Ree Drummond's (Pioneer Woman): Perfect Pot Roast

[skip to see: recipe and video]

So sometime ago I happened to catch an episode of Pioneer Woman with Ree Drummond on Food Network where she prepared a pot roast for her family (episode: Frontier Family). What she made looked absolutely delicious and simple. It was only this past weekend when I wanted to cook a pot roast using her recipe because it was the perfect one pot dinner with minimal cleanup.

Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman

I looked up the recipe on the Food Network website and read the reviews. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive for her pot roast. With close to 200 people reviewing the recipe with most of them giving it a 5 (out of 5) star rating (as of this post), how can I go wrong following the recipe? Boy was I wrong. This was kind of like false advertising: the pot roast was definitely not PERFECT as the recipe indicated. But I didn't need perfection per se...I only needed it to be good and it wasn't even that. What went wrong? I really don't know since I followed the directions exactly. How can close to 200 people be wrong? That I can't explain either, but stranger things have been known to happen. Perhaps the planets were not aligned and making the space inside my oven all out of whack.

The pot roast for sure wasn't terrible. It was just really bland and tasteless. Those few reviewers who gave this recipe a bad rating said the same thing that it didn't really taste much of anything. Even worse was that I had 4 lbs of this at the end of the day. It seemed rather soupy. The pot roasts I've tasted all had thicker sauces that went with it (pot roasts from BJ's, Carrows, and IHOP) where it was nice and "saucy" and not thin and bland. I'd probably give this recipe 2 out of 5 stars on the merit that it was still edible and wasn't that awful that it couldn't have been eaten.

I kind of feel like Ree Drummond's credibility has been shot with this recipe (shown below). You can go ahead and try this out for yourself, but it just didn't work out for me. If you do try it out and it comes out really good, please let me know. I'd love to hear your experience and maybe a few tips on what you did right.

In the end I felt like it was a pot roast that you can find in a high school cafeteria. The simplicity of this recipe translated into simple flavors which was neither great nor awful...just plain simple and definitely far from perfect.

Perfect Pot Roast

The Pioneer Woman: episode Frontier Family
6 Servings


freshly ground black pepper and salt
One 3 to 5 lb chuck roast
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
6 to 8 whole carrots, unpeeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 whole onions, peeled and halved
3 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine, optional [I left this out]
2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Generously salt and pepper the chuck roast.

Heat the olive oil in large pot or Dutch oven [definitely use a Dutch oven as one reader noted in a comment below] over medium-high heat. Add the halved onions to the pot, browning them on both sides. Remove the onions to a plate.

Throw the carrots into the same very hot pot and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so. Reserve the carrots with the onions.

If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pot. Place the meat in the pot and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.

With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom with a whisk. Place the roast back into the pot and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway.

Add in the onions and the carrots, along with the fresh herbs.

Put the lid on, then roast for 3 hours for a 3 lb roast. For a 4 to 5 lb roast, plan on 4 hrs. The roast is ready when it's fall-apart tender.

In this video Ree Drummond of Pioneer Woman demonstrates how to make her Perfect Pot Roast


Anonymous said...

Oh my, I am so sorry you had this experience. I'd like to refer you to The Marlboro Woman website where Ree Drummond's little ol' ranch wife schtick a/k/a The Pioneer Woman has been exposed as nothing more than an Internet hoax that's making Drummond and her media team wealthy.

The reason you saw predominantly positive comments is because Food Network sanitizes remarks and people who post a less than complimentary critique are simply deleted. The exact same scenario plays out on Drummond's blog every day. Examine the comments for yourself; Drummond's censors keep it squeaky clean.

As for her recipes, Drummond lifts many of them from church and community cookbooks, tweaks an ingredient here or there and publishes it as her own work. Rarely does she credit her hometown's service league or churches. I don't know about you, but in my book that's plagiarism.

And unless you're into retro, Betty Crocker style recipes for burgers, brownies and sloppy joes, don't buy her cookbooks. With few exceptions, the recipes are available for free on her website plus you won't feel so bad when one inevitably fails.

FlavorFool said...

@Anonymous - Thank you for your very informative comment. I just thought I messed up the recipe and had a little bad luck since the recipe had a lot of positive reviews. Before trying a given recipe, I do read a lot of the reviews because many people offer great tips on what worked and what didn't work. I can understand some reviews being deleted: check my post on Paula Deen's English Peas recipe - - where silly comments that were poking fun of the recipe were indeed taken down, but it's disconcerting that some real comments were deleted only because they gave negative reviews in other cases. I enjoy watching FN (I like Barefoot Contessa's Ina Garten and the Neely's), but there was always something off about Pioneer Woman that the show never grew on me like other shows - maybe Pioneer Woman was just too staged for me. I'll have to check out the marlborowoman blog which seems to have a lot of interesting info on Ree Drummond which I wasn't aware about. Thank you so much for the valuable resource.

Unknown said...

I can only assume Anonymous didn't realize she failed in her attempt to follow the recipe exactly. I LOVED it and so did my family. BEST ever pot roast I've made by hand. I've made it 4 times in 6 weeks. Everybody RAVS!! You absolutely must use a Dutch oven or a heavy pot; not just a "large" pot; to have this turn out correctly. First the version you posted here does not include the step to bring the meat to room temp and then Very generously season w/salt & pepper and let rest before searing. And Ree tells us in her pot roast video to put a lot on, more than you think you should. (And side note: if you'er not using fresh ground pepper, why bother?) Might I suggest you didn't pan roast the onions & carrots enough. (4 minutes onions - 2 minutes carrots) Also, I've only ever seen the directions say to pan sear the meat (including the edges) from 1- 4 minutes each side. You want more flavor sear it longer, you won't ruin the meat. Maybe Anonymous doesn't know exactly how to "deglaze" either. You add a little liquid and loosen all the good bits AND let it condense in the pan; "glaze"ing part. That means let the sauce cook down a little on high heat, BEFORE returning the roast to the pot. This step intensifies the flavor! My last advice, make sure the fresh herbs are submerged into the sauce before dumping the carrots and onions on top. Not lying on top of all. You didn't state whether your roast was tough or fall apart delicious so maybe you need to increase your oven time as well. Looking at your direction copy...a 1lb = 1hr estimate looks good. Anyways, I think you should retry your attempt. It was definitely human error not the recipe. Good luck

FlavorFool said...

Hi @Nancy Muhlenkamp, thank you for commenting. I'm glad that Ree's pot roast recipe works for you and your family. Although my pot roast was indeed tender, there just wasn't enough flavor. You do bring up a good point though to use a dutch oven for this recipe. It's been awhile since I've made this, but I do remember just using a big pot instead of a dutch oven because I didn't have a dutch oven at the time. Now that I have a dutch oven, I'll have to revisit this recipe since this was a recipe I really wanted to like. It sounds like the dutch oven could mean the difference between a great pot roast and an ok one. Thank you for all your great tips! I'll definitely refer to them when I take another stab at it.

Anonymous said...

does ree Drummond use a lodge name brand dutch oven

FlavorFool said...

Hi @Anonymous, I'm not too sure what brand dutch oven Ree Drummond uses. I have a Tramontina dutch oven which I like because it is an enameled cast iron dutch oven. The enamel coating helps prevent rust. Also, Le Creuset dutch ovens tend to be more expensive (in excess of $200) whereas Tramontina and I'm sure Lodge can be found at a reasonable price at $40-50. I hope this helps!

Post a Comment