Beef Brisket Pot Roast

From the recipe archive, originally posted January 2011.

Beef brisket is a fabulous cut of meat. The brisket is located between the shoulders and the forelegs of the steer; these muscles get a work-out, and they are also well marbled with fat. So they are highly flavorful and perfect for slow braises. Long cooking time is needed to melt the connective tissue. Upon serving, the meat is cut against the grain, helping it become fall-apart tender.

This recipe is fairly classic, a slow braise with lots and lots of onions. You can do so many things with brisket. One of my favorite beef brisket recipes is just simply slathering it with a BBQ sauce mixture and cooking it forever in the oven. There are versions with ketchup, onion soup, or even cocktail sauce with horseradish. With our recipe, please feel free to mix it up a bit. You could easily use other root vegetables such as parsnips, turnips, or rutabagas. You could use wine or beer instead of the beef stock. Think of this recipe as a starting point for experimentation, or just a good, basic pot roast brisket.

Do you have a favorite brisket recipe? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Beef Brisket Pot Roast Recipe

  • Prep time: 35 minutes
  • Cook time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8-12

Ingredients

  • 4-5 pound beef brisket
  • Salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of beef stock
  • 2-3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp mustard (optional)

Method

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1 Prepare the brisket for cooking. On one side of the brisket there should be a layer of fat, which you want. If there are any large chunks of fat, cut them off and discard them. Large pieces of fat will not be able to render out completely. Using a sharp knife, score the fat in parallel lines, about 3/4-inch apart. Slice through the fat, not the beef. Repeat in the opposite direction to make a cross-hatch pattern. Salt the brisket well and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

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2 You'll need an oven-proof, thick-bottomed pot with a cover, or Dutch oven, that is just wide enough to hold the brisket roast with a little room for the onions. Pat the brisket dry and place it, fatty side down, into the pot and place it on medium high heat. Cook for 5-8 minutes, lightly sizzling, until the fat side is nicely browned. (If the roast seems to be cooking too fast, turn the heat down to medium. You want a steady sizzle, not a raging sear.) Turn the brisket over and cook for a few minutes more to brown the other side.

3 When the brisket has browned, remove it from the pot and set aside. There should be a couple tablespoons of fat rendered in the pot, if not, add some olive oil. Add the chopped onions and increase the heat to high. Sprinkle a little salt on the onions. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions are lightly browned, 5-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes.

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4 Preheat the oven to 300°F. Use kitchen twine to tie together the bay leaves, rosemary and thyme. Move the onions and garlic to the sides of the pot and nestle the brisket inside. Add the beef stock and the tied-up herbs. Bring the stock to a boil. Cover the pot, place the pot in the 300°F oven and cook for 3 hours. Carefully flip the brisket every hour so it cooks evenly.

5 After 3 hours, add the carrots. Cover the pot and cook for 1 hour more, or until the carrots are cooked through and the brisket is falling-apart tender.

6 When the brisket is falling-apart tender, take the pot out of the oven and remove the brisket to a cutting board. Cover it with foil. Pull out and discard the herbs.

7 At this point you have two options. You can serve as is, or you can make a sauce with the drippings and some of the onions. If you serve as is, skip this step. To make a sauce, remove the carrots and half of the onions, set aside and cover them with foil. Pour the ingredients that are remaining into the pot into a blender, and purée until smooth. If you want, add 1 tablespoon of mustard to the mix. Put into a small pot and keep warm.

8 Serve the brisket, sliced in 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices, against the grain of the meat, with the onions, carrots and gravy. Serve with mashed, roasted or boiled potatoes, egg noodles or polenta.

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Links:

Crock pot BBQ beef brisket from Jen of Use Real Butter
Southwestern pulled brisket from Deb of Smitten Kitchen

60 Comments

  1. Chris Hansen

    I’ve prepared brisket with ketchup and it came out quite well but not as above. How would you prepare an untrimmed brisket (10-12 lb) instead of the trimmed brisket as above?

    Try this recipe for brisket. ~Elise

  2. Al in SoCal

    So confused … I’ve seen lots of recipes at the moment for brisket – but when I go to the market it’s inundated with “brisket – corned beef” – that’s not the right cut – is it? Thanks for any info.

