If you bring up the subject of roasts around my mom she will talk about the wonderful Sunday roasts my dad’s grandmother Cornie made in the oven. She swears that no one can cook a roast like Cornie. My mother-in-law makes wonderful roasts as well. If there is anything I dread to hear at the table it is, “Well, it’s good, but not as good as my moms.” (Even after 11 years of marriage I still hear that when I attempt to make cookies. Result: I rarely make cookies!) How do I cook a roast so that it is tender and falls apart so that we don’t have to chew and chew until our jaws ache? Here are a few tips that I have learned from a lot of trial and error.
· Start with fresh or completely thawed meat. We often get beef roast from my in-law’s farm or I stock up with a good sale. I cannot take the roast out of the freezer a few hours before cooking it and expect good results. Roasts don’t require a lot of work, but they do require thinking ahead at least 24 hours if they are sitting down in my deep freezer. Never put a frozen roast in the crock pot and expect much from it!
· Slow and Low-I make my roasts in the crock pot. It needs 8 hours, maybe 7 if I am lucky and in a hurry. The mistake I make is thinking, “It looks done so it must be ready.” No, it needs time to cook down and fall apart!
· Acid-Acidity helps tenderize the meat. Vinegar, wine or a citrus can all be used in small amounts for big results. Sometimes I am really on the ball and soak the meat in the acid while it is thawing and that makes for a juicy roast!
If I start with the guidelines above I can go anywhere with flavor. Sometimes I go for a sweeter flavor with fruit, though often onions, garlic, salt and pepper are enough for a flavorful base. Rosemary balsamic marinade is one of our favorites, and Crockpot365 has some wonderful recipes as well.
Don’t let roasts scare you. They are a great protein and easy to stretch into several meals making them quite cost effective. Try it for shredded meat sandwiches, stir fry, burritos, or my husband’s favorite--beef and noodles.