Roasting 101 – It really IS Simple!

posted by Andrea | 09/28/2011

Growing up, my family had a big “Sunday Dinner” every single Sunday — no questions asked. And if you’re wondering what “Sunday Dinner” is — it’s a huge roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, rolls, applesauce, and usually some type of fruit or jello salad.

My dad was actually the cook on Sundays and he was {and still is} in charge of making all the food each Sunday while my mom stayed after church to direct the choir, practice the organ, etc.

You might think that eating the same thing week after week after week would get old… but I can honestly say it doesn’t! I can remember when I was asked to write my most favorite food for a project in Kindergarden — most of the kids wrote “candy”, “ice-cream”, or “chocolate” — I wrote, “Sunday Dinner”!

The delicious smell of a big beef or pork roast that filled our kitchen and wafted into our entryway and garage as we arrived home from church is something that will NEVER grow old!

And while I don’t make a roast for Dave and the girls every Sunday, I do make some type of roast on a semi-regular basis — either during the week or for “Sunday Dinner”.

It’s just such an easy meal to make. You only get one pan dirty, you don’t need to chop, mix, stir, or measure anything, and you don’t need to constantly check on it. Just stick it in the oven or in a crock pot and come back a few hours later to a delicious, home-cooked meal.

Buying a Roast:

I am definintely not an experience meat purchaser and I’m sure I don’t buy the highest quality meats! I mainly just wait for our favorite roasts to go on sale and then I stock up and put them in our freezer. Our favorite type of roast is the Boneless Chuck-eye Beef Roast.

I can usually find them for less than $3 per pound — or like the picture below, I get them on the clearance rack for 40% off {I removed  the 40% off sticker so you could see the meat better.}

 

If you are wondering how BIG of a roast to buy, the “rule of thumb” is usually to figure on at least a 1/2 pound per person.  If the roast has a large bone in it {or if you want a lot of leftovers} you’ll need to factor that in to the weight as well.  I usually buy nothing smaller than 2.5 – 3 lbs because the leftovers are amazing!

Preparing a Roast:

I actually don’t have a “recipe” for making a roast — because it is just THAT simple.

All I do is sprinkle the meat with salt, pepper, meat tenderizer, and then rub a little Kitchen Bouquet seasoning sauce over the surface {this helps the meat turn dark brown and it flavors the gravy too}.

Once the meat is seasoned, I throw it in my roasting pan and arrange a few sliced onions and chuncks of celery around it — also to flavor the gravy. Then I pour about one cup of water {you could also use broth} into the pan, put the lid on, and stick it in the oven.

 

Cooking a Roast:

I usually cook a 3-4 lb roast for 2.5 – 3 hours at 325*F. Obviously, a larger roast will require longer cooking time — and I would definitely suggest lengthening the cooking time versus increasing the temperature as hotter temperatures could dry the meat out.

However, I can almost guarantee that if you have water in the roasting pan and you keep the lid on, it will be nearly impossible to “over cook” the roast and make it too dry.

When there are about 45 minutes left, I pull the roast out of the oven and add a bunch of carrots. If we’re not having mashed potatoes, then I might add a bunch of potato chunks in too.

Then I put the lid back on and stick everything back into the over for another 35-50 minutes {or until the carrots and potatoes are soft}

 

Serving a Roast:

Once the meat is done, I take it out of the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes on the counter {still in the roasting pan with the lid on.} This helps it to be juicier and produce more gravy. After 20 minutes or so, I take the meat, carrots, and potatoes out of the pan and put them on a serving platter.

NOTE: I do NOT cut the roast yet…just let it sit there in chuncks

I put the lid for the roasting pan over the serving platter and stick the platter back in the oven on low while I make the gravy, mash the potatoes, and get the rest of the meal ready.

 

Once the rest of the meal is ready to go, I take the meat platter out of the oven and GENTLY pull apart the chunks of meat — I do not cut the meat!

And if you’re wondering why I’m so adamant about not cutting the meat, it’s because “cutting” the meat required that you go AGAINST the grain — which makes the finished product taste more tough and dry. However, if you simply “pull” the meat apart, you go WITH the grain and the meat is much more tender, juicy, moist, and delicious. 

It might be a little “messier” to eat, but seriously, this makes a BIG difference!

 

Here is my finished product — a huge platter of deliciously browned beef with carrots {that now have the flavor of the meat juice cooked into them}, and a bunch of other delicious side dishes to accompany my most favorite meal!

Oh, and whenever I make a roast during the week, I put it in the oven and then challenge myself to see how much I can get accomplished during the 3-hour cooking time. It’s like a little game… with a super delicious reward :)

Do you have a favorite way to cook roast or other meats?

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17 comments

  1. Joy Crile

    09/28/2011

    Growing up my husband always had the traditional Sunday roast. My family however typcially had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch as it was super quick after church (and we lived 45 minutes away from church). Now that I have a family, we have breakfast for lunch on Sundays. We always have pancakes and eggs and then we rotate between sausage and bacon and sometimes even have hash browns. Our boys love it too!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    We love breakfast too — I’m actually preparing a quiche for dinner tonight. It’s just a simple {and very frugal} meal! However, after 26 years of “Sunday Dinner”, I’m not sure I could switch to breakfast on Sunday just yet!!

