All beef used to be grassfed. It is only with the the arrival of cheap grain after World War II that the feeding of grain to cattle became economical on a large scale. Prior to that cattle fed on the range. Why, the first feedlot in Texas wasn’t opened until 1950! So it follows that your Grandma and Mrs. Dull were cooking with grassfed beef. That makes pre-ww2 cookbooks excellent sources for beef recipes! We can learn what Granny learned from her mother from these books.
Grassfed beef requires different cooking techniques. “Slow and Low” is what you want. This means to use low heat for longer periods of time. Mrs. Dull’s recipes for beef are slow and low.
A Word on Equipment
“Slow and Low” cooking of meat requires a good heavy pan with a tight fitting lid. This is a must have. Without it your roast will be be burned on one side and not cooked all the way thru. Don’t ask how I know that ;-). I’m using my medium sized Le Creuset dutch oven for this roast. Any cast iron dutch oven will work.
Mrs Dull’s recipe is on page 24 of “Southern Cooking”. It calls for searing the meat first, then covering with a tight lid, then cooking on a very low setting for awhile. It’s that simple :-).
- I’ve made no alterations to improve the nutrition of this dish. It’s very nutritious as is.
- Mrs Dull suggests using a trivet in the pot to prevent scorching. She felt that large roasts would be most likely to scorch. Since I didn’t have a trivet and my roast is smallish I didn’t use one.
- No veggies were cooked in the same pot in Mrs. Dull’s version. I like a one pot meal, so I added a few.
Recipe for Grassfed Beef Pot Roast
- A good size roast that will fit in your dutch oven. Mine is about 2 1/2 lbs.
- A few potatoes – a used red potatoes (optional)
- A few carrots (optional)
- An onion (optional)
- A cast iron dutch oven w/lid big enough for your roast to lay flat on the bottom.
- A set of tongs or a good strong spatula.
- Clean, peel and cut up whatever vegetables you’d like to add.
- Heat your pan up then place your roast in it.
- Sear all sides of the roast if you can manage. Use a stout spatula or tongs to lift and turn. Aim to get 60-70% browned at least. Notice we’re not adding any fat. Mrs. Dull suggest you can smear the roast with grease if it seems too dry. Mine had plenty of juice for cooking as is. Not sure how you’d make this call.
- Add your veggies to the pot, layering them around the edges.
- Cover the pot and set the heat to the lowest setting you can get from your range.
- Cook till done 😉 Don’t you hate directions like this … me too! Mrs. Dull suggests it will take about 2 1/2 – 3 hours for a 5 lb roast. Mine was 2 1/2 lbs so I let it cook for about 1 1/2 hours. This was just a touch too long so next time I’ll go for about an hour with this size roast. If you have an instant read thermometer you can check the temperature to see if it’s done. It should be about 150 degrees fahrenheit.
You can make gravy to go with this too by thickening the juices with unbleached white flour or potato starch and a bit of water or bone broth.
So that’s it! Your Grandma and Mom were busy women so the recipe’s they relied on for day-to-day cooking tended to be very simple. This one is an excellent example. Simple, easy to do, and requires very little attention while cooking leaving you free to tend to other things. And oh so tender and delicious!