Slow-Cooking Season: The Best Beef Pot Roast Cuts

pot roast cut

Image credit: Flickr user Dominic Milner

The humble pot roast should be a staple of your winter cooking repertoire. Cheap, hearty and tasty, pot roasts can feed a lot of hungry mouths and aren’t difficult to cook up.

One mistake that is often made is choosing the wrong pot roast cut. While more expensive and tender cuts are the way to go for grilling and the barbecue, the ideal pot roast cut is a little different, as we explain below:

What Exactly Is a Pot Roast?

A pot roast doesn’t really refer to a specific cut of meat – it’s more a style of cooking. Simply take a nice big cut of beef, brown it off and then cook it over a low heat. You’ll want to keep the meat covered and use plenty of stock or broth to cook the beef until it melts in your mouth. You’ll end up with a more flavoursome and tender piece of meat.

Tougher Cuts Make for Great Braising and Slow Cooking

As a general rule of thumb, tough meat makes for the ideal pot roast cut. By this we mean lean cuts with plenty of connective tissue and not too much fat. Basically, the kind of cuts that you would never dream of searing on your grill, because you’ll end up chewing for hours.

Pot roast cuts such as these contain a lot of collagen, which breaks down into gelatin when cooked on a low heat. This process tenderises your meat and adds flavour and thickness to your braising liquid, resulting in a smooth and tasty sauce.

Which of the Tougher Cuts Should I Choose?

Topside or Knuckle

Meat from the rear leg area of the animal contains a lot of connective tissue and is great for braising. Your butcher will have these cuts to fit the bill.

Brisket

Brisket contains long strands of meat from the chest area of the animal. You’ll want a cut that is sliced against the grain for slow cooking if possible. Remember, the point end brisket is fattier while the navel end cut is leaner.

Chuck or Blade

The Chuck and the Blade are cuts that come from the forequarter of the animal, and there are a number of chuck and blade cuts that are ideal for pot roasts. Choose oyster blade, bolar blade or chuck eye roll for a great pot roast.

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The information in this article is adapted from The Kitchn. For more about pot roast cuts and braising, check out our Best Beef Cuts for Slow Cooking.