Cooking a Roast in a Crock Pot

Years ago, cooking a roast in a crock pot meant placing a rump roast in a crock pot with potatoes, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and returning hours later to a simple meal ready to eat. The best benefit of this style of cooking was that the crock pot did all the work while you are off running errands or working 9 to 5. Upon returning to the kitchen, a wonderful aroma greeted you and your family. Your crock pot became a maid with an apron.

Cooking a roast in a crock pot has evolved to a whole new level of taste and adventure. The simple pot roast dish has now become quite exotic. But before you find out how to make the exotic versions, it’s good to get the simple recipe of cooking a roast in a crock pot down pat,

Basic Recipe, Cooking a Roast in a Crock Pot

Pot roast is truly one of the easiest meals you will make. There are four simple steps:

  1. Cut vegetables into big chunks, cover crock pot bottom with them.
  2. (optional) Season and sear meat.
  3. Place seasoned meat on top of vegetables.
  4. Add liquid. Cover crock pot and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Step 2 is optional. On days where you don’t have the time to do anything except throw the vegetables, roast, herbs and liquid into the crock pot, simply eliminate it. You’ll still get good flavor.

When you do decide to season and sear the meat, here’s how to brown it: 

  1. Heat a tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Season the meat by sprinkling herbs and spices onto meat or rub into the meat.
  3. Brown meat on all sides.
  4. Remove meat. Now it’s ready for the crock pot.

Browning the meat seals in the rich flavor. It’s not essential to do this, but can help. However, if you’re adding a lot of exotic, unexpected flavors, you may not choose to or need to brown the meat at all.

Making Pot Roast in the Crock Pot into an Exotic Dish

Now it’s time for the details. How can you take a simple recipe and turn it into a masterpiece? There are only five steps.

  1. Consider the type of meat you’ll use for your roast. Almost any type of meat will work. Good choices include: pot roast, chuck roast, brisket, top round, rump roast, bottom round, and tri-tip.
  2. Select your overall flavor you’d like to have for the meal. Do you want it spicy? Sweet? Sour? Soy sauce? Cloves, cinnamon and allspice? Gingersnaps? Creole? Onion? After you decide what overall flavor you want, collect your spices and make up your seasoning mixture. Generally you can use 1/2 teaspoon to one teaspoon of three or four spices to create your seasoning mixture.

Here are some ideas:

  • Spicy: chili seasonings, barbecue sauce, chipotle chili powder, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, Dijon mustard, curry powder, ginger
  • Herbs: parsley, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, coriander, onion powder, cumin
  • Sweet: molasses, brown sugar, honey, dried cherries, figs, apple, dried prunes
  • Tomato: salsa, catsup
  • Other flavors: Italian dressing, gingersnaps, Creole, bacon, taco seasoning, soy sauce, bourbon, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, onion soup mix, mushroom soup

Rub the herbs or your seasoning mix into the meat. 

3. Select your vegetables. Here are some possibilities: onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, diced tomatoes, turnip, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, yams, chili peppers, mushrooms, sauerkraut, porcini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, green pepper, jalapenos, celery and zucchini.

Slice the vegetables into chunks. You’ll want to fill up the crock pot about half way with the vegetables. Do that now.

4. Now, put the meat on top of the vegetables. You’ll need some type of liquid to keep the roast from burning. About 1-1/2 to 3 cups is plenty. The types of liquid you can use could be: water, beef broth, tomato juice, even coca-cola and Dr. Pepper, burgundy wine, orange juice, tomato sauce, cider, coffee, barbecue sauce, cream of mushroom soup and white wine.

Whatever liquid you choose should match your seasoning. For example, if you are seasoning your roast with allspice, cinnamon, cloves and molasses, then cream of mushroom soup most likely won’t be a good match. Neither will tomato juice. You may try orange juice, apple juice or water. And then throw in a handful of dried cherries or figs.

Here’s another example: if your seasoning is Dijon mustard, oregano, basil and garlic, the liquid could be coca-cola, burgundy wine, white wine, or water. You would dilute any of these liquids, mixing it in a 50/50 combination with water.

5. Your last step is to cook the crock pot on low for at least the next 8 hours.

And that’s all there is to cooking a roast in a crock pot. Now go create the best-tasting roast you’ve ever had!



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