On the bone –or not–is a choice to make when you buy any of the big cuts of beef, lamb or pork. Generally, I prefer roasts that are on the bone.  They have more flavor and produce richer juices than their de-boned counterparts. The recipe I offer here is for a beef chuck roast on the bone.

Certainly, there are those who, for example, prefer a standing rib roast on the bone (without it how can it stand?).  Conversely, the boneless cut is easier to carve, cooks in less time and is just neater.  If the flavor difference is not crucial, boneless is a doable alternative.

Chuck roast on the bone

Interestingly I wrote about a rib end pork roast on the bone a while back and google analytics shows that it’s one of the most consistently referred to posts in the archives.

As for pot roast, I prefer the chuck roast on the bone.  Most butcher shops generally offer the boneless version.  I’m not sure why the on-the-bone cut isn’t as prominent.  With the bone it produces a gorgeous rich post roast of braised beef.

Most butchers don’t offer the roast on the bone and you generally have to pre-order it.  Those who have it regularly include Curtis Meats in Warren, and the Topsham butcher, Bisson’s, who keeps it in their freezer bin.  If you want it fresh call a day ahead and they will prepare it. Also, any of the nose-to-tail butcher shops like Rosemont, The Farm Stand or Damariscotta’s Riverside Butcher Co can custom-cut this roast.

For four people a 3-pound on the bone roast is plenty.  But go for a 4- to 5-pound roast to serve a larger crowd.

I keep the cooking process simple.  Season the roast generously with a blend of kosher salt, black pepper and garlic salt and then dredge lightly in flour.

In a large Dutch oven add a tablespoon or two of canola oil and brown the meat on all sides.  Remove to a plate.  Wipe out any browned bits and fat.  Add half of the sliced onions. Sprinkle on a mixture of chopped rosemary and garlic; Lay the roast on top and cover completely with the remaining onions. Cover that with more rosemary and garlic. Notice there is no liquid added; the onions after slow braising produce plenty of juice which serves as the gravy. Surround the roast with large cuts of potatoes and carrots.  Cover and put in a 325-degree oven to cook for about 3 hours or more until fork tender.

Pot Roast of Chuck on the Bone

Yield: 4 to 5

Pot Roast of Chuck on the Bone


  • 3- to 4-pound chuck roast on the bone
  • Kosher salt, ground black pepper, garlic salt, to taste
  • Flour for dredging
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 to 4 large onions
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 4 medium to large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 to 5 large carrots, scraped and cut into 2-inch pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat
  3. Season the beef generously with the spice mix. Dredge in flour, shaking off excess
  4. Put the beef in the hot pot and brown on all sides. Remove to a plate and wipe the pot clean.
  5. Add half of the onions to the bottom of the pot; sprinkle on half the rosemary-garlic mixture. Put the beef on top and cover with the remaining onions. Sprinkle with the remaining rosemary garlic mixture. Note that there is no other liquid added; the onions will produce plenty of juice.
  6. Add the prepared potatoes and carrots around the roast. Cover the pot tightly and roast in a slow oven for about 3 hours or until fork tender, checking the meat occasionally to make sure it’s not cooking too fast. Once the onions exudes their juices, the liquid should remain at a slow simmer.
  7. Remove the meat to a cutting board and cut into serving slices or chunks. Place on a serving platter.. With a slotted spoon put the onions on top of the meat. Take out the potatoes and carrots and arrange around the beef.
  8. Boil down the juices by about one quarter and spoon over the meat and vegetables.
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