    It is the right cut, but don’t buy it if the meat has already been turned into corned beef. Ask your market for an uncured beef brisket. ~Hank

  3. Andy

    I like to rub the brisket down, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight (uncovered), then smoke it for a couple of hours over hickory. I then transfer it to the oven for an overnight slow cook at 180F. By morning it falls apart in your hands. Makes the very best Texas-style chili I’ve ever had!

    • Chuck

      Thanks for the idea Andy. I have a brisket in the oven now. Thought seriously about putting it on my Big Green Egg but was worried about getting it tender. I will try your approach soon.

      • Brazos

        A Green Egg is perfect for BBQ brisket. Awards have been one using them. Google around for recipes.

  4. jonathan

    i love you brisket. i really do. (and how on earth could you possibly forget the suggestion of a side of potato latkes…? ;^)

  5. Adam

    What are your thoughts on doing this in a slow cooker? Do you have any tips on time and temp?

    I don’t usually cook with a slow cooker, but I think you could easily put everything in one, after step 3. I don’t have tips on time or temp. ~Elise

  6. Bob

    I love brisket, I’ve never made a pot roast with one though. It looks great! I often use it for stew/chili, just cut it into 1.5″ and cook till fork tender. Good times.

  7. Sara

    I have a real simple recipe for brisket. Use up to a 3 lb. roast or divide a larger one in half. Put in a cook-in bag with 1 pkg. onion soup mix and 2 cups water. Follow bag directions and cook at 350 for 3 hours.
    Also, it’s real easy to remove the fat while it’s still hot (if you’re so inclined). Just scrape the top with a large spoon.

  8. Connie

    Elise… the plate appears to be floating. Was it placed on a glass top…? The effect is marvelous.

    Hi Connie, the photo is an example of making the best of what you have. A few months ago I had my concrete patio demolished. Several days with a loud jackhammer, and the patio was reduced to rubble. I put a small box on top of the rubble, and the plate with the brisket on top of the box. Glad you like it! ~Elise

  9. Susan

    This looks delicious. I love the deep beefy flavor of this cut of meat. When I can find it, I even have some ground together with some chuck to make ground beef for burgers. Here’s a link to a recipe that I use for brisket. Don’t be fooled by the use of cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, this does not make the gravy sweet. It ends up quite brown for a very meaty rich sauce. I still have the original issue of Bon Appetite where it came from: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Brisket-with-Portobello-Mushrooms-and-Dried-Cranberries-5787

  10. linda dekranis- translated by charles, her hubby

    your recipe is a great representation of this delicious cut of beef(when properly cooked)
    your methods are just perfect.

    we add a few other spices as listed below.

    clove- 3 whole
    pepper corn – black 1 TBL
    classic mirepoix-onions ,carrots,and a fair
    amount of celery.

    linda always prepares fresh noodles when doing
    this dish. rolled out, dried on the counter
    cut 1 inch x whatever odd shape of the dough.
    today’s looks like maine.

    the noodles are blanched in hot salted water, drained and tossed with some jus from brisket.
    charles and linda alaska

  11. housewife

    I don’t think I’ve ever served my brisket without someone asking for the recipe.

    Slice 3 or 4 onions and put them in a roasting pan.
    Add brisket on top of the onions.

    Combine in a jar and shake:

    1 1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. pepper
    1 Tbsp. paprika
    1 tsp. powdered mustard
    about 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    4 Tbsp. maple syrup (or brown sugar or Splenda)

    Pour about half the marinade over the brisket.
    Turn it over.
    Pour the remainder over the second side.
    Fat side should be on top for cooking.
    Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and marinate overnight.

    Cook 350° about 40 minutes per pound.
    Uncover last half hour.
    I always stick a fork in it to be sure.
    The fork should slide in with no resistance at all.

    Let stand 30 minutes or preferably let cool in fridge (overnight if possible) before slicing.
    Cold brisket is much easier to slice.

