I’m pretty sure that most American citizens between 3 and 99 years old—which makes up the bulk of my sandwich blog audience—have some sort of history with a thing called pot roast. If you’re not familiar with pot roast, it’s made from a big hunk of beef and as its name insinuates, it is roasted or slow cooked for much of the day, leaving the meat very tender. Often, other vegetables like potatoes and carrots are slowly cooked alongside the roast, completing the meal. Pot roast is well-known by many for being comforting but it seems like not everyone finds it super exciting.
I feel like pot roast gets some negative press due to the fact that it starts out as a tough cut of meat, and sometimes never moves on from being tough, but I suspect that many people didn’t enjoy pot roast because of a lack of seasoning. All of this is my anecdotal experience though, so if you hate pot roast for another reason, you can release your anger and let me know in the comments below.
This week I decided to make a sandwich with a super simple-to-make, but very flavorful pot roast recipe, and then I added a crunchy, fried component to accompany the beef. This is a Mississippi pot roast sandwich topped with melted, white cheddar cheese and crispy fried onion strings.
What the heck is Mississippi pot roast?
First off, this week is the week I finally became a qualified expert at typing the word Mississippi.
These are the jingles and helpful reminders that go through my head every time I typed it:
M-i-crooked letter-crooked letter-i-crooked letter-crooked letter-i-humpback-humpback-i
Em. Eye. Double Ess.
Eye. Double Ess.
Eye. Double Pee. Eye.
Because of this, I got good at typing Mississippi this week. I did write it more than 25 times in this blog post after all!
Ok, that didn’t answer the question.
But what is Mississippi pot roast, really?
Southern Living, a magazine and website that focuses on southern food and lifestyle, reports that Mississippi roast was the brainchild of Robin Chapman from Ripley, Mississippi. Chapman apparently had come up with the recipe by recreating her aunt’s pot roast into a version that might be more enjoyable for her kids.
She shared it with a friend who put it in a local church cookbook and the rest became viral recipe-sharing magic.
Here’s a video of Mississippi pot roast being made.
According to this Delish article about Mississippi pot roast, Robin Chapman has even ridden her roast beef recipe fame straight to Good Morning America in 2016. As of the time of her GMA appearance the pot roast recipe had been pinned on Pinterest more than a million times which I would guess is a whole bunch of times.
Before I even made this pot roast recipe I could tell that there was a clear focus as to why this recipe had achieved such internet fame. It has only five ingredients and three of them are bangers in the flavor department. Yes, of course, the three super flavorful ingredients have to blend well together, and that’s the magic, but if you can get it to work, you’re going to get a lot of pot roast haters back on board.
Mississippi pot roast process
This recipe calls for 4 ingredients plus three pounds of beef chuck roast. Almost all of the recipes online for Mississippi pot roast require the use of a slow cooker. Most suggest low for 8 hours or high for 5 to 6 hours. I went with low and eight hours later the beef was fork tender and way more au jus was created than I was expecting.
What kind of butter to use?
A lot of the recipes on the internet for Mississippi pot roast say to use “butter” but some do specify the unsalted variety. I don’t always have unsalted butter in my house, so I did use salted butter in this batch of sandwiches.
This is a fairly salty dish to begin with so if you’re at all worried about extra sodium, you should use unsalted butter. But if you do end up using salted butter, you’re only adding a little less than 1 teaspoon of salt—via the butter addition—to the entire dish, which should be more than 6 servings.
Answering the next question for all you Ranch Haters™ out there!
Does the pot roast taste like ranch dressing?
No, it does not. A big part of the flavor of ranch dressing comes from buttermilk and mayonnaise. These seasoning packets do contain buttermilk powder, but nothing comes through in the flavor that will remind you of ranch dressing in the final pot roast.
To my taste buds, the pepperoncini liquid contributed a lot more flavor to the final pot roast than the dressing powder for sure.
Is this pot roast recipe good?
I am here to say that this pot roast recipe is very tasty, flavorful, and savory. It leans on the salty side for sure but paired with something like mashed potatoes, rice, or in-between bread it should balance out a bit. It is not a recipe for those of you that might desire to be in full control of your ingredients. Each of the two powder packets has some very long words in their ingredient lists. If you like to make everything from scratch and monitor everything that you eat, this is not the recipe for you.
Part of the reason this recipe works is that there is some super magic in the two powdery packet additions. Things like Monosodium Glutamate and the bouillon-y and flavor punch from the au jus are simply going to create something that tastes good and is fully seasoned. No one serving this pot roast will be accused of forgetting the seasoning.
If you like seasoned, good-tasting meat in a beefy au jus sauce, then I think this recipe will do just fine. For just five ingredients, very few of them liquid, this produces a whole lot of au jus as well. Which is fantastic for the piece of slightly crusty bread that we’re planning to use for sandwiching.
My Mississippi pot roast review
If you’re tasked to feed a family or anyone at all, make this recipe, boil some quartered potatoes, and then mash them with a little butter and milk/cream. Serve them both together and you will be the hero of the day. I know a lot of folks have personal histories of bad pot roasts in their youth, but if they had used this recipe that wouldn’t be a thing. This recipe works and it makes for a fantastic sandwich component.
