Also known as a chuck arm roast or arm pot roast, the beef arm roast is an ideal candidate for slow cooking. It combines the best of the shoulder section’s beefy flavor with an affordable price. So break out your crock pots, because it’s time to get roasting!
What Does Beef Arm Roast Taste Like?
Beef arm roast comes from the chuck primal, the front shoulder area of the cow. This gives it an intensely beefy flavor, with cuts from this area most often used for slow cooking.
The lower and slower you cook a beef arm roast, the better it tastes. And since it’s such an economical cut, you can afford to spend some extra time preparing it.
A beef arm roast, served with mashed potatoes and gravy, makes for an excellent Monday night dinner. After you’re done roasting it, think about shredding those slices of roast beef and making roast beef sandwiches for the rest of the week.
Both bone-in and bone-out cuts of beef arm roast have a similar flavor. Bone-in cuts will add a slightly stronger texture and flavor to pot roast preparations, but bone-out cuts are easier to slice and trim before serving.
How to Cook Beef Arm Roast
Whether you go for a bone in or bone out beef arm roast, it’s key to cook it low and slow in plenty of liquid. Start with a base of sautéed vegetables, add salt, spices, and beef stock, and you’ve got all the basics of a perfect roast.
If you have a slow cooker like a Crock Pot, this will make the preparation quick and easy. But even if you only have an oven and a deep pan, I’ll teach you how to perfectly cook a beef arm roast.
And ater explaining those roasting methods, I’ll give you three different ways to add unique flavor and textures to your roast.
Slow Cooker Method
Slow cookers are the ultimate set-it-and-forget-it method for weeknight cooking. Take half an hour in the morning, and you can have a delicious pot roast waiting for you when you get home.
Here’s how I cook beef arm roast in my slow cooker:
- Give your vegetables a quick saute on the stovetop, then add them to the bottom of your slow cooker.
- Rub your beef arm roast with a few teaspoons of salt and pepper, then add it to the slow cooker too.
- Cover the roast halfway with beef stock, set your slow cooker to low heat, and cover.
- Cook for 8 to 12 hours. You’re looking for a tender, fall-apart texture.
It really is as simple as that! Once your roast is cooked, transfer it to a cutting board and trim off a few thick slices. Then pull a few vegetables out of the cooking liquid to serve alongside the roast beef.
If you’d like, you can take an extra step and use some of the cooking juices to make a simple brown gravy, too. Just add plenty of butter to the reduced juices, and then whisk in a few tablespoons of flour to thicken.
Oven Roasted Method
Though a slow cooker really simplifies your prep for roast beef, an oven is a quicker way of preparing roasts on the weekend.
Because your oven will always start at a higher temperature than a slow cooker, getting a truly tender roast requires a few adjustments. The main thing you can do to achieve a pleasant texture is add extra fat, usually in the form of a generous portion of olive oil.
Here’s how I cook beef arm roast in the oven:
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F.
- In a large Dutch oven, sauté diced onion, carrot, and celery until browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add a little oil to your Dutch oven, then sear your beef arm roast on all sides.
- Return your veggies to the Dutch oven, and add stock to cover the roast about halfway.
- Cover your Dutch oven and transfer it to your preheated oven. Cook for 5 to 6 hours, until the liquid is reduced and the meat is fall-apart tender.
Pot roast cooked this way is especially good served over egg noodles. The shredded meat is excellent for making Shepherd’s Pie later in the week, too.
Three Ways to Spice Up Your Roast Beef
Add red wine to the stock, change up your vegetable choices, or add bacon
Now that you have the general idea for how to cook a beef arm roast, let’s get to the fun part: Adding tons of flavor to your pot roast. Here are my three favorite ways to turn an ordinary roast into a dinnertime show stopper:
1. Go French With Your Stock
Adding a generous portion of red wine to your stock will result in a tender, flavorful roast and brightly colored vegetables. Use about one part of red wine for every four parts of beef stock, and go for a mild variety like Merlot or Pinot Noir. Then serve the roast and vegetables with a crusty loaf of bread, and glasses of the same type of wine used in the stock.
2. Get Creative With Your Vegetables
Carrots and onions are always a safe place to start when you’re cooking a pot roast. They add a sweet, pungent flavor and aroma that pair very well with the savory beef roast. But I’d encourage you to think of carrots and onions as a great base — and one that you can build on to create stellar meals.
Celery is a wonderful addition to a pot roast, as it will caramelize down and further emphasize the roast’s savory aspects. Green or red bell peppers will give a fresh, sweet, and zesty finish to the stock. And you can always throw in baby potatoes, to make it a real one pot meal.
Basically, if you have a vegetable in the house, you can throw it in with a pot roast to great effect.
3. Make it Better With Bacon
It’s hard to find any dinner that wouldn’t be better with a little bit of bacon — but pot roasts especially benefit from bacon’s smoky, fatty, savory flavor. Try sautéing small pieces of bacon with your carrots and onions to start the base, then searing your roast in the bacon grease that’s left over. The result will be a flavorful, aromatic, and absolutely delicious dinner.
Where to Buy Beef Arm Roast
Beef arm roast is an economical cut that’s not often specially requested. So ask your local butcher or grocer to set some aside for you, and you’ll have an affordable weeknight meal any time you want.