  12. Ellie Luna

    I make my pot roast with brisket on top of the stove and in addition to sauteed onions, I add sliced mushrooms & onion soup mix with water. I think I might try the beef stock next time instead of the water. My family loves it.

  13. Tempy

    A friend of me and my roommates loves to use crock pots. She makes her brisket in them with onions, carrots, garlic, potatoes, plenty of herbs and cream of mushroom soup. It is always break-apart delicious and oh, so flavorful.

  14. Vicki B

    The recipe my mom and her friends used thirty years or so ago had just a few peculiar ingredients: barbecue sauce, jar of salad dressing and salt. It was wrapped in foil and baked until fork tender. The sauce was exquisite for dipping rolls in then putting the meat between.

  15. Matt

    Been meaning to try a new brisket recipe, always make my mothers around the holidays. Hers was actually very simple, can of Rokeah Tomato Mushroom sauce(Kosher foods section), a packet of French Onion Soup Mix, and a good healthy squirt of Ketchup. Bake for a couple of hours and however those ingedients merge into the flavor that comes out is simply miraculous.

  16. Sunny

    My mom always did it your way, but added a mixture of tomato puree and water to just about cover brisket. The gravy always came out delicious and with just a few minutes of reducing, it was divine. She also used beer.
    She would add potatoes as well. I found putting them in at the same time as when the carrots were added was a smart thing.

    Finding a good brisket with that nice marble of fat on the top is not easy to find.
    Someone said Costco has a nice one. Will look at those.
    Thanks again for a wonderful recipe.
    Sunny

  17. Barbara

    Hi Elise,
    I have been enjoying your blog for some time now and have tried many of your recipes. I did my first crockpot brisket today and must say
    it is an absolute man pleaser!!
    My recipe:
    slice a large onion and place in crockpot
    cut 6 lb brisket in half and place on top of onions. Mix together 2 small jars of beef mushroom gravy,6 broken gingersnap cookies,1/2 cup apple juice or applesauce and 1 pkg dry onion soup mix. Pour over top. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until tender when pierced with a fork. This made a rich flavorful brown gravy. I served it with mashed potatos, boiled sweet potatos and green beans. It got rave reviews from the family.

  18. Alyssa

    I love slow cooker roasts! Have you ever made this in the crock pot?

    I have not, but you should be able to cook it (step 4 and on) in a slow cooker easily. ~Elise

  19. vcave

    If you are working all day and would still like to have a delicious brisket when you arrive home, skip the browning and cooking ahead of time. Put your oven on a low heat. I use 275. You can cook your brisket literally all day long while you are working. The larger the brisket the longer the cooking time. When you get home, your house will smell wonderful and you will be ahead of the game. It will fall apart and the fat will be VERY soft. I’ve even done this with a frozen brisket. I simply spice with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Sometimes I put a bay leaf on top for good measure. Wrap the brisket itself (fat side up) tightly with foil. Put in a pan and cover with more foil or a tight fitting lid for good measure. There will be more than enough drippings for a gravy. You may need to add some water or broth to it. That is a working persons slow cooked brisket.

  20. Pillie

    I grew up eating brisket & it’s still my favorite cut of beef. I learned to cook it in a much simpler way. Put some ketchup in a small bowl & add a little yellow mustard. Add some salt, pepper & seasoning salt. Mix until the yellow mustard disappears. Brush the ketchup mixture all over the meat – both sides. Put meat in a roasting pan so the meat is snug. Add a little water or beef broth…1/2 ” or so…just so the meat doesn’t stick or burn. Roast at 300 degrees about 3 hours until tender. Delicious!

  21. Jan

    I’ve never cooked a brisket, but have been noticing several recipes in our newspaper lately, and I saw beef briskets in our grocery store the other day, so I think I’m going to try this recipe out, Elise. I may also try it with an elk roast in our freezer (wild game from our Montana family). Your recipes that I’ve tried in the past have turned out great, and this one looks so delicious, so I bet I’ll enjoy it. Thanks!

