How to Prepare a Traditional Roast Beef

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Slice at least half the roast beef before serving.
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Start to finish: 2 1/2 hours Servings: 4 to 6 Difficulty Level: Beginners


The traditional roast beef meal with side dishes or all the fixings is the kind of no-frills, home-and-hearth, come-to-dinner meal that stops conversation until everyone comes up for air. Traditional is as much an approach as a recipe type. Diners expect an impressive cut of beef, preferably surrounded by steaming country vegetables, that is tender and juicy. Although the sirloin or tenderloin beef cut is ideal for oven-roasting, the less tender, fat-marbled chuck roast is a more flavorful favorite and just as juicy and tender when the cooking is done by braising, a method inspired by the James and Everette - What's Cooking at Home website.

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  • 2 ½- to 3-pound chuck roast
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into slices


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and move the rack to the middle of the oven.


Before placing the chuck roast in the oven to cook, brown it on top of the stove in a small amount of oil.

Brown and Sear

Lay the chuck roast on a flat surface for seasoning. Sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides of the beef. Use other seasoning, such as garlic, if you choose.


Set a large pot or roasting pan on the stovetop burner. If possible, use the same roasting pan you will use to cook the beef in the oven.

Add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil and heat the oil at medium-high. Test the temperature with a drop of water – if the water sizzles the oil is hot enough.


Carefully place the beef in the pot and allow it to brown quickly on all sides. Use two large forks to turn the beef. Browning and searing, which happens quickly in the hot oil, should not take longer than 3 minutes.



Use large forks to spear and remove the chuck roast from the stovetop pan, if using a different pan for braising, to a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the beef and, if you choose to add them, vegetables.

Add 1 cup of water to the roasting pan and spread the onions around the sides of the chuck roast.



Place the lid on the roasting pan or cover it tightly with aluminum foil.

Place the roasting dish in the oven and cook the beef for 2 hours.

After the beef has cooked for 2 hours, uncover it and let it cook for another ½ hour. If you intend to add vegetables -- such as sliced or cut potatoes, carrots and celery -- do so at this point.


After the full 2 ½ hours cooking time, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the beef. The chuck roast should be 145 F when done.

Remove the chuck roast from the oven and set it aside to rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Serve the chuck roast on a large platter or in a serving dish if the meal includes vegetables and gravy. Sprinkle fresh parsley flakes on the vegetables before serving.

From Roast Beef to Pot Roast

Turn your chuck roast into a complete meal, often called a Yankee pot roast, with vegetables and gravy. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add potatoes, carrots and celery or other favorite vegetables to the roasting pan. If you prefer, add the vegetables at the start of cooking and reduce the heat to 300 F. If your family requires gravy poured over the beef and vegetables, make gravy using 1/4 cup of juices from the roasting pan, 1 tablespoon cold water and 1 tablespoon of flour; whisk to mix and return to the pan for the remaining 1/2 hour of cooking.

Variations and Tips


  • Braising in a slow cooker or Crock-Pot also results in tender chuck roast. Follow the recipe to prepare the beef for braising, place the chuck roast in the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling from the bone.


  • For a tender slice of beef, cut across the grain of the beef and diagonally.


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