Aw, ya had to go and ask, didn't ya.....
Okay, some preliminary stuff....I'm just typing excerpts from the article, not the whole thing.
And let's get the disclaimers out of the way.
This is quoted and paraphrased from Cook's Illustrated....
"How to Cook Pot Roast" by Bridget Lancaster and their test kitchen.
"The sirloin roasts tested - the bottom rump roast and top sirloin - were the leanest of the cuts and needed a longer cooking period to break down the meat to a palatable texture. The round cuts - top round, bottom round, and eye of round -had more fat running though them than the sirloin cuts, but the meat was chewy. The chuck cuts - shoulder roast, boneless chuck roast, cross rib, 7-bone roast, top-blade roast, and chuck eye roast - cooked up the most tender, though the preference was given to the 7-bone, top-blade, and chuck-eye."
"Tough meat can benefit from low, dry heat of oven roasting, or it can be boiled. With pot roast, however, the introduction of moisture by means of a braising liquid is thought to be integral to the breakdown of tough muscle fibers. We also tried dry-roasting and boiling just to make sure. Braising was the winner. This is because muscle is made up of two major components: muscle fibers and connective tissue, the membraneous, translucent film that covers the bundles of muscle fiber and gives them structure and support.
Muscle fiber is tender because it has has a high water content (up to 78%). Once meat is heated beyond 120 dgrees, the long strands of muscle fiber contract and coil, expelling moisture. In contrast, connective tissue is tough because it is composed of primarily collegan. When collegan is heated in excess of 140 degress, it starts to break down to gelatin, the protien responsible for the tender meat, thick sauces, and rich mouthfeel of braised dishes.
In essence, then, meat both dries out as it cooks (meat fibers lose moisture) and becomes softer (the collagen melts.) That is why (depending on cut) meat is best either cooked rare or pot-roated - cooked to the point that the collagen dissolves completely."
Then they talk about browning and braising liquids....they varied the amount of liquid from a scant 1/4 cup to fully covering the meat, and found the best amount was to cover the meat about 1/2 way up the sides. Too little liquid produced meat too tough....completely covering had no added benefit, and took longer to reduce to a nice sauce. They did find that covering the casserole with aluminum foil under the lid helped to keep the steam from escaping and made a better roast.
They then tried different liquids for braising....straight water, red wine, low salt chicken broth, beef broth and various combinations of the four. Straight red wine gave a potent wine flavor that was rated "good" but not traditional pot roast. Straight chicken broth gave too much of a poultry flavor, and straight beef broth gave a sour flavor. They ended up with a combination of all four....
They then cooked the roast at various times and temperatures....both on the stove top and in the oven. The stove top was found to be too hard to control the temperature.
In the oven, they started out at 250, which was acceptable, but took a long time. They tried higher heat, and found anything above 350 actually boiled the meat to a stringy dry texture because the the exterior was overcooked before the interior was done. 300 was the magic temperature.
They then cooked the meat to various internal temperatures from 165 up to 210. At 210, the connective tissue and fat melts, so that was the target. It was found that simply bringing the meat to 210 was acheived in about 2 1/2 hours at 300 oven temperature, but they didn't get the "fall apart tender" they were looking for.
Quite by accident (someone forgot about the roast in the oven), they found out that after the 2 1/2 hours at 300, if the roast stays in the oven, the internal temperature does not rise past
the 210....but the meat had a substaintially different appearance and texture. So, they found that you not only need to acheive the 210 internal temperature, but then cook it another hour such that the collagen and fat completely melts.
All that being said, the recipe:
For pot roast, we recommend chuck eye roast tied with twine. 7-Bone and top blade roasts are good second choices. Remember to add only enough liquid to come 1/2 way up the sides of the roasts, which will be less for the thinner 7-bone or top blade roasts. Just keep the proportions of beef broth, chicken broth, red wine, and water consistant.
1 Boneless chuck-eye roast, about 3 1/2 lbs
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped medium
1 small carrot, chopped medium
1 small rib clery, chopped medium
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup canned low-sodium beef broth
1 sprig fresh thyme
1-1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup dry red wine
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pat roast dry with paper towels, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown the roast on all sides, 8-10 minutes, lowering the heat if it starts to smoke.
Transfer roast to a plate, set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add carrot, onion, and celery and cook, stirring occasionaly, until beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and sugar, cook about 30 seconds. Add the chicken and beef broths and the thyme, and scrape up the browned bits from the pan.
Return the roast and any juice on the plate. Add enough water to come 1/2 way up the side of the roast. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat, then place a large piece of aluminum foil over the pot and cover tightly with a lid.
Transfer the pot to the oven. Cook, turning roast every 30 minutes, until fully tender and a meat fork or sharp knife easily slips in and out of meat, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. (Also test with a meat thermometer....when roast reaches 210, roast for 1 hour longer).
Transfer roast to carving board and tent with foil. Allow liquid in the pot to settle about 5 minutes, then skim the fat off the surface and discard the thyme sprig.
Boil the liquid over high heat until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Add red wine and reduce again to 1 1/2 cups, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut meat into 1/2" thick slices, or pull apart into large pieces. Transfer meat to serving platter and pour about 1/2 cup sauce over meat. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.
Variations - With Root Vegetables.
Same as above. When roast is almost tender, add 1 1/2 pounds carrots sliced 1/2" thick, 1 1/2 pounds small red potaotes, halved, and 1 pound parsnips, sliced 1/2" thick. Cook until the vegetables are partially tender, about 20-30 minutes.
Remove the roast, skim the broth as above, add the wine, and boil over high heat until the vegetables are fully tender.
Sppon the vegetables to the platter, and serve with the meat and sauce as above.
With Mushrooms, Tomatoes, and Red Wine
Follow recipe above, but add 10 ounces white button (or other) mushrooms, quartered, to the Dutch Oven with the carrots, celery and onions. Decrease the chicken and beef broth to 1/2 cup each, and add 1/2 cup dry red wine and 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice.
Proceed with the above recipe as stated.
Phew....I'm tired of typing.....sorry for any typos I may have missed....