From America's Test Kitchen Season 11: Old-Fashioned Sunday Dinners
Pot roast can be boring and bland full of dry, stringy meat, stubborn bits of fat, and wan gravy. We wanted a meltingly tender roast sauced in savory, full-bodied gravy.
To start, we separated the roast into two lobes, which allowed us to remove the knobs of fat that stubbornly refused to render and also shortened the cooking time. Salting the roast prior to cooking improved its flavor, as did sautéing the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic before we added them to the pot.
Some recipes use water as a pot roast cooking liquid but when we tried this, the gravy turned out as you’d expect—watery. We had better luck with beef broth. Other flavor-boosting ingredients went into the pot as well: garlic, tomato paste, red wine, thyme, and bay leaves. The resulting gravy boasted a rich, complex character but its flavor didn’t stray from the dish’s simple roots. Finally, sealing the pot with aluminum foil before securing the lid concentrated the steam for an even simmer and fork-tender meat.
Serves 6 to 8
Our recommended beef broth is Rachael Ray Stock-in-a-Box Beef Flavored Stock. Chilling the whole cooked pot roast overnight improves its flavor and makes it moister and easier to slice; for instructions, see “Make-Ahead Pot Roast.”