Slow cooking at a low temperature is the secret to making a perfect chuck roast. The combination of patience, the right equipment and a little bit of technique results in flavorful, tender beef. If roasts are a frequent centerpiece of your meals, think about investing in a heavy cast-iron roasting pan with a tight-fitting lid.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Peel and coarsely chop an onion; peel and slice carrots; peel and cube potatoes; and mince a couple of garlic cloves.
Leave most of the fat on the roast to keep the meat moist and flavorful.
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Sear the Roast
The best pan for perfect chuck roast is a heavy, cast-iron roasting pan with a tight-fitting lid, but you can sear the meat in a heavy-bottomed pan on top of the stove and transfer it to a regular roasting pan with a tight lid.
Season the meat with salt and pepper, and then sear it on high heat. Use tongs to flip the meat, and to hold the meat upright as you sear the sides. (Do not use a fork to flip the meat—it lets the juices run out.) Searing the roast creates the Maillard reaction—the bit of kitchen science that causes protein and sugar to interact, browning the meat and creating that distinctive beefy flavor.
Remove the pan from the stove.
Add Seasonings and Vegetables
Scatter the chopped onion, cubed potatoes, sliced carrots and minced garlic around the roast. Add fresh herbs like thyme, basil and rosemary; it’s not essential to strip the leaves off the stalks of the herbs. Add about an inch of beef broth to the roasting pan, cover tightly and put in the oven. Do not add salt at this step—the broth normally has sodium, and the finished product may be too salty if you add more.
Cook the Roast
Let the roast cook low and slow for at least 2 hours. The length of time depends on the size of the roast, so check it for doneness with a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat. The temperature should read 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and the meat should be fork-tender. Take the roast out of the oven when it’s done, remove the meat from the pan and let it rest a few minutes before slicing.
Strain the vegetables and remove the herb stalks. Make gravy with the juices in the pan.
Native New Yorker Meg Jernigan stayed in Washington, D.C. after attending the George Washington University, and worked in the tourism industry with the National Park Service for many years. She’s a dedicated foodie with an extensive cookbook collection and years of experience in the kitchen. Jernigan’s recipes have been published online and in magazines like Southern Living.