While there are quite a few different cuts that make a great pot roast, I like to use a nice brisket for a tender yet fairly lean result. Here, I show you how to make a pot roast with great flavor and reliable results – my recipe is packed with garlic, onion, carrots, fresh herbs and a rich gravy and it turns out fall-apart beef every time.
The brisket I’m using here is about two and a half pounds, but the process is the same for larger or smaller cuts of meat. While I’ve used onion, carrot, and potatoes here, you can definitely play around with the amount and type of veggies you’re using. I love onion so I used two of them; I also love garlic which is why I used a whole head. By the end of the dish they are so soft and tender and delicious. But if you prefer more carrots or even another root veggie like a turnip, go for it.
1 (3-pound) beef brisket (preferably flat cut)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup ketchup (see Recipe Notes)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
Prepare the brisket, set it in the slow cooker. Pat the brisket dry with paper towels. If your brisket has a particularly thick fat cap, you can remove it now — I almost never bother, though, as the fat makes for an even more luxurious brisket. Sprinkle the brisket on all sides with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Place it in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
Brown the onions and garlic over medium-high heat. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook until softened and beginning to brown and char in some spots, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more.
Add the spices and cook until fragrant. Add the smoked paprika, black pepper, thyme, oregano, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until very fragrant, about 1 minute.
Move the onions and garlic to the slow cooker, covering the brisket. Carefully transfer the onions over the brisket.
Deglaze the pan with the beef broth, then add the sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the broth, and use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape all the lovely browned bits up off the bottom of the pan. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, and tomato paste, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then pour over the onions and brisket.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Add the potatoes and carrots to the slow cooker, tucking them around the brisket. Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 6 to 8 hours. The brisket is done when it easily shreds when pulled, but it shouldn’t be falling apart.
Serving and storing the brisket. Transfer the brisket to a clean cutting board. If desired, use a spoon to scrape the fat cap off. Now you can slice and serve the brisket immediately, or slice the brisket and return it to the slow cooker to cool and then refrigerate — this is ideal for serving the dish to guests or if you’d like to remove more fat from the dish since it will harden. Serve the brisket with the potatoes, carrots, and a generous spoonful of the cooked onion and sauce.