Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

My crockpot roast beef has the best aroma ever but the flavor of the finished product is only average. I had a 4 pound tri-tip roast and seasoned it with the usual onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, cumin, basil, beef gravy packet, and enough beef broth to just cover roast in the crockpot. We walked in the door and the delicious aroma filled the whole house. But, when eating the roast, it was just okay. Lots of delicious aroma but very little flavor in the roast beef.

Why is this?

share|improve this question
3  
Please provide the full recipe and method for any hope of a reasonably helpful answer. –  SAJ14SAJ Mar 2 at 23:48
1  
Also please give details of the beef you used: what cut is it and what grade/quality. –  GdD Mar 3 at 10:04
1  
It would be much easier to identify if this whole smell-ivision ever took off... –  rfusca Mar 3 at 19:44
1  
I'm going to put this on hold for now since we don't have a good way to tell what's going wrong. Penny, if you come back, just edit your post and add a little detail, and we'll reopen it right away so you can get some answers! –  Jefromi Mar 3 at 20:06
2  
Its probably important to note that on a 4 pound cut of meat, whole, no seasoning is going to penetrate the interior of the meat. That's what sauces are for :) –  rfusca Mar 5 at 21:53

4 Answers 4

If we're talking about a solid, four pound cut of beef - the only flavor you're ever really going to get is on the exterior and just a little bit into the interior of the meat.

That said, cooking in the spices/components you list still may provide liquid gold. I would simply take some of the liquid that's leftover in the slow cooker after the roast has cooked and make a gravy out of it. You'll get the flavors you put in and have something to sauce the interior of the meat - that have been flavored with the juices of the meat as well.

Otherwise, if you're looking to 'infuse' more flavor into the beef itself, you'll need to consider something like a stew rather than a whole cut.

share|improve this answer
1  
I like your suggestion about making a gravy from the leftover liquid to sauce the interior of the meat. Sounds wonderful! Thank you for that suggestion. :) –  Penny B Mar 7 at 6:50

Also consider that long exposure to heat actually removes the flavour from a lot of herbs and spices that really need to be added at the or near the end of the cooking.

You could try infusing flavour into the meat with a syringe, or making sure to sear the entire outside very well prior to placing the roast into the slow cooker.

Also, proper seasoning (salt and pepper) goes a long ways to bringing out natural flavour in meat.

share|improve this answer
    
Thank you for your suggestion. I like the idea of using a syringe to infuse flavor. –  Penny B Mar 7 at 6:51

We walked in the door and the delicious aroma filled the whole house.

This is actually a strong hint as to what might be going wrong. Whenever you smell a delicious aroma during cooking, that's aromatic compounds that would otherwise add lots of flavor being lost to the air. When simmering a sauce, for example, it's not just water that is boiling away. If it was, you wouldn't smell that delicious aroma.

The higher the cooking temperature, the more of these flavorful aromatics will be lost. It's for this reason that many recipes recommend reducing sauces on as low a simmer as possible.

The smaller and lighter those [aromatic] compounds are, the more likely they are to jump out of the pot with the evaporating water and float off into the air.

J. Kenji López-Alt, Ask the Food Lab: Do I Really Need To Reduce Wine Separately?

It seems like the chemistry behind all this isn't really that well understood, but experimenting with two pots (of stock, for example) cooked at different temperatures and tasting the difference proves it to be true.

In summary: try cooking at a slower temperature for longer. An alternative to this would be to use a pressure cooker. The cooking temperature will be higher (thus reducing the length of time needed) but due to the pressure cooker being a sealed container, the aroma compounds aren't lost to the air.

share|improve this answer
    
It's in a crockpot, so it's already long and slow –  rfusca Mar 8 at 13:38
    
I'm not sure knowing it's being done in a crockpot alone means we can know it's being cooked long and slow. –  jcorcoran Mar 8 at 13:41
    
I guess so but it would be unusual to use a slow cooker for not cooking slow –  rfusca Mar 8 at 13:42
    
(Although I do think a sealed Dutch oven in a 200 degree oven is a far better method of slow cooking) –  rfusca Mar 8 at 13:44
1  
Apologies - I've just googled crockpot and it's not what I thought it was. Indeed, it's probably being slow cooked. Still, the points still stand, at least as something to give some consideration to. –  jcorcoran Mar 8 at 13:45

I had the same problem for months. My final solution was to beat up the roast a bit before I put in the slow cooker, and occasionally stab a few holes in the roast so the tasty liquids can get inside. I also reuse the left over liquid as a gravy. Presentation wise the roast looks like it got hit by a truck, but who cares when every bite is juicy and tasty.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.