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    Joy Crile Reply:

    By the way, I am making your hot ham n cheese sandwiches tonight! The ysound yummy and I needed a quick and easy meal for schedule tonight. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kristin Reply:

    I made those Monday night! Fabulous and my leftovers were delicious! Even my one year old stuffed his face full of little bites :)

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  2. Kristin

    09/28/2011

    This must be the “year of the roast”, I’ve seen lots of blog posts about making roast and I haven’t seen one I don’t like yet. In fact we’re having roast today. I threw a 3 lb roast in the crockpot this morning with a can of mushroom beef broth, a bag of baby carrots and some coarsely chopped onions. I’m very much looking foward to going home :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yum… I don’t do crock-pot roasts very often, but whenever I hear delicious recipes like yours I always think “I should make crock-pot roasts more often”!!

    [Reply]

  3. sarah

    09/28/2011

    I grew up on Sunday roasts too! Oddly I seem to cook them during the week since our weekends are more crazy than out weeks, or I’m home at the right time of day. The smell of lamb roasting (I’m a Kiwi) on a chilly Sunday is my happy place. Add dessert of either pavlova or apple crumble mmm YUM!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    lamb…yum! That is one food I’ve never had but I hear it is excellent. Maybe you’ll have to share your “lamb roasting recipe”!!!

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  4. Megan Camp

    09/30/2011

    After I had my baby boy last year, one of my good friends brought me pot roast pie. When she makes a roast and has leftover meat, she puts it in a pie shell with mixed veggies, some seasoning and loads the top with mashed potatoes and sometimes serves it with gravy and sometimes without. I think when she brought it to us she called it “Beef Pie.” I was a little skeptical until I tried a bite. It was AMAZING! It was just like a chicken pot pie idea only with pot roast and that flavor of the meat made it so delicious. You should definitely try it sometime with your leftovers. They freeze well and you might be able to stretch one roast for the first meal, and two pies. MMmmmm…makes me want a roast now so I can make the pie afterwards!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Megan, I’ve made this MANY times as well — both with a pie crust {beef pot pie} and without the crust {beef stew}. Both are our favorite ways to use up left over roast, potatoes, veggies, and gravy.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Jenni

    10/01/2011

    It doesn’t get better than a roast made in the crock pot, and it’s such an easy meal for Sunday (when I’ve usually spent all day policing weekend chores and homework assignments). To mine, I add bay leaf, cloves, and Worcestershire sauce. A few minutes before dinner, I just drain all of the liquid out and use it to make a tangy gravy. Fan-tas-tic. Another great thing to try is to add a can of cream of mushroom soup and a teaspoon of garlic powder over the top. This is one of the few meals where leftovers seem to mysteriously vanish from the fridge.

    [Reply]

  6. Suzanne

    10/01/2011

    My son just saw this post and said, “Yum, yummy!” We’ll see tonight when we have this! I’m so looking forward to a crockpot version of this tonight. I’m so into the fall feeling even though it is still in the 90′s here in Arizona. A note on the Kitchen Bouquet: I searched and searched in the spice area (thinking it was like tenderizer) and had to have a clerk help to search with me. We found it more with the meat liquid seasonings in case readers ask. :) Happy fall to you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks Suzanne — how was your roast tonight??
    yes, Kitchen Bouquet is more by the seasonings area — however in my grocery store, the seasonings and spices are in the same isle so I suppose I never thought to mention that.
    Hope you and your son enjoyed the roast!

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  7. Dianne@Baking4Six

    10/13/2011

    My grandmother, who recently passed this year (she was 102), always used Kitchen Bouquet to make homemade gravy; the tradition has been passed down to my father and to me. KB has been around since the late 1800′s. Too bad the bottle is plastic now.

    [Reply]

  8. Tracy

    07/29/2013

    Andrea, I look forward to reading your blog every day! I have tried several of your recipes and my family of (4) picky boys have loved every thing I’ve tried so far. :) I just came across your recipe for Sunday Dinner roast and thought you may enjoy one of our favorites. I use a FROZEN, boneless chuck roast and sprinkle 1 or 2 packets (depending on the size of the roast) of Lipton Onion or Beefy Onion soup mix over the meat and add potatoes, carrots, onions and celery. I cover the pan (I use a 9 x 13 aluminum pan) tightly with aluminum foil and cook at 325 deg. all day. NO PEEKING UNDER THE FOIL! Peeking will cause the moisture from the frozen meat to leak. I’ve been cooking roasts this way for 25 years and NEVER had one dry.

    [Reply]

  9. Shelly

    08/08/2014

    This may sound funny but how do you make your gravy with the juices? I am a horrible gravy maker and need help. :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I just remove the meat from the pan and add in flour or cornstarch mixed with water to the juice in the bottom of the pan. Then whisk it over low heat until it thickens… done!

    It’s a pretty simple process but you just need to play with it a bit until you fit the “right” way for you.

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