This post was originally published on November 28, 2016 and was updated on September 6, 2020. This beer braised pot roast recipe is the ultimate in reimagined comfort food. Perfectly seared beef roast is cooked low and slow with beer, onions, garlic, and fresh herbs. It’s a simple dinner that is impressively flavorful!
There’s nothing quite like a dinner of pot roast. So classic, so comforting. This one is something special with a luxurious gravy made from craft beer and beef stock. Aromatics like garlic cloves and fresh herbs provide so much flavor in this delicious dish! Serve with a side of buttery mashed potatoes and garlicky green beans for the perfect Sunday supper!
For this recipe, you will need:
- Beef Roast (Chuck, Eye, or Round)
- Brown Ale
- Beef Stock
- Fresh Thyme, Rosemary, and Oregano
- Garlic and Onion Powder
How do you make beef roast tender?
Braising a roast is one of my favorite ways to prepare beef. It’s a gentle cooking method that is mostly hands off and leads to a tender, moist, and flavorful piece of beef. The trick to tender pot roast is two-fold. First, it’s important to cook the roast with enough liquid. Too little liquid means there’s a risk of it evaporating during the cooking process. If this were to happen the roast would dry out and become tough. Second, it’s imperative that the pot roast be cooked slowly at a low temperature. Low and slow is the name of the game. This allows the connective tissues and fat in the roast enough time to relax and fall apart, leading to an incredibly tender and succulent piece of beef.
How to braise pot roast in the oven
- Set the oven to 300. We’re cooking this baby low and slow.
- Season the beef. With salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder.
- Sear the roast. In an enamel Dutch oven. On all sides. Searing the meat creates a gorgeously deep brown color that adds another layer of flavor to the final dish!
- Add the aromatics. A whole head of garlic, a sliced onion, and a big bundle of fresh herbs.
- Add the braising liquid. A mixture of beer and beef stock. It’s important to have enough liquid to keep the beef moist during cooking.
- Cook the roast. In the preheated oven for 3 hours. Don’t look at it, don’t touch it. Just set it and forget it.
- Remove the roast to rest. Discard the herbs and squeeze all those beautifully roasted garlic cloves into the sauce.
- Skim the fat off the sauce. And bring it to a boil and reduce by half. There’s no thickener in this pan sauce. It’s so delightfully decadent without it.
Adding flavor to roasts
This recipe uses quality ingredients to highlight and compliment the natural flavors of beef. Really, there is no need to be fancy when it comes to a good cut of beef. Salt, pepper, onion, and garlic are the perfect seasonings. Generously coat the beef roast on all sides with the spices before searing in a heavy bottomed pan. Searing the meat will create a beautiful dark brown crust along the outside edges of the roast, without cooking it all the way through. This is fabulous and necessary because those brown bits are exploding with flavor! The use of whole garlic cloves, fresh herbs, and an onion serve as aromatics that add even more potent flavors to the roast and it’s pan sauce. Cooking the pot roast in beer means it absorbs all the malty, roasty, and toasty qualities of the brew. How divine!
How to make a pan sauce
Say hello to the easiest way to make gravy ever! Unlike a lot of recipes for roast, this one doesn’t require any sort of flour or cornstarch slurry. Because the flavors of this dish are so wonderful as is, there’s no need to add anything else to dilute it. Simply skim off the fat and reduce the cooking liquid by half. The garlic and onions break down in the sauce even more as the gravy cooks and the flavors get so concentrated and so succulent. My mouth is watering just typing this!
Roast Beef Tips and Tricks
- Using fresh herbs. Whenever a slow cooking recipe calls for a large number of herbs, I take the easy way out. Instead of doing all the slicing and dicing of processing fresh herbs, I make an herb bundle! To do this: gather all the fresh herbs into a bunch and tie together with baker’s twine. Throw the bundle into the pot and when finished cooking simply remove the whole lot from the liquid. The herbs will still imbue all their flavor into the dish, with a fraction of the prep time. (If fresh herbs aren't available to you, simply use half of the amount of dried herbs in place.)
- Roasting garlic. Much like with the herbs, there’s minimal prep to the garlic in this recipe. Take the whole head, skin and all, slicing off a small portion of the top to expose the cloves and place cut side up in the pan. To use the cloves (which should be perfectly roasted) simply squeeze the roasted head cut side down, into the pot and discard the skin. When doing this, be sure to use caution as the garlic will be quite hot!
- Skimming the fat. Removing some of the fat off of the cooking liquid before reducing is an integral part of making a quality pan sauce. Skipping this part will result in a gravy that is horribly running, gooey, and much too rich. A large serving spoon can be used to skim the fat, or even a fancy fat separator. A great trick is to make the roast a day in advance of serving and refrigerate it. When the fat gets cold, it rises to the top of the cooking liquid and solidifies. This large disk of fat can easily be removed and discarded the next day before serving!
Beer Braised Pot Roast
- Dutch Oven
- 3 pound beef roast chuck, eye, or round
- 2 TBSP kosher salt
- 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 TBSP canola oil
- 2 TBSP salted butter
- 1 large white onion thinly sliced
- 1 head of garlic top sliced off
- 3 Thyme Sprigs
- 3 Rosemary Sprigs
- 3 Oregano Sprigs
- 12 ounces brown ale
- 32 ounces beef stock
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Place a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. While it’s heating, season all sides of the roast with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders. Add the canola oil and butter to the hot pot. Sear the meat on all sides until a good crust forms, about 2 – 3 minutes per side.
- When roast is seared, add onion, garlic, and fresh herbs (tied into a bundle, if desired). Pour in beer and enough beef stock to come ¾ of the way up the roast. (Refrigerate any leftover beef stock.)
- Place in center rack of oven and cook, covered, for 3 – 3.5 hours, until liquid is reduced by half and the roast is fork tender.
- Remove roast from the pot and allow to rest while you make the pan sauce.
- Remove the herb bundle and discard. Gently skim the fat off the liquid in the pan and discard. Squeeze the cloves out of the garlic head and discard the skin. Place the Dutch oven over medium high heat and bring the liquid to a rolling boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half. Spoon over roast to serve.