Braised Arm Roast

When Mark was a boy, his mom always started her roast early on Sunday morning so that it was ready by the time they got home from church. She learned from her mom that a long, low oven temperature yields a truly tender roast.

And here is the bonus. Leftovers freeze extremely well in freezer bags, which are then easily defrosted in the microwave for a quick weekday lunch. Just right on Bread from Heaven rolls or Focaccia.

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Time: 4hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
1 (3-4 pound) chuck arm roast (commonly labeled as chuck arm, arm roast, pot roast)
1 tablespoon roughly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
If possible, select your roast directly from the butcher instead of selecting prepackaged cuts. The cost per pound is the same and yet the shape and trim is generally superior. To prepare, remove the roast from its packaging and place on a large plate; pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle seasonings evenly over the roast and massage into the surface. Cover with an inverted bowl; set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing. Drying the surface assists browning and helps the seasonings adhere.
Taking the chill off promotes even roasting.
Place an oven rack in the lowest position; preheat convection ovens to 250°F (verify with an oven thermometer). Ovens often run hot or cold, or preheat slowly.
6 cups (24 ounces) sliced white or yellow onion Meanwhile, prepare and set aside.

Tip: Place each onion on its side, cut off and discard both ends. Cut in half from pole to pole; peel off any layers that look dry or tough; discard. Place cut sides down and slice to 1/4-inch, holding the pieces together as you work.

Holding slices together reduces exposure to eye-irritants.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into several pieces Once oven is preheated, place a 6-quart enameled cast iron dutch oven over medium heat and circulate the butter, to evenly coat the bottom. When it starts to foam (2-3 minutes) add the roast fatty side down. Sear 3 minutes. With big tongs, turn and sear the second side 3 minutes; remove dutch oven from heat. Preheating the dutch oven discourages sticking and promotes searing (rapid browning). Searing adds incomparable flavor to meat.
2 bay leaves Arrange bay leaves around roast; follow with the onions. Insert a barbecue thermometer probe (long probe, long cord, digital display) into very center of the roast; cover and br A barbecue thermometer takes the guess work out of braising meat.
Slow braising to 200°F helps preserve reddish pigmentation (myoglobin ) and breaks down connective tissue.
Rest meat at room temperature 30 minutes before lifting the lid. For maximum liquid reabsorption, continue resting until the thermometer registers 120°F. Shred with two forks; transfer to a serving dish. Resting improves color and increases capacity to hold moisture.

Testing Notes: Slowly heating meat to 160-180°F over 1-2 hours dissolves collagen into gelatin with minimal dehydration. If oven settings allow, utilize a 200°F oven to heat meat slowly to 120°F (2+ hours), then increase heat to 250°F to slowly to finish cooking to 180°F (1+ hour). It is similar to temperatures used in smokers.

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