Red Meat. It’s a sign of joy, affluence, and celebration. We avoid it during times of mourning and turn to it during special occasions, but the age old saying “there’s no celebration without meat and wine” is not always accurate. I’ve had many a memory of an overcooked steak or goulash meat that sat in a slow cooker for much longer than would be considered healthy.
For years, my realm of red meat was limited to ground beef in spaghetti sauce. I did not dare roast a brisket or slow cook a London broil for fear of over-cooking and ruining dinner. As I have grown more adventurous as a cook, and been inspired by others, It turns out that cooking meat isn’t all that difficult at all. I was lacking the attention to detail and a meat thermometer.
If you’re rolling your eyes and thinking “I don’t need a thermometer”, put your trust in me next time you make a roast, and indulge me. Either you’ll notice the difference and thank me, or you’ll go back to your previous method and never think of it again.
My first meat thermometer was a gift, and yes, I rolled my eyes. I figured I didn’t need a gadget to tell me how to cook, it took the fun out of it, it meant I was relinquishing control to a tool. I got over it, and my food is better for it! This is the gift of x-ray vision that can be the difference between “medium-rare” and “trash-can”.
When preparing this roast in seasonal ale think about when you are serving the dish. Is this going to go from crock-pot to table or re-heated for the next day? If you do plan to re-heat, make sure not to over-do it. The marinating of the beef in ale gives it a wonderful tenderness and you can keep it in the gravy when re-heating too. While I used a Trader Joe’s seasonal ale in this dish, any dark beer, Guinness or stout will work just as well. The dark beers pair nicely with the prunes and pearl onions in this dish for a well rounded flavor.
Now, for the recipe!