The Best Cuts Of Meat For Pot Roast

In the dead of the winter months, when every morning requires a pair of thick gloves and sturdy snow shovel, there are few dinners you'll enjoy more for dinner than the mighty pot roast. And usually cooking a great pot roast isn't too tough: you get yourself a big pot (usually a Dutch oven), throw in some diced onions, potatoes, carrots, and other winter veggies, and braise your beef in red wine or some other savory liquid. It's hard to screw up, and goes great with other belly-filling sides like mashed potatoes or thick egg noodles.

But before you chuck any old cut of beef into your pot, you should know that just like any meat recipe, some cuts are better suited to the dish than others. As it turns out, you can braise various cuts of beef to make pot roast, and the tougher the meat, the better they'll take to this low-and-slow cooking method. Want to find out which cuts make the best pot roast? Read on to find out.

Beef chuck makes an excellent pot roast

As mentioned above, tough cuts of meat loaded with lots of connective tissue — the muscle groups animals use for mobility — are the best choices for pot roasts. This is because, during the couple hours it takes for the braising process to complete, this type of meat breaks down and becomes oh-so-tender, notes Kitchn. Additionally, these cuts stay moist over long cooking times, as large amounts of collagen break down into gelatin, bathing the meat and reserving its succulent taste.

ButcherBox says the best beef choice that meets top-quality conditions is beef chuck roast. This tough meat is cut from the shoulder above the short rib and braises into a perfectly tender pot roast. This tender cut is often sold as chuck shoulder pot roast, chuck roast, beef chuck arm, shoulder steak, chuck seven-bone pot roast, beef chuck, or boneless chuck roast, advises Kitchn. Although labeled differently, these meats are all cut from the same part of the cow.

Brisket makes a great pot roast, too

If you've ever tried beef brisket dry-rubbed-and-smoked, BBQ style or Jewish-braised, then you know that this cut of beef breaks down into rich, tender strands of meat and is easily shredded apart with a fork. According to ButcherBox, brisket is a wonderful choice for pot roast, as well. Cut from the chest, or the lower, front portion of the animal, brisket has quite a bit of fat.

The fat breaks down in a braise and enriches the sauce the pot roast cooks in, creating a flavor bomb you can soak up with thick-cut bread or buttery mashed potatoes. Brisket is commonly labeled as flat cut (a leaner piece of meat, according to Kitchn), beef brisket flat half, and beef brisket point half (a fattier cut). It's good to note that this cut is more expensive than the chuck roast mentioned above.

Bottom round roast is another good choice for pot roast

If you've ever piled rare roast beef onto a sandwich, you were likely eating bottom round roast, a cut typically used to prepare the slow-roasted meat (via ButcherBox). While roast beef is cooked dry, bottom round roast takes very well to the moist, slow-cooked braising method used to make pot roast. This method cooks meat down into a tender roast. According to Kitchn, bottom round roast is cut from the rear leg area of the cow and is also sometimes called bottom round or rump roast.

As noted by ButcherBox, this is a very lean cut of meat that might require some extra fat to remain tender while braising in order to prevent chewy braised beef. Drizzle some extra olive oil over the pot roast before covering and braising it, or spoon some lard, beef tallow, or butter into the pot before cooking. Whether you're tucking into a chuck roast, a brisket, or a bottom round roast, you're sure to end up with a lovely, delicious pot roast.