Beef roast is a classic, comforting meal that is so simple but can seem so intimidating to so many. Here, I’ll debunk three mistakes you might be making, as well as a recipe for super simple success.
One of the biggest challenges of being in the thick of this “busy” phase of life is finding time to make supper. A few nights a week, one of the kids has a practice or I have a meeting to attend right before we’re supposed to eat. Even if they don’t, I often find myself chopping vegetables or stirring something on the stove with a toddler begging, “up, Momma, up!” at my feet and twin boys wrestling (screaming?) in the background. So a super-simple meal that practically cooks itself is a God-send for these days.
(Also, side-note: do you say supper or dinner? I’m a supper girl, myself. But if you’re a dinner person, no hard feelings. Just know that from here on out, supper = dinner. Glad we cleared that up.)
My mom was a master cook. She made delicious meals. Yet her repertoire wasn’t filled with recipes that required even an hour to put together. Instead, she had many simple, tried and true recipes that she’d worked all the kinks out of over many years of cooking for a family of six. One of everyone’s favorites was her roast beef.
A frequent remark I hear from people when roast beef comes up in “what are you making for supper?” conversations is the complaint that their roasts always come out dry. People rarely believe how easy cooking a fantastic beef roast truly is — until they give it a try with some corrections to a few simple mistakes.
Here are three common mistakes people make when cooking a beef roast — and how to fix them:
If you look up recipes for beef roasts, so often you’ll find a complicated concoction of spices, seasonings, wine and Worcestershire (anyone who can say that word without becoming tongue-tied gets a dollar!) sauce.
But it doesn’t have to be that way!
In my mom’s “recipe” (I use the word “recipe” loosely because it’s less of a recipe and more of a “method”, really), she used one thing: an onion soup mix packet. That’s it. No pinch of salt, no sprigs of thyme or spoonful of tomato paste. Just a packet of dry onion soup mix.
Cooking Your Roast Too Long… or Not Long Enough
It goes without saying that if you cook your roast too long, it will be tough.
That being said, the same thing happens if you don’t cook it long enough. In the method below, you’ll check on your roast after cooking a few hours. Oftentimes the first time you check, it will not pull apart easily with forks. This does not mean you’ve overcooked it. It does not mean you need to give up and go to McDonald’s. What it means is you need to stay calm, put the lid back on your roaster, close the oven door, and allow it to cook another hour or so more.
When you come back to check at that point, it should pull apart much more easily… and your heart palpitations can calm themselves the heck down! Trust the process.
Using the Wrong Cut of Meat
Not all cuts of beef are best for making a fall apart, tender roast with. That’s because they do not all have the amount of connective tissue necessary to break down slowly and make the meat super tender.
So what are the “right” cuts of beef that lend themselves to the perfect roast? My first choice by far is a beef chuck roast. Otherwise, a bottom round or brisket will work as well.
You’ll notice these cuts have a fair amount of fat marbling. Do not be tempted to cut out this marbling. I repeat: do not cut out or trim away this marbling. Leave it! You can remove it before/during the shredding process after it’s been cooked, but please, leave it until then. It provides excellent flavor and deliciousness you don’t want to miss out on.
So now that we’ve highlighted three mistakes you may have been making, let’s get on with the star of the show and the reason we’re all here: supper for tonight!
A delicious, tender, fall-apart beef roast that cooks itself and requires only two ingredients.
- 2-3 lb. beef chuck roast
- 2 oz. packet onion soup mix
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place roast in roaster pan.
Pour enough water in roaster to reach about a half to three-quarter inches deep.
Sprinkle contents of onion soup mix packet over the roast and water.
Place lid on roaster and allow roast to cook three hours if thawed; four hours if cooking from frozen.
Remove roast from oven and try to shred with forks. If it pulls apart easily, shred to your liking and allow to sit in its juices for a few minutes before serving. If it does not shred easily, pull meat apart as best you can and add more water, if needed. Place cover back on and return to oven for another 30-45 minutes.
Repeat step five as needed until roast falls apart easily.
Roast can be cooked from a frozen state, but will take a little longer than if cooked when thawed.
In our house, I serve this alongside mashed potatoes (my husband’s favorite), green beans (MY favorite!) and some warm, crusty bread.
Also, just to be sure you noticed… this can be cooked from a frozen state! I know, I know. Total game changer, right? Now you have nothing in your way if you’ve forgotten to take the roast out to thaw in the fridge the day before. That said, you are not supposed to cook a roast in the crock pot from frozen — this method is specifically for the oven.
It’s truly an incredible supper hack — super simple, super delicious… what more could you ask for?
Don’t forget to pin this recipe using my pins below so you can come back to it!