Beer-Braised Pot Roast

Carmelized onions. Hint of shallots. Last bottle of Yuengling Lager from last weekend’s burger feast. Score: the roast with the most.

How many times have you seen that commercial for Fresh Direct where Cynthia Nixon keeps asking “What’s the TLC? Where does it say TLC?” Well, not all recipes necessarily need TLC. With some, you can walk away perfectly aloof to a simmering pot for a couple of hours, and come back to a balanced, tender, moist and delicate hunk of roast. The only tender loving care I gave to this dish was actually slicing the meat, since it splintered so much it would fall apart with a touch that was too rough. Sounds a bit incongruous for a way to handle a hulking wodge of beef. So forgive me, vegetarian friends, as I indulge.

Equally loved by French and Germans, beer is a simple, one-step cooking liquid that reaps complex, savory results. I didn’t even need to add any more salt or spices to the dish after seasoning the meat before browning it. I’d seen it prepared with only onions before in a French dish, and it’s uncanny how similar the flavor of this resembles a really good French onion soup. Not like beer at all. I chose a really mild beer for a lighter taste (alright, it was just what I had lying around), but I’m sure it would be fun to try all kinds of hoppy ales and darker brews as well.

Beer-Braised Pot Roast
(makes about 4-5 main-course servings)

2 1/4 – 2 1/2 lb beef roast
3 medium yellow onions, coarsley sliced
2 shallots, coarsley chopped
1 bottle beer
1/4 cup water
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 Tb olive oil

Rub salt and pepper onto all sides of roast. Heat oil on high heat in a heavy, medium large pan or dutch oven. Brown beef on each side for about 5 minutes a side. Remove from pan. Turn heat down to medium low and add onions and shallots, stirring and scraping up bits from the bottom of the pan for about 5 minutes. Place roast back into pan and pour in beer and water. Cover, and simmer for about 2 hours. Flip roast onto its other side about halfway through cooking. Season to taste and serve with potatoes, noodles, or bread. If desired, sauce can be thickened with flour to serve as a gravy.

Cost Calculator
(for 4-5 servings)

2.25 lb natural beef roast: $8.50
4 medium onions (at $1.69/bag of 6): $1.13
2 shallots (at $2/bag of 8: $0.50
1 bottle Yuengling Lager: $1.60
Salt, pepper, olive oil: $0.05

Total: $11.78

Health Factor:

Five brownie points: Depends on how lean your roast is. By all means, trim as much fat away as you can since the meat will be so tender and flavorful anyway once it’s done braising, you don’t really need it. Even though it tasted really heavy and satisfying, my roast was really lean so I didn’t see any grease floating around. The onion-y sauce can be used to coat any sides so that they don’t need much butter or oil.

14 Responses

  1. rachel

    Yum! We made something similar with kohlrabi and beef.

  2. Leslie

    I made a similar roast last weekend when the weather turned cold again. I added a can of beef broth along with the beer, then put the entire thing in the oven for a couple of hours. The resulting liquid makes a delicious gravy!

  3. Kitty

    I made pot roast this weekend too, but didn’t get nearly as exciting results. I followed the Tyler Florence recipe that was on Food Network this past week, where tomatoes are the only acid, and even though the sauce was yummy, the meat was very dry.

    I would typically add wine, but now I can’t wait to try beer!

  4. Yvo

    Mmm, yummy. Sounds fabulous and looks even better.

  5. […] Beer-Braised Pot Roast […]

  6. Jerry Sherwood

    my father used to use beer all the time in
    browning his pot roast
    always tasted great

  7. Jerry Sherwood

    my father used to use beer when browning his pot roast yrs ago I always thought he was crazy but it sure tasted great

  8. Nathan Osborn

    I just used this recipe and decided to use a black ale. the flavor is so much more flavorful than a lager.

  9. erindipity

    It would seem cooking with beer is a male idea. My older brother introduced me to it a few years ago, along with beer butt chicken. I have to say it is now by far our favorite way too make a pot roast. I have tried it with several types of beer ranging from cheap bud light to more expensive fruit flavored and micro brewed beers. Make sure you go with a good quality beer for the best flavor.

  10. […] of making my standard pot roast or swiss steak, I happened across a recipe on the internet for beer braised beef (from [redacted]’s del.ici.ous […]

  11. […] Beer-Braised Pot Roast. A shout-out to one of my new favorite food blogs, “Not Eating Out in New York” and to Yuengling, one of my favorite beers. Plus it’s a great recipe for my NH folks who are a wee bit covered in snow (you’ll have to do without the Yuengling though, unless you want to drive down near Boston to buy it). […]

  12. Anonymous

    I just made this and it was terrible. We followed the recipe precisely using a darker scotch ale and it turned out dry and grey and completely unappetizing. A waste of a perfectly good roast, two shallots, three onions, and of course, a perfectly adequate bottle of beer. Thanks, but no thanks

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  14. Mike

    I never liked roasts much, until I tried one myself, and with this recipe.

    Hands down best roast I’ve had in my life. I LOVE braised roasts!

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