it can still be a called a pot roast?

                                While oven *roasted* beef is different from a pot roast the two methods you are describing result in essentially the same dish. Both are braised using two different methods. Because of my stove top I find that I get more consistent results in the oven. It's still a pot roast.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: foodieX2

                                  I understand what you're saying and it all sounds logical to use a pot, with braising as the cooking method... and your oven as the source of heat. Yes, I would call that a pot roast too. I have gotten the impression from reading other discussions that some people use a roasting pan, put some foil over it, pop it in the oven & call that a pot roast. I guess my issue is mostly with the vessel used and not so much the heat source.

                                  1. re: i_am_Lois

                                    I use a pot with a lid, never aluminum foil. And I discovered after many years of cooking my pot roasts on the stove, that when they are prepared in the oven, the result is far superior.

                                    But, unlike you, I actually braise the meat in the liquid. In my case, that liquid almost always includes red wine. If I find it's cooking too quickly on the "down" side, I turn the meat over.

                                2. It's pot-roast, one word, not two with emphasis on POT.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: paulj

                                    hmm but that does expand the possibilities for a dry-rub..

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      well when I typed in pot roast (minus the dash between pot and roast) I found Wikipedia has an article about pot roast. Nowhere did it indicate that the word pot roast was one word. I also looked it up in various dictionaries (www.thefreedictionary.com, www.merriam-webster.com, www.oxforddictionaries.com, dictionary.reference.com, dictionary.cambridge.org, www.collinsdictionary.com, www.macmillandictionary.com, www.yourdictionary.com, They all have the meaning for pot roast (without the dash between the 2 words).

                                      1. re: i_am_Lois

                                        Yes it is written as 2 words, but how do you speak and think it? It also has its own entry in the dictionaries.

                                        But my basic point is that the dish has an identity that is not simply the sum of its parts. It isn't simply a roast cooked in a pot.

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          " It isn't simply a roast cooked in a pot."

                                          well sure in an ideal world. can you PLEASE disabuse my immediate family? I can't pay travel expenses.

                                          nope, for them it's just a lump of beef in water. maybe some overcooked onions or carrots or potatoes. period.

                                          1. re: hill food

                                            I have memories of dry meat with too little sauce that had spent the morning in the electric skillet while the rest of us were a church. But I also have memories of snagging the round marrow bone, both for the marrow and the chewier membrane around it.

                                            Without other qualifiers, I think of 'pot roast' as one of the less interesting braised beef dishes. The flavorings are too bland for my taste. I'd rather use wine, garlic and a ton of black pepper (though pepposo might be better described as a stew).

                                            1. re: paulj

                                              I'm with you, I'd rather do a beef Bourginon (sp?) or something than what I grew up with.

                                    2. " I use this method for to tenderize larger, tough cuts of beef. The beef steams in the pot for hours."

                                      you taught me a method for "pot roast" I have never heard of before, "steaming" meat, on a rack, in a pot, on the stove top.

                                      That said, the diners I know boil an eye round in water, maybe some chicken base until it's "tender" and make a "gravy" with the "stock" by adding a slurry of flour and water... and it's easy to slice and serve . . . easy to slice. and serve.

                                      In our home, we've always used Chuck Roast. Large cuts of Chuck from the shoulder of beef. Browned well, in a 13.5 Qt Le Creuset, finely chopped onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, salt and pepper and dried oregano, bay leaf or two and flour, wine, stock, water and the beef, bring to a boil, and place in slow oven, so I don't have to keep an eye on it for hours. Why would I want to risk scorching it? Since I don't use a rack to steam it.
                                      When done, gravy is already made in the same pot as well since I added flour in the beginning.
                                      I steam carrots, celery, small onions (boiling onions), and whatever other vegetables I want, add them to the gravy and beef and let set on the counter for at least one hour before serving.

                                      Short ribs was always a different dish for us. Those get oven braised in a roasting pan. And are more tomato based. Not pot roast. Not a roast.

                                      Ultimately, do as you like, if you like, as some write here that they are so used to bad versions, no good version will win them over.

                                      Still, to me, FWIW, a boiled eye round and a steamed large cut of beef do not sound like pot roast to me, but if it's flavorful and enjoyable, "a Rose by any other name..."

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Gastronomos

                                        one of those 'used to bad versions...' here

                                        now that sounds good, that coupled with the step of searing the cut.

                                        but no, it's just a roast dumped in a crock pot in water, no dredging, no sear, all the vegetables added at the same time. no garlic, no wine. no bay, no salt, no pepper, no sage, no gravy, just the cooking 'jus' (greasy stock really.

                                        god forbid I try to 'help' as it's taken as a mortal insult and someone is pouty for a few days.

                                        1. re: hill food

                                          I sampled a "beef stew" made for us last year by someone who added all the raw ingredients at once to a crock pot. To be nice and say something about our meal, I complimented him and said that it's a good thing he used boxed beef broth. :-/

                                          1. re: Gastronomos

                                            well you tried. (and that's nicer than what could be said for him)

                                      2. I sear on the stove top and cook in the oven: the oven assures even heat from all sides, rather than just the bottom of the pot. (I also crimp a layer of aluminum foil over the pot before I put the pot top on.)

                                        It's pot roast. Braised in a pot. Just in the oven instead of on the stove.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Karl S

                                          Good point about the heat coming from all sides. I also baste every hour or so.

                                        2. I don't know if this has any basis in reality - I'd love to ask somebody like Alton - but I always liked the idea that if I cooked it on the stovetop, all the heat was coming up through the liquid at the bottom of the pot.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: WNYamateur

                                            No, it's not. That liquid comes to a boil, and release water vapor, which itself conducts heat. The thing about the stove top is that you are unlikely to know what the temperature actually is. In the oven, you'll know.

                                          2. I believe when people mention roasting times in their oven with respect to pot roast, they are referring to roasting the meat IN A POT in the oven. So I see nothing inaccurate about the term "pot roast" for that method. Regardless of whether the pot is on the stove top or the pot is in the oven, it is still a "pot roast" because the meat is roasting (or more accurately, braising) inside a pot.

                                            1. As long as it is cooked in a pot, and braised in some liquid, I consider it "pot roast." I often start on the stove and finish in a low temp oven. The oven is easier to control lower temps for a long period of time.