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Pocket Roast

By Drick's Rambling Cafe

when a roast is a farce

The skill level it takes to cook a roast is nothing exciting. Let's face it, nothing new is going to come about with varying cooking techniques except maybe a better understanding of how fibers of meat react to heat. A better recipe, a tastier slice of roast beef, maybe even a new way of thinking of using ingredients, but not a new way of cooking meat. Nope, it has all been done before even if you and I did not think of it.

Here is what we know about roasts and it depends on where the cut of meat comes from. Rib roast, tenderloin, sirloin tip, eye round and rib-eye roasts do well by first searing in a high temperature oven and as the name oven-roasted implies, roasts in the oven during the final cooking period many times at a lower dry-heat setting. Rump or bottom round, boneless chuck, 7-bone chuck and shoulder roasts do well by first searing stove-top and cooks pot-roasting either stove-top or in the oven with just a little addition of liquid. Less tender parts of roast or even steaks do better braising at a low temperature after a sear and with moist heat, covered or not, for slow cooking times. Then there are the techniques like grilling, broiling, stir-frying, pan-seared and stewing with each having a specific purpose in cooking smaller pieces, thinner steaks or tough cuts in a desirable manner.

download a detailed PDF chart & listing of beef cuts from NCBA

Other things to think about: How you go about seasoning your roast mostly depends on the cooking method but most likely a coating of seasonings with a dusting of flour is added prior to the addition of the sear and in doing so adheres to the surface. Marinating is good in certain circumstances for added penetration of flavor. Then the most important rule in cooking a roast is to never turn or handle the meat using a fork or any piercing tool creating holes other than say a meat thermometer.

This recipe is one that beats all I know about cooking a roast. First, you poke holes all in the meat, a no-no for sure, and in doing so subject the roast to release its natural juices. A mixture of spices and vegetables are forced into deep pockets, which literally baste from the inside out. And then you cook it unconventional without searing the meat at what I think is a rather low temperature for a roast. Think of it as a slow braise in the oven. Dang, it's beginning to sound pretty good ... and it is my friends. It is a tried and true way that I enjoy from time to time. In fact, one of the best and flavorful roast I know how to cook. Enjoy!

Pocket Roast

There are many variations in Cajun & Creole cookery with the true pocket roast being one like a deboned shoulder roast and the stuffing filling the pocket. This recipe is truer to a Creole version and similar to a garlic or olive studded roast.

4 to 5 pound top round, sirloin or good boneless beef roast

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, margarine or oil

1/2 cup sliced scallions (green onions)

1/4 cup finely chopped onions

1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

2 garlic pods, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed thyme

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed basil

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Add the butter or oil to a skillet, heat and sauté the vegetable just a little to soften. Stir in the seasonings and remove from heat.

Place the roast in a large roasting pan fat side up. Using a sharp butcher's knife, make a dozen  or so slits downwards into the meat and to about 1/2-inch from the bottom. Do not cut all the way through. Use a small spoon to fill each pocket with the sautéed vegetable mixture. Rub the remaining mixture over the top of the roast.

Bake uncovered in a 300 degree F. oven for about 3 hours for medium doneness or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F or cook to 140 for a rarer roast.

Remove from oven, rest for about 10 minutes and serve with the pan drippings or use the liquid to make a thin gravy.

Note: Cooking the roast as above to desired temperature produces nice, tender slices of meat. As you can see in the photos, I added traditional potatoes and carrots this time, coated in olive oil, salt and pepper along with about 2 cups of beef stock and cooked it for a longer time. The results yields a well done roast but with lots of savory pan drippings.

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By Drick's Rambling Cafe (Visit website)

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