    Hi Jan, I haven’t yet cooked with elk, though I have cooked moose. You may have to cook it a lot lot longer to get to tenderness. As I recall with the moose, I had to cook it for about 12 hours before it finally tenderized. ~Elise

  22. Claire

    I look forward to trying your recipe; sounds so tasty. I think brisket remains an underused cut. It is one of my favorite comfort foods. I am blessed by a local market with real butchers, which carries brisket as it came from the cow. If you can’t find that, some butches will order it. Just let them know a day or two in advance.

    While I have found a few high-quality corned beef briskets on the market, I like to prepare my own, which is definitely better than the commercial product. I got the recipe years ago from a cookbook. Corning the brisket is very easy–mix the brine and seasonings, then let the beef sit for about fourteen days. I used to host an annual St. Patrick’s day dinner for friends. I made the corned beef simmered in Harp beer–which we all knew was not Irish, of course–and the champ (a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes and green onion) and the cabbage. Others brought such things as smoked salmon canapes, Irish Soda Bread, baby carrots, and Guinness Stout Cake.

    My, I do run on! I remind myself of the person who, when asked the time, describes how to make a watch!

    Cheers,

    Claire

  23. Amy

    Would a lean cut have caused the dryness in my result? There was plenty of stock and onions still left after the three hours but the actual meat was a bit dry. Should I cook it for less time in the future? It tasted great and the kids loved the onion “gravy” as well. Thanks for the great simple recipes.

    Yes, with this recipe, or any pot roast recipe for that matter, you should get a piece of meat with lots of fat marbling. A brisket with a nice layer of fat is essential. ~Elise

  24. Christina Stone

    My husband and I loved this recipe. Made gravy by adding some flour and only variance was I added some wine to the broth, a cabernet which we finished off with the meal. This is something I would definitely serve to guests. I’ve really been appreciating your web site. I can’t wait to try the tongue tacos!

    Awesome. Love those tacos btw. Heartily recommend. ~Elise

  25. Scott

    OK…taking the plunge tomorrow and making this for a Football day treat….but Geeez…what is up with Brisket in the $4.99/lb range here in the Mid Atlantic? My wife loves to tell me how it is 99 cents per pound in Dallas on Labor Day!!

  26. Scott

    Followup: I have to say- this recipe yielded WORLD CLASS Po’ Boys! I highly recommend making this one….and the gravy made an excellent replacement for Au Jus. Thanks!

  27. Patrick

    I made this recipe with an oven bag and the beef turned out very tender. One advantage of using an oven bag was that I just added the beef and vegetables at room temperature, set the timer and walk away.

    Also, for a rich hearty flavor, I used beer instead of beef stock. The dish tasted so good that my family wanted me to make another one the next day.

  28. Mary

    Hi Elise – love your site!
    QUESTION: I picked up a 5 lb brisket from one of my local pastured grass-fed beef growers, just for this recipe. The fat has been nearly all trimmed away, if it was ever there. Grass-fed beef is so lean! What should I do to compensate for the lack of that thick layer of fat? It was not a cheap piece of meat, and I want it to be wonderful! I have never made a brisket before….
    Thank you!!
    Mary

    If it were me, I would wrap it in bacon. You do need the fat for this recipe. Or, you could make it with BBQ sauce, as in this brisket recipe. I would add some butter or oil to the brisket either way. ~Elise

  29. Mary

    UPDATE: Thank you for response! I took your advice into consideration, reviewed many many recipes, and in the end, decided to bite the bullet and just see what happened without the fat cap. I followed your recipe fairly closely, adding a tip from an America’s Test Kitchen brisket segment and piercing the meat with a fork several times to create channels for the limited amount of surface fat to travel down through. I used a 5 lb brisket from a local grass-fed pasture-raised steer, which was a bit too wide for my All-Clad 8 qt Dutch oven, but I squished it in. I substituted Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout for the beef stock, and golden ball turnips for the carrots. I braised for 3 hours at 300°, dropped in the wedged turnips, and finished for 1.5 hours at 350°. The turnips did not hold up to the braise time, I should have pulled them out early. Also, they were a tad bitter. Carrots might have been a better choice, as the sweetness might have complimented the stout better. But overall, this dish was a WIN at our house! Looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!

