Monday, June 15, 2015

Dutch Oven Rubbed Roast

Last sunday, as I was contemplating what to cook, I got really tempted by a beef roast we had in the freezer. I wondered how to do it, and my wife suggested that I do the traditional onion soup mix braise. That got me thinking! I looked up the ingredients of the mix, and thought of my own ideas and came up with what would be my roast rub!

It turned out, sadly, that I was way low on veggies, so I ended up only adding in carrots, but it was still delicious and tender!

Dutch Oven Rubbed Roast

12” Dutch oven

20-24 coals below for browning/searing

12 coals below for roasting
12-14 coals above

4-6 lb beef roast

Rub (I don’t include amounts here, because I just sprinkled and scattered the ingredients over the top of the roast, then flipped it and did the same to the bottom)

Dried onion chips
Dried green and red pepper
garlic powder
chili powder
olive oil

Extra veggies in the pot (all optional)

1 cup baby carrots or 2 peeled and sliced carrots
2 - 3 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 medium yellow onions, quartered or sliced
2-3 medium potatoes, cubed


1 heaping Tbsp flour
1/2 cup hot water
lemon juice

The first thing to remember is to start with a fully thawed roast. A couple of days in the fridge, or a few hours under cool water will do the trick. Once it was thawed, I put it on a plate, and sprinkled, grated, and/or tossed the rub ingredients onto it. I was pretty liberal with the garlic powder, the dried onions and peppers, and cautious with the chili powder (it’s homemade, and it’s got a big, bad kick). I drizzled on the olive oil, and rubbed it into the surface of the meat. Then, I flipped it over and did the same to the other side.

I let that sit, covered with plastic, on the counter while I got the coals and the Dutch oven ready. That allowed the seasonings to absorb more fully into the meat, especially the salt (which also tenderizes).

While that was getting more and more flavorful, I got some coals lit, and then put a lot of coals under my 12” with a bit of olive oil in the bottom. I let that sit and heat up.  A lot.

Finally, I could tell that it was really hot, and I put the meat on the bottom of the open Dutch oven. Immediately, it started sizzling, showing me that my waiting was worth it!

After a few minutes, I turned it over and I could see the sear on the meat and the blackening of the spice rub. The smell was wonderful!  By the way, searing the meat does not “seal in the juices”. It triggers what’s called “The Maillard Reaction”, browning the surface of the meat and giving it that sweet-ish tangy tones that we love so much!

Once the second side was seared, I re-arranged the coals for roasting (I also replenished a bit, since they were starting to diminish). Every 20-25 minutes or so, I would take coals from my chimney and replenish them under my Dutch oven and on the lid. Then, I’d add more fresh ones to the chimney to start. I think, in the end, I cooked it about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. When I was about an hour away from serving, I started getting the veggies ready. In this case, that just involved checking the fridge to see what was available, and opening up a bag of baby carrots into the Dutch oven. If I’d had potatoes, onions, or anything else, I would have cut them up and added them to the Dutch oven, around the meat.

Finally, it was done. I brought it in and removed the meat and veggies to a serving plate. Then, I took the gravy ingredients and the Dutch oven back out to the coals. First, I dribbled in some lemon juice (maybe 2 Tbsp, maybe more), and used that acid with the heat to scrape up all of that yummy brown fond that the meat had left on the bottom. Then, I whisked together the water and the flour (so there are no clumps), and slowly whisked that into the liquid in the Dutch oven. It heated and boiled, and became a wonderful gravy.

The meat was tender and flavorful, the veggies were perfect, and the gravy livened them all up and tied them all together. It was a delicious meal.

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.


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