Pot Roast

Makes 12 servings.

Pot roast is a method of cooking and brisket is a cut of meat, and yet the words have become interchangeable and incorrectly used.

Pot roast is a comfort dish, which is convenient to make for large crowds. It freezes very well and leftovers are good reheated.

I braise the meat flat, as it is. Midway, I stop the braising, I cool the meat and slice it (this method allows me to better control slicing the meat). Then I continue cooking the meat until it is fork tender.

If you use an enameled cast iron Dutch oven such as Le Creuset, you will be able to refrigerate the meat in the same pan in which it cooks.


  • ½ ounce imported dried Italian mushrooms
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 5 pounds boned first cut brisket of beef, bottom part, trimmed of all fat (See Note)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • One 14.5 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 bunch thyme, tied with a string.
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place mushrooms in a small dish and pour over boiling water. Cover and let stand for ½ an hour.
  2. Strain mushroom liquid through a fine mesh sieve, squeezing mushrooms over strainer to extract all liquid; set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 325F.
  4. Pat meat dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large enameled cast-iron Dutch oven until hot. Sear meat on both sides over high heat. Transfer the meat to a platter and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Sauté the onions and garlic in the pan drippings. Return the meat to the pan with the reserved mushroom liquid, mushrooms, tomatoes, wine and thyme.  Bring to a boil. Cover the pan with a sheet of heavy foil and then the lid. This method retains the heat better.  Braise the meat for 1hour, turn over and braise for another hour (the meat shrinks quite a bit).
  6. Cool.  Slice the meat across the grain into thin slices, I like mine 1/8 to ¼ inches thick.
  7. You may have to rotate the meat in order not to lose the grain.
  8. Return the slices to the pan and bring to a boil. Return to the oven to braise for about 3 more hours. The meat should be fork tender.
  9. Discard the thyme.
  10. To degrease the sauce. You can either skim off the fat, or I prefer to pour the cooled sauce into a dish and leave it in the freezer for a short while. The fat will rise to the top, making it easy to discard. 
  11. Season the sauce to taste.  If you like a thick gravy you may want to boil the sauce over high heat, uncovered.  You decide the consistency that you like. 


It is difficult for me to recommend the right cut of meat because everyone has a preference. By that I mean, some people like the top part and others like the bottom part.  I cook it with the bottom part.

If you chop the onions and the garlic in a food processor be sure to quarter the vegetables first.

 I prefer to defrost the frozen meat in the refrigerator. 

If you do not have a fine mesh sieve to strain the mushroom liquid, line the sieve with a paper towel and then strain it.