An Umami Rich Braise With An Unusual Technique
Refrigerating dry-rubbed beef for several days is an unusual trick. It’s a standard technique in high end steak houses. The beef remains uncovered—butt naked— for 3 days! If you think this is far out, I can only say “this dish rocks!” While the rub goes deeply into the meat, the moisture is slowly reduced and intensifying the flavor.
Plus, I marry two flavor bombs—a spice rub and a Japanese marinade—to yield a complex dish by merely rubbing and pouring! This pot roast is served moist and full of intense, beefy flavor.
Choose a thick cut of chuck roast, one that will just fit your slow cooker. Plan on cutting the roast if needed to fit flat in the cooker. If needed you can fit the cut pieces around the central piece to create one solid layer in the cooker.
chuck steak – choose a thick cut, about 1/2 pound per diner
spice rub – choose a prepared rub that contains salt: I like Blackened or Taco blends. If salt-free, generously season the meat on all six sides with salt along with generous amounts of the rub.
- Teriyaki sauce* – 3/4 cup [to make this from scratch, see below]
- Rice vinegar – 2 TBS.
- liquid smoke – 1 TBS., [I prefer mesquite]
- water – 1/4 cup or more
- carrots – 2 or 3 large, cut into 1-inch chunks
- onion – 1 yellow, cut into 1-inch chunks
- celery – 2 or 3 ribs, cut into 1-inch chunks [or I also enjoy fennel]
- bay leaves – 2 or 3
- corn starch – 1 TBS. mixed in 2 TBS. water to thicken marinade
- parsley – chopped for garnish [or other green herb or chives]
- Trim away only thick outer hunks of fat from the roast. If the roast won’t fit, trim and plan to use those pieces to fill in any openings around the slow cooker.
- Season the roast generously with the rub of choice. Rub on all sides. [Note: check the ingredients list; if there is no or little salt listed, use a tablespoon of salt and rub evenly into the roast on all sides.]
- Set on a plate and place in the fridge for 3-4 days, uncovered. Use a couple chop sticks to raise the roast off the plate and let air circulate
- When ready to cook, prepare the marinade
- Prepare the vegetables
- Plan on 6-7 hours cook time to coordinate with the dinner hour
- Place enough cut veggies in bottom of slow cooker so they touch one-another while maintaining a one-inch overall height
- Brown the meat under medium heat with oil and a 1/4 tsp. of baking soda. Brown both sides for about 3-1/2 minutes without moving it while browning
- Add bay leaves and enough marinade to just cover the veggies. If you need more liquid, just add water
- Place roast in and set heat for high for 1 hour
- Lower heat to low and cook for about 5-6 hours
- If you have a meat thermometer, it will be done when it reaches 190º F
- Remove the roast and let rest partially covered for 15 minutes, then cut into 1/2-inch thick slices across the grain
- Pour off about a cup of the cooker liquid into a small pot and bring to simmer
- Combine the corn starch and water to make a slurry and stir into the simmering liquid until thickened. Add this back to the cooker and stir in to create a sauce.
- Arrange veggies and meat family style on a plater and top with sauce and parsley.
Teriyaki Sauce from scratch – 1/4 cup each: tamari or soy sauce, sake rice wine, and mirin. If you need to substitute: use dry vermouth or dry white wine for sake, and sweet vermouth for the mirin.
Recipe by B. Hettig