The BEST Crock Pot Roast Buying Guide
Here’s why we suggest buying a cheap cut rather than spending a lot on your roast. Learn which pot roast to buy to save the most and get the best result in our Crock-Pot Roast Buying Guide. Because slow cooking a roast gives it time to get really tender and juicy, and taste amazing — despite the price! So, if you love pot roast, don’t miss this handy guide!
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DO: when slow cooking, look for roast cuts with the word “ROUND” in them (e.g. “top round,” “eye round,” “bottom round,” “bottom round rump roast,” etc.)
Slow cookers are ideal for tougher, fattier and inexpensive cuts of meat, like stew meat and shoulder cuts.
DO NOT: believe it or not, do not use expensive cuts of meat in a Crock Pot. Stay away from lean cuts of meat, expensive steaks and chicken breasts. Save the good stuff for grilling, or cook on your stovetop or in the oven. When lean meat is cooked for a long time can actually get tough. The fat in a cheap cut of meat will tenderize it over a long cook time.
Check out this PDF from Cooks Illustrated: An Illustrated Guide to Beef Roasts
TIP: Salt the meat a full 24 hours before roasting and cook at a very low temperature for 6-8 hours (medium or low setting on Crock Pot). This allows the meat’s enzymes to act as natural tenderizers, breaking down its tough connective tissue, called collagen.
What is a Roast?
Roast is a thick cut of meat (beef, pork, etc.) Roasts can be cooked in dry heat, called roasting; or in moist heat, called braising or pot-roasting. In moist heat, a small amount of liquid is used and container is closed. Preparing your roast in a Crock Pot or slow cooker would be an example of moist heat braising.
DRY HEAT (Roasting):
- Method: oven, stovetop, barbecue
- Type: Tender cuts of meat with less connective tissue
MOIST HEAT (Braising or Pot-Roasting):
- Method: Crock Pot, slow cooker, pot roasting; cook in closed container with small amount of liquid for a long period of time
- Type: Tougher cuts of meat (shoulder, rump, other heavily exercised parts of the animal) ~ cook in moist heat (braising or pot-roasting)
TYPES of Beef Roast:
Tougher cuts (shoulder, rump, other heavily exercised parts of the animal) ~ cook in moist heat (braising – slow cooking with small amount of liquid for long period of time – or pot-roasting)
- Deli Roast Beef
- Top Round Steak/Roast
- Rump Roast
- Pot Roasts
- Short Ribs
- Blade Steaks
- Petite Tender (Flat Iron) Steaks
- Corned Beef
- Barbecue Brisket
- Foreshank Roast
Tender cuts are more expensive and are great for barbecue, pan frying or oven (but not for slow cooking!)
- Strip Steaks (Sometimes called New York, Kansas City, etc.)
- Porterhouse Steaks (includes strip and tenderloin, tenderloin is greater than 1.25″)
- T-Bone Steaks (includes strip and tenderloin, tenderloin is less than 1.25″)
- Filet Mignon (Tenderloin Steaks)
- Sirloin Steak, Top Sirloin Steak