Crock-Pot® roast beef is a dish in which a cut of beef is prepared in a slow cooker. This method of preparation takes advantage of the moisture trapped inside of the slow cooker, and uses that type of heat to tenderize the meat inside. Vegetables may be added to this meal by allowing them to cook inside the Crock-pot® with the roast.
The type of cut used to cook a Crock-Pot® roast beef is usually a chuck roast or a round roast. This cut of beef may be found on the front or hind quarters of the animal, and generally contains a high degree of connective tissues. This tissue requires that the meat be cooked for an extended period of time in moist heat so that the meat and tissues may soften. These cuts are typically not suitable for use in oven roast recipes, as the dry heat produced by the oven elements is not sufficient to tenderize the meat.
There are a variety of recipes available, both in cook books and through the Internet, that detail the many ways in which to prepare Crock-Pot® roast beef. Cooking times may vary depending on the type of slow cooker used, and the time in which the chef requires the roast to be done. If the roast is cooking in moist heat alone in the slow cooker, it is often best to allow the meat a maximum amount of time to soften. Temperatures may be set to low in this type of recipe, and the cooking time may be extended up to eight hours. If vegetables are being prepared in the Crock-Pot® in addition to the roast, then it may be preferable to set the temperature to high and allow the meat to brown only between four and five hours to preserve the integrity of the other foods.
Any type of liquid may be used in the slow cooker to form the basis for the moist heat. Dissolving onion soup packets in water and allowing the roast beef to add its juices to create a savory and beef infused flavor is a popular choice for many cooks. The water may be substituted for beef broth, either canned or homemade, and a can of French onion soup may be used instead of the powdered onion soup packets. To create a thick and hearty sauce that may be served along with the roast beef or over mashed potatoes, cooks may use several cans of beef gravy in addition to one can of beef broth. Fresh onions should be quartered and added to the simmering mixture when using this type of recipe to enhance the flavor of the gravy.
Vegetables commonly cooked with Crock-Pot® roast beef include baby carrots, golden potatoes, celery, and onions. With the exception of the baby carrots, the vegetables can be cut into large chunks before adding them to the slow cooker. Chefs may find it beneficial to layer their selected cut of roast beef on top of the vegetables inside the Crock-Pot®. This arrangement allows the vegetables to simmer in the soup or gravy that is being used to cook the meat, while soaking in the fat and flavor of the meat.