The secret to a great pot roast

By Kitsey Burns Harrison -
Kitsey Burns Harrison -

My Mamma was an amazing cook. She never made anything real fancy, mind you, just good ol’ southern home cooking. Everything she made was delicious though.

Her best friend since childhood used to marvel at Mamma’s meals. “I never thought you’d be able to boil water,” Carolyn Ann would say with a laugh. My Granny Jo, Mamma’s mother, was known for her wonderful cooking and Carolyn Ann would often compare Mamma’s cooking to Granny Jo’s.

I think, in part, what made Mamma’s meals so good is the love she put into making them. She loved to cook for people and see them enjoy the food she had prepared. Even something as a simple as a grilled ham and cheese sandwich tasted better when Mamma made it.

One thing Mamma did struggle to master, however, was a pot roast. She was convinced that hers just wasn’t any good. She thought her sister Lucy got all the skills when it came to making pot roast. Once she wanted to have Aunt Lucy make a pot roast for her to serve at a dinner party she was having for some friends.

She actually ended up making the roast herself and it was delicious. She told very dear friend Rod that she had plotted on having Aunt Lucy make the roast for her though and he never let her live it down. Every time he’d come for dinner and Mamma served a roast he joked and asked her if Aunt Lucy had made it.

I think the moral of the story is, the grass may be greener on the other side, but your pot roast is just as tasty as your sister’s!

My favorite way to make a pot roast is in my slow cooker. I love the smell of it cooking all day long. I actually wanted to try making one in my new pressure cooker, but I finally decided to just put it in the CrockPot instead.

Everyone has a special secret that they claim is what makes theirs the best. Getting a good sear on the roast at the start of the cooking process is what I think Mamma struggled with. I definitely think that can make or break your roast. I like to season mine with salt, pepper, garlic powder, a little paprika and sear it in some bacon grease in my cast-iron Dutch oven. I then remove it from the pan and sauté some onions in the drippings. Once the onions have gotten some color on them, I add about two tablespoons or so of flour to make a roux and deglaze the pan with some red wine. I add the meat and red wine and onion gravy to my slow cooker and add some additional beef broth or water and some beef bouillon granules. It is delicious!

I surveyed my friends and each of them has a different secret to their roast. Several friends mentioned balsamic vinegar. Red wine, dry French onion soup mix, dry AuJus mix and even dry ranch mix were several other “secret” ingredients my friends mentioned. They all sound delicious to me!

Kitsey Burns Harrison is a reporter for The Yadkin Ripple. Here she shares her musings on food, life, love and motherhood. She may be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.

Kitsey Burns Harrison Burns Harrison

By Kitsey Burns Harrison