  30. Diann

    I made the recipe – it was delicious. I used grass fed beef and followed the recipe with the exception of leaving out the rosemary since I did not have any at the time and adding 1/4 teaspoon of tumeric.

  31. Leslie

    Thank you for this awesome recipe! It was my first attempt at brisket and my husband absolutely loved it. He liked it so much that the very next weekend he brought home another brisket with an enthusiatic “More, please!” I didn’t make any changes. There was no need to. The flavor is amazing. I especially loved the sauce at the end. Highly recommend this option. My husbands friend loved it so much he poured it over everything on his plate and had seconds-he never has seconds. Ever. Thank you again :)

  32. Allan Rosenberg

    While I love your recipes and have had success with dozens of them, when it comes to brisket I stick with my wife’s ( now deceased) recipe. It is our family favorite brisket recipe.

    1 brisket approximately 4 ½ – 5 pounds
    3 cups of water
    1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
    ½ – ¾ cup chili sauce
    ½ – ¾ cup brown sugar
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    pepper and salt, to taste
    2 sliced onions
    ¾ cup sliced carrots
    2 stalks of celery, cut into pieces
    (Optional: add peeled and quartered potatoes)

    Preheat oven to 325°.

    Combine everything in a heavy covered casserole and bake for 3 ½ – 4 ½ hours. Cool and refrigerate overnight.
    The next day, remove all fat from the surface. Remove the meat from the pot and trim fat from brisket. Slice by hand across the grain into approximately ½ inch slices. Place back into pot and reheat in oven.

  33. Judith

    I caramelize the onions first, then brown the seasoned brisket, then deglaze with some cheap balsamic vinegar (from Trader Joe’s). I use beef stock for the braise, add garlic, lots of carrots, some parsnips (no-one can tell what they are after they’re cooked), herbes de Provence, and let it cook, covered, at about 275 for hours.

    The gravy is out of this world. Sweet, savory, full of flavor, and thick enough to coat the noodles. I need to go out and get me a brisket!

  34. Lawrence B

    Thanks so much for this. I love pot roasts and will give this a go.
    I was looking for a good recipe for Oxtail stew and got side tracked. Luckily I have time on my side. :)
    Have bookmarked and will be back.
    Thanks

  35. Cassie

    This looks really good! It would be perfect for my family reunion/potluck this weekend!!! I was just wondering how I could stretch the recipe without dulling its flavor? (I have a huge family) Thanks for any help!!

  36. Todd

    I just did this recipe tonight. I followed it to the letter. It was outstanding. I will definitely do it again.

  37. Hannibal

    This is a classic brisket recipe. The only thing I would add is two bay leaves. I have also had brisket like this with some summer savory added as well, but that took some getting used to. What’s good in meat pies is not necessarily good in roast meat. The pictures made me hungry for some brisket. I’ll make one for a Texas Easter dinner.

  38. Kim Bee

    This is wicked gorgeous. I could eat a huge plate of this right now.

  39. Hiram

    Since I am allergic, would the taste change much if I did not include the onions or garlic? (I assume the garlic provides more flavor than the onions, but both give me stomach problems)

    • Elise

      How about leeks? If you are allergic to all of the vegetables in the onion family then I would just leave them out. Yes it will change the taste, but it will still be good. Add more root vegetables like parsnips or turnips. Swap out one of the cups of beef stock for a cup of red wine. There are many things you can do to get more variety and flavor into this dish.

    • reen

      Hiram, the bay leaves in the herb bundle will really provide a lot of flavor in lieu of onions/garlic. As Elise said, adding red wine (or a stout beer) will also add to the flavor.

  40. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    Brisket is a true eat lovers meat. I own a large smoker and cook briskets for about 12 hours in it, unbelievable.. the flavor is so rich and it just melts in your mouth :)

  41. Christelle

    I just add in my Beef Brisket a pinch of black Pepper for give fragrances. And it’s fit good with thyme and rosemary.

  42. reen

    Having lived in Texas for 14 years, I couldn’t even imagine a brisket that wasn’t spice-rubbed, then slow-smoked for a million hours! My pot roasts are made with chuck or somesuch, very close to what you’ve done here. Well, it’s the last few cool days before the scorchers hit, so I think I’ll do one last roast over the weekend!

