Many years ago, I wondered why my chuck, arm or rump roasts were always turning out not so hot. They were continuously dry and hard to chew. I noticed my husband putting on more than enough BBQ sauce each time, probably trying to mask the taste. One day, I was watching a cooking show and the gentlemen was searing his roast before he put it in the oven. He never explained why he was doing this, so the show left me curious. The next day, I started experimenting with searing a roast.
Over the years, preparing a roast for the crock pot has become an art of perfection. I begin with thawing my meat either in the sink the day before then putting it in the fridge once thawed. Or, thawing it in the fridge, two days before. We buy our meat from a packing plant so my cuts are always frozen. Thus planning is a must. I never put a roast in the crock pot frozen. By the time it is thawed out and simmering, you are probably nearing dinner time. Roasts in the crock pot must cook at least 10 hours. This has been the magic number for me. It might be different for others though depending on the thickness of your meat and your crock pot.
I am always up at 6:30. This is the time I take my roast out of the fridge to come to room temperature. I have found that the roast will brown better if it isn’t cold. After an hour, I begin the process.
I start by seasoning my meat. You can use whatever you like, but I’m a simple gal so I choose salt, pepper, and garlic powder. My roast cuts are 3 pounds so I load up on the amount of seasonings used. Make sure to season both sides.
Next comes the skillet. I sear over a medium-high flame with 4 Tablespoons or so of oil in the pan. I don’t necessarily measure the oil, just eye it ensuring the bottom of the skillet is covered. Never put your roast in a cold pan to sear. Once you have the oil in, give it a few minutes to heat up. The roast should sizzle when you lay it in.
Each side should take at least 5 minutes. I like mine looking like this:
Through many attempts of cooking a roast in the crock pot, I have found that searing it first caramelizes the outside layer and leaves the roast with a robust flavor. I know this for a fact because I used to put my roasts in frozen. Big mistake. I’ve also noticed that my roasts are easier to eat and not as tough. So you could say that the juices are held in better. The overall look of the roast has improved with searing as well. The meat has a texture to it and is more appealing to the eye. Without searing, your meat typically looks grey and bland.
When I have it in the crock pot, I cover half of it with water. I also add some liquid smoke, worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, and onion slices. I set my timer for 9 hours on low. I have it shut off automatically one hour before we eat. This way it has time to absorb extra juices and get to a warmer temperature so it is easier to eat.
I typically serve a roast with baked potatoes, rolls, and a salad. The family seems to have enjoyed the meal more over the past few years.