Golden Corral is a grill, buffet, and fast food chain based in North Carolina that opened in 1973. With more than four decades in the food industry, it has now grown into a larger business with more than 500 establishments countrywide. One of the best-known dishes that Golden Corral offers is the pot roast.
But really, what is the Golden Corral pot roast recipe and why is it sought-after? According to Golden Corral, their pot roast simmers for 12 hours, resulting in a very tender and flavorful dish. It’s difficult to find the exact recipe for the pot roast, but there are many copycats out there, such as this one.
Copycat Golden Corral Pot Roast
- 1 lb beef roast
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup baby carrots
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 enveloped vegetable mix
Place meat and vegetable into a slow cooker. Mix broth and vegetable mix and pour into cooker. Cook on low for at least 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.
To make it a little easier, you can watch this demo video on making a slow-cooker pot roast:
What Makes a Perfect Pot Roast
The perfect pot roast oozes with flavor, and the meat is so tender that it pulls away effortlessly. The perfect pot roast is also aromatic, juicy and not overcooked. While the procedure for cooking pot roast is very simple, many people fail at creating a gorgeous dish that lives up to the expectations regarding flavor, texture, and tenderness.
The pot roast is one of the most practical yet hearty dishes you can make at home. You don’t even have to choose premium cuts of beef as you would with a steak to actually experience the delicious flavors, but you need to have a great technique so that meat cooks up tenderly.
So the first secret to making the best pot roast is to choose tough meat. Yes, you’ve read that right: tough meat can make a pretty great pot roast.
You must remember that perfect pot roast relies on an excellent cooking method, that is to braise the meat for a very long period at low temperature.
With that said, even the toughest meat can fall apart and release excellent flavors. And since these cuts are not the premium choice, they also fall to lower price range.
What you want to look for in your meat is one with lean meat, little fat and a lot of collagen. Slow cooked collagen tends to create a thick sauce without having to add artificial thickeners. Over time, collagen will dissolve into a gelatin-like thickness and leads the pot roast with a thick and flavorful sauce.
Sear it First
Another lesser known secret to make the perfect pot roast is browning the meat first before it is slow cooked. Due to the concept of Maillard reaction, searing the meat in a heavy pan allows it to caramelize, making the red meat turn brown.
What you want to do at this point is to cook the meat thoroughly on all sides, so take your time and don’t rush it. You might have to spend around 10 minutes on each side to brown the meat properly, but this will help it to release the flavors before slow cooking.
Mind the Liquid
There are two rules when using the liquid in your pot roast: don’t put too much and wash the skillet first with the liquid before pouring into the slow cooker.
The pot roast is not a stew or soup, so mind the amount of liquid that you’re putting into the pot. If you have one pound of beef, you will need only one cup of liquid initially. You can always add more as you’ll need to check on the doneness of the roast from time to time and you will see whether to put in more liquid or not.
Remember the pan you used to sear your meat? It still has some bits of meat and a lot of flavors. Now pour your liquid into the pan first and scrape the bottom with a spatula to loosen up the meat pieces. Give it some swirl. Since the pan is still hot at this point, it wouldn’t be so hard to incorporate the flavor with your liquid. After which, you can go ahead and pour the liquid into the slow cooker.
You can use broth or plain water, but you might also want to consider adding pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar or red wine.
Cook Low and Slow
Now is not the time to rush. The only way to tenderize the meat and bring out the flavors is to cook the pot roast on low heat and for an extended period, typically 7-8 hours. You can check the doneness if the meat is easily pulled apart with a fork. If not, cook for another hour and check again.
As for the collagen or connective tissue, it is worth remembering that these take more time to soften than the lean meat.
Also, make sure that you’re using a tight-fitting lid to cover the slow cooker. Steam escaping from the pot will result to dried out the roast, making it less flavorful and tender. You need to bank on every amount of steam to soften the meat inside the pot, so make sure that the pot and its lid fits so tightly.
Make the Gravy
But what is pot roast without the gravy? Even the gravy has its secret: make it from the remaining liquid of the pot roast.
When pot roast is done, set it aside to a plate and drain the liquid. Transfer liquid to a saucepan and bring to a boil. If the collagen hasn’t made it thick enough to your liking, you make a slurry out of flour or cornstarch. Add the slurry in a small but steady stream while still carefully whisking the liquid. The gravy will thicken gradually.
Let the gravy simmer for a while to see if it is thick enough to your liking. Also remember to season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Needless to say, cooking pot roast is a long process, but it is one that’s deliciously rewarding. A delicious pot roast does not require expensive ingredients or complicated process, but how you cook will pretty much have a lot of impact to the flavors and textures of the dish.
The Golden Corral Pot Roast is one recipe you don’t want to do quickly if you’re looking for fork tender and flavorful meat at the end of the process. Patience is certainly a virtue in cooking, and more so when you’re making a delicious batch or pot roast.
Do you also order pot roast from your favorite restaurant or prefer making it at home? Care to share your secrets to making the perfect pot roast? Let us know in the comments.