My Mama’s Texas Pot Roast with Four Roses Bourbon Gravy

By on January 27, 2016

pot roast #4Here’s a recipe that will make you slap your grandmother.  My Mama’s Texas Pot Roast with Four Roses bourbon gravy


I’m afraid the world as we know it is coming to an end.  In this morning’s New York Times, on the front page of the food section, was some abomination called a Mississippi Pot Roast that started out with a package of dry brown gravy mix and a package of dry Ranch Dressing. A stick of butter and canned pepperoncini peppers  What!?

And the so-called recipe developers gave this recipe the headline place in this week’s paper.

I can’t stand it.  All that brain power given over to deconstructing two package mixes for Ranch Dressing and Brown gravy.

That recipe has had more than a million Pinterest hits.

It seems that in addition to the “shortcuts” of those dry mixes with their admixture of chemicals and unpronounceable additives, they had thrown everything into the crock pot, let it cook all day then shredded the stuff.  Their addition to this culinary conglomeration was Italian style pepperoncini.

My mother is surely turning over in her grave.  She made what could be called a Texas Pot Roast every Sunday, in a recipe that depended on good old-fashioned Texas grass-fed pot roast + 5 other ingredients and a surefire technique cooked in a blue granite enamel roaster with a shot of Four Roses bourbon to brown the gravy and celebrate Sunday.vintage-Savory-Jr-jun roasting pan blue enamel granitewear

Don’t talk to me about how busy today’s cooks are.  My mother was the bookkeeper at Penney’s and worked 6 days a week 10 hours a day.

Her idea of success in the kitchen was making this pot roast which would last until Wednesday, when my dad put all the leftovers into a stew pot and made what we called ”hash” with even more black pepper and leftover gravy.

Yes, you had to know how to make gravy (a skill which I had mastered by the age of 8).  You had to own a big blue roaster, and you had to sear and brown all the ingredients before putting it into the oven with water and a shot of Four Roses whiskey to cook until it fell off the bone.

That shot of Four Roses whiskey was my mama’s idea of a flavor additive.

Plus, did I mention the roast needs to have a bone? Yes, bone.  All these new-fangled recipes that call for a boneless chuck do not realize that the bone acts as a tenderizer and flavor builder as well. Plus, the dog will be glad to take the bone off your hands to gnaw on.  And yes, that bone even cleans the dog’s teeth in the process.

What’s not to love?


My Mama’s 5 ingredient Texas Pot Roast with a shot of Four Roses Bourbon in the Gravypot roast raw with seasonings

Serves 6 to 8 people with leftovers for midweek Hash.

1 tablespoon lard or pan drippings

1 (3 to 5-pound) bone-in beef chuck (or blade) roast

Salt and black pepper, coarsely ground, to taste

1/2 cup all-purpose flour + more for the gravy

2 large yellow onions, whacked into pieces

4-6 large carrots, scraped. 2 cut into coins the rest left whole

2 pounds Idaho OR Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

Shot of Four Roses bourbon (optional)

water or whole milk for the gravymilk gravy

Preheat oven to 350º.

Heat fat in a large Blue enamel or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour.  Add roast to the pan; cook, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast to a serving platter. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes over medium high heat, or until tender, adding sips of water as it browns to form the beginnings or a luscious brown gravy. (No packaged mixes need apply)

Make a ladder of the carrots in the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle potatoes all around.  Lay the roast on this.  Add a shot of
Four Roses bourbon and ½ cup more water.

Cover the roaster and bake at 350° for 2 1/2 hours or until the roast is fork tender. Transfer meat and vegetables to a large serving platter.

Make gravy by adding a tablespoon more flour to the pan, stir to mix, then add 2 cups of water or milk, salt and pepper to taste.  Cook and stir until it is thick, pale brown and flavorful. Taste and adjust seasonings. Finish with another shot of Four Roses.

Serve roast with vegetable mixture and gravy. Now that’s a recipe that will make you slap your grandmother.bourbon four roses small batch

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About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”