Don't worry — making a 3-pound roast in a Crock-Pot is not as difficult as it sounds. Plus, it's worth the effort because there's nothing quite like the feeling of coming home to a delicious-smelling house and a healthy and hearty roast with some potatoes and carrots on the side.
Read more: 5 Healthy Red Meat Recipes That Satisfy
Slow Cooker Basics
Slow cookers like Crock-Pots make life more convenient because they enable "all-day cooking without looking," according to the University of Minnesota Extension.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service explains that, unlike most other methods of cooking, slow cooking uses very low temperatures — usually between 170 and 280 degrees Fahrenheit — to cook food and kill harmful bacteria. It can take some time — hours even — for the slow cooker to reach temperatures that are high enough to destroy harmful bacteria.
So, is it safe to cook meat in a slow cooker? The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service confirms it poses little to no risk, provided you follow certain food safety guidelines. The last thing you want is to go through the effort of cooking a 3-pound roast in a Crock-Pot, if it's going to make everyone sick.
For starters, you need to make sure that you begin with washed hands and a clean slow cooker. If the beef is frozen, put it in the fridge to thaw. It needs to be completely thawed before you put it in the slow cooker. Keep the beef refrigerated until you're ready to cook it; avoid leaving it out on the countertop. Such a move could give harmful bacteria a chance to proliferate.
It is also recommended that you cook the roast in the Crock-Pot on the high heat setting for the first hour and then switch over to the low heat setting for the remainder of the time. However, if you're not going to be home then avoid leaving the roast in the Crock-Pot on high; just let it cook on low heat throughout.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, beef roasts should reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to be considered safe for consumption and should be allowed to rest for at least three minutes.
Cooking a 3-Pound Roast in a Crock-Pot
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services lists an easy recipe for making a 3-pound roast in a Crock-Pot. The recipe recommends making the Crock-Pot roast with potatoes, carrots and other veggies to add nutrition and flavor to your meal.
You will need:
- Lean meat: Buy boneless beef roast if possible and opt for lean or extra-lean cuts of meat. According to the Mayo Clinic, lean cuts are often overlooked for tastier cuts; however, they are healthier because they have less cholesterol and saturated fat.
- Vegetables: You can use vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, parsnips and sweet potatoes, depending on your preference.
- Broth and seasoning: You can use either water, beef broth or wine as the liquid in the slow cooker. A few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce can add a tangy flavor. You'll need salt and pepper to season the beef and the veggies.
Here's what you need to do:
- Chop the vegetables: Chop all the veggies into bite-sized pieces.
- Cook the beef on the stove: Season the beef with salt and pepper. Use olive oil or cooking spray to grease a frying pan. Cook the beef over medium heat until it's brown on all sides.
- Put everything into the slow cooker: Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and put them into the slow cooker. Put the beef roast on top of the veggies, followed by the liquid you're using and the Worcestershire sauce.
- Wait for it: The roast should take approximately six hours on the high heat setting and 10 hours on the low heat setting.
According to the USDA, a medium-sized slice of lean beef roast provides 63 calories, 12.2 grams of protein, 1.56 grams of fat and nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, selenium and choline.
- University of Minnesota Extension: “Slow Cookers and Food Safety”
- USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: “Slow Cookers and Food Safety”
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: “Meat and Poultry Charts”
- North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services: “Recipe: Pot Roast in the Crock-Pot”
- Mayo Clinic: “Cuts of Beef: A Guide to the Leanest Selections”
- USDA: “Beef, Roast, Roasted, Lean Only Eaten”