  43. Lee

    You really need to braise a brisket low and slow (1 hour per lb.) And mustard should not be OPTIONAL as mustard tenderizes. You also will make a more flavorful gravy if you start w/onion, carrots and celery and diced tomatoes. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and 2 T ancho chili powder to rub on brisket before adding to oven (the ancho chili powder doesn’t make it spicy … it makes it almost smoky). Use 2 cups beef stock and 1 whole beer. Braise in oven about 1 hr. per lb. and it comes out melt in your mouth, and easy!!!! It’s really no fail.

  44. Monique

    I am a Native American from New Mexico in our culture we use a lot of mutton in our dish… would this still taste great if i switched the beef out and put lamb/mutton in it?

    • Elise

      Hello Monique, I have never cooked with mutton, so don’t know how well that would work in this recipe. As for lamb, there are several braised lamb recipes here on the site that would work fine in a slow cooker.

  45. Beverly

    Brisket of Beef Roast has been made, in our family, for three generations and, of course, it is a favorite meal. Any of the hundreds of recipes are usually a hit with families because the cut of meat lends itself to a flavor to die for.

    I won’t repeat our recipe but simply say that a very easy, no-braise onion soup-mix or complicated marinated preparation will be excellent with this cut as long as its cooking time is not too short and the meat is tested with a fork before exiting the oven.

    We preferred rutabagas with a little brown sugar on them, mashed potatoes because of the delicious gravy, and a nice green vegetable along with applesauce in a side dish. One more very important accompanyment is the best bread or rolls you can find or make for dipping or otherwise. Also adding some red wine to the roast is a nice idea.
    Happy Passover and Easter everyone.

  46. CharlieO'

    First Place Winner Tulsa State Fair 50 years ago “Hanover’s Brisket” 4-5 lb Trimmed Brisket..1 can Beef Consomme(10-3/4 oz)..1-5 or 6 oz Btl Soy Sauce(Kikoman?)..1/4 C Lemon juice..1 Tab Liq Smoke(Wrights?)..Garlic to taste(lots?)..BBQ Sauce to finish….Combine ingredients (x-cept BBQ Sauce). Pour over meat & marinate over-nite in non-corrocive pan. Bake in liquid for 1 hr per lb at 275 Deg. in covered pan, baste occasionally. Remove cover last hour of total time & pour BBQ sauce over brisket & increase temp to 350 deg remaining time.(Tent foil to cover meat) I skim fat frm liq or frig till hard..Then thicken with corn starch or rue for gravy. May be a little salty frm soy souce. That can be fixed ! Punch lots of holes in meat with a big fork..both sides..before frig over-nite. MUST serve w/smashed tators, green beans & King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls !!

  47. Tomoko

    I have a smaller brisket, 2.3 pounds. Will the timing be much less? Thanks for any advice!

    • Elise

      Hi Tomoko, my guess is that the timing will be the same given that you are basically slow cooking it. If you were roasting it (not recommended), that would be a different story.

  48. Meilita

    waow I am drooling over this pot roast :) so delicious and tempting.

  49. Burnt

    Followed this recipe and it got burnt, all onions blackened and in edible. Ruined!!!
    Temperature must be too high.
    Thanks a bunch

    • Elise

      The temperature listed in the recipe is correct. It sounds as if your oven temp may be off though, so I would check it with an oven thermometer. Another thing that could cause a burnt roast is if your pot didn’t have a tight fitting lid. If too much moisture escaped while cooking, the roast would dry out. Finally, I noticed from your email that you are writing from the UK. The temperature listed in this recipe is in Fahrenheit not Celsius. If you had set your oven to 300°C instead of 300°F, you would have burned the roast.

  50. Jess

    Hi Elise, do you think I can use daikon instead of parsnip as they are not available here. Thanks!

  51. Liz

    I made this last night exactly as written and it was amazing. The mustard sauce is a must. Served with yukon gold mashed potatoes thru a potato ricer.

  52. Kelli

    Wow, does this look good! Saved and making it!

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