The Best Type Of Meat To Use For Pot Roast

Many would agree that pot roast is an American classic. You can fix a fantastic pot roast with as little as four main ingredients or throw everything but the kitchen sink in the pot. To be honest, you almost have to really try to ruin a pot roast.

Such versatility and ease of preparation make pot roast ideal for busy families and cooks on the run who still want to prepare wholesome, homemade meals. Like most beef dishes, the secret to a tasty pot roast begins with the meat.

With steaks and other beef dishes you may look for the most heavily marbled and tenderest cuts of the cow, but pot roasts are a bit different. Because you cook them slowly and allow the meat to steep in its own juices, the tissue you typically avoid is just the ticket for adding extra flavor to your roast. Let's dive in a little deeper.

What is a pot roast

Pot roast could be considered more of a cooking style than an actual recipe or specific dish. A hunk of beef is placed in a closed container and allowed to simmer in its own juices until it's tender and almost falling apart. Most people add different aromatics and vegetables to the pot, but these are not a necessity. They are simply for added flavor, nutrition, and texture.

Part of the beauty of a pot roast is that there are so many ways of cooking one. Today, most people opt to cook a pot roast in a slow cooker, and realistically, this is probably the most foolproof method. However, oven-cooked pot roast was, and might still be, the gold standard, and yet a dutch oven and bed of coals will work just as well.

In short, if you slow-cook beef in its own juices, you are preparing a pot roast. 

What to look for when buying a pot roast

What should you look for when shopping for meat for a pot roast? In a YouTube video from award-winning Cowboy Chef Kent Rollins, he advises looking for cuts of beef that come from the parts of the cow that do the most work. This means cuts from the back end of the animal. According to Rollins' website, his favorite cut is the bottom round, but there are many different types of roast that you can use to create delicious meals.

According to the National Beef Association, the best cuts for a roast starting at the cow's rear are the top, center, or bottom round roast. You will often find all these marketed as rump roasts. From there, we move to the fore shoulder area. While not as dense as the haunch, this area still provides plenty of muscle that is full of flavor. Chuck roast tends to be a bit pricier than the round sections, but when cooked properly it will literally fall apart. 

Below the chuck section of beef is the brisket. You may think of this cut when Texas BBQ is on the menu but don't sell it short. The same characteristics that make it ideal for barbeque make it a fantastic cut of beef for pot roast recipes. And you shouldn't worry about the connective tissue. They will cook down and become tender in the same process they go through when you make homemade bone broth.