Pot roasts are a holiday staple for many but for the majority of us, they form an important part of our cooking and eating routine. I like them because they not only taste good but they are very easy to prepare, and anyone, yes anyone, can make them and they will be delicious. You can confidently volunteer to make a pot roast for everyone, knowing it’ll turn out great.
Now, the secret to a good one is having the best cut of meat for pot roast.
Believe us when we tell you that the cut of meat you use can make or break your pot roast. Why is it important to get the right cut? Just keep on reading to know if you can add pot roast to your menu.
Table of Contents
What Is a Pot Roast?
A pot roast does not actually pertain to the meat itself. Rather, it is the method with which you cook your chosen piece of meat. In most cases, it is beef that has been braised for a long time. For some, it is a piece of meat that has been cooked with broth and other aromatics.
After choosing the type of meat you use, the next most important about the pot roast is that it is cooked slowly and at a low heat setting.
With that said, there are a lot of ways you can cook a pot roast. You can just simply use a casserole, but others prefer a more convenient way, which is via a slow cooker.
What is so distinct about a pot roast is that it tends to be perfectly brown at the outside, but it is so tender and moist inside. To make a pot roast a full meal, some people add vegetables or even pasta (at the last minute), so you can enjoy the taste of the meat throughout your dish.
What Meat to Use?
Before we go into specifics when it comes to the best cut of meat for pot roast, let us first discuss what you generally should look for. This may come as a surprise, but you should use the meats that are generally regarded as the toughest cuts.
Now, when we say tough meat, we are pertaining to lean cuts that tend to have a lot of connective tissue. Also, they should also have little to no fat since this is the part of the animal that tends to get a lot of movement. In short, the best cut is the one where you think you will be chewing leather. So why should we use tough meat? Again, the name of the game is low and slow, so you have to use a type of meat that can handle the long cooking process.
Then again, do not expect your tough meat to remain tough. When cooked in the right way, what happens is that the collagen in the tough cut will break down into some sort of gelatin. This will then tenderize the meat and make it so rich and succulent. This also oozes out into the stock, which makes it turn into such a rich sauce.
Best Cut of Meat for Pot Roast
Let us now discuss the different types of meat that is best to be used on your pot roast.
- Bottom Round Roast
This cut is usually used for cooking regular roast beef, but it also works well with pot roast. This is the rear part of the cow or the round primal of a cow. In some countries, it is also called rump roast, bottom round, or London broil.
Keep in mind that it is also leaner than a chuck or a brisket, therefore, it needs more fat so your roast will not dry out.
- Beef Chuck Roast
This is the best cut of meat to use for pot roast. It is boneless and found at the front portion of the cow. It can also be called as boneless chuck roast, chuck roast, chuck seven-bone pot roast, shoulder steak, beef chuck arm, and chuck shoulder pot roast.
Even though it is a lean cut, it tends to have a lot of marbling, which will make your roast very juicy. You can also use a cut that is above the shoulder, which is slightly higher than the short rib. This cut is slightly tougher, but it tends to be more affordable compared to short loin or sirloin.
There are definitely a lot of different cuts from the front part of the animal, so you can just ask your butcher on what cut to get, just specify that you would like something from that area. Most probably though, when you say pot roast, this is the cut that your butcher will give you.
- Beef Brisket
This cut of meat is located at the lower chest or the breast of the meat. Also, this usually comes with long strands of meat. If you use a flat cut, it is a bit leaner, but when you use a pointcut, that has a bit more fat. Again, it has a lot of connective tissue so the collagen will break down and tenderize the meat naturally.
Of all the cuts in this read, this one is actually the cut that has the highest fat content. However, the fat does not really retain its natural state because it melts down into the many fibers of the meat. If the butcher leaves large pieces of fat on, just cut off the excess as you do not need a lot for a pot roast.Other names for this cut are beef brisket flat half, flat cut, or beef brisket point half. For most people, when they use this cut, they do not really use a lot of broth because, again, the fat usually mixes with the broth, and you would not want to saturate the fat with too much liquid.
Did you survive our very delectable discussion? If you did, then head on over to your butcher and find these tough cuts. When you get confused, always remember that the rule of thumb is the tougher the cut, the better.
At the same time, if you are not sure that you want a cut that has more fat than another that is leaner, you should, keep in mind that it is better if the leaner cut has a bit of marbling.