Chicago-style sub rolls
I’m going to treat this sandwich a lot like an Italian beef from Mississippi and make my Chicago-style sub rolls to use for sandwiching them. These are the rolls that I created for my Italian beef sandwiches so they should work great here.
I whipped up a batch of them to match 3 pounds of pot roast and the next thing I knew I was ready for sandwiching the rest of the week.
I used sliced white cheddar cheese in these sandwiches and melted them when I was reheating the meat and au jus. This worked well, and all the meat and cheese were hot when added to the roll. You could use any sliced cheese in the application. I would stay away from hard cheeses simply because they probably wouldn’t have enough time to melt.
This sandwich will certainly work with shredded cheese if that’s what you have or what you want to use.
Crispy onion strings
I love onion rings and these onion strings will definitely bring the flavor and texture of onion rings into a sandwich. You can make the whole recipe into a batch of onion rings if you simply use rings instead of pieces of quartered onions, but the string version seems to work better in a sandwich in my experience.
Fried onion strings can be stored and reheated later as long as you allow them to fully cool for at least an hour on paper towels or a cooling rack, and then after they are stored in a sealed container or plastic bag in the refrigerator, they need to be warmed again in a 350 F oven for 5 to 7 minutes. If you have a pan with a cooling rack that will allow the warming onion strings to rest on the rack, allowing hot air to circulate, this is better, but it also works in a regular pan in the oven.
Crispy fried onion strings are a fantastic addition to almost any sandwich. Be very careful though because you may end up eating them all as snacks. This recipe is using a quarter of an onion which is enough for 3 to 4 sandwiches, but double or quadruple the recipe for more.Get Recipe
Mississippi pot roast sandwich recipe
The full recipe is below, but I just wanted to address how I prepared this sandwich and turned it into a warm sandwich after the pot roast had already cooled since most of the components come straight from the refrigerator.
Reheating the meat
I didn’t eat any of these sandwiches as the pot roast was coming out of the slow cooker—but you could. In my situation, I had a whole lot of cold beef to address when it became time for sandwiching. This was easy to solve though. I just put a sandwich’s worth of meat and a little of the au jus into a medium-high heat pan and cooked it for 2 to 3 minutes while it warmed up. Then I added any cheese that I wanted in the sandwich on top of the meat and covered the pan, allowing the cheese to melt for another 2 minutes or so.
Then the meat is hot, the cheese is melty, and everything should be ready for the sandwich.
There’s quite a bit of grease that comes along with leftover, refrigerated pot roast, so this warming technique also helps remove some of that.
ALTHOUGH it doesn’t hurt if some of that extra meat juice gets into the bread while you are building the sandwich, moistening it into a juicier situation. Don’t hesitate to make sure that any liquid left in the pan after 4 to 6 minutes of warming time gets into the sub roll.
Here’s that recipe
Here we go, let’s eat some roast beef sandwiches!
A super savory sandwich packed with juicy roast beef and cheddar. Topping it with crispy fried onions adds extra crunch and flavor.
Ingredients:Mississippi pot roast
- 3 pounds chuck roast
- 1 McCormick's Au Jus gravy packet (1 oz)
- 1 Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning Mix (1 oz)
- 12 to 15 pepperoncini peppers and half of the jar of pepper juice
- 1 stick of butter
- 1⁄2 medium onion
- 1⁄2 cup buttermilk or whole milk (enough to cover the onion slices)
- 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- oil for frying, at least 1 inch deep in your pan
- 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup Mississippi pot roast (from above)
- 1⁄4 cup crispy fried onions (from above)
- 1 six to eight inch sub roll
- 1 to 2 slices white cheddar cheese or other cheese slices
Mississippi pot roast: add all Mississippi pot roast ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. If you need it cooked a bit faster, you can cook it on high for 5 to 6 hours.
After a long stay in the slow cooker, the meat should be very tender, and it should have created a large amount of au jus. Allow the pot roast to sit in the slow cooker, turned off with the lid on for 30 minutes or so, and then attempt to skim off any fat from the top of the surface of the liquid.
I typically let the beef cool and store in the refrigerator and reheat it for a sandwich with the Sandwich assembly instructions below, but you can serve it immediately if you are eating now. If not eating now, keep the beef in a sealed container for no more than 4 or 5 days. You can freeze cooked pot roast for longer storage if needed.
Crispy fried onion strings: cut an onion into 4 quarters and slice thin slices off the quarter pieces, making thin strips of onion.
Add those thin strips of onion to a medium-sized bowl along with the buttermilk. You just need enough buttermilk so that the onion is submerged. Mix both together and add to the fridge to let the onion soak for 30 minutes to an hour.
In another medium bowl add your all-purpose flour, salt, garlic powder, and ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly.
After 30 minutes or so, remove the bowl with your onions and buttermilk from the fridge and place it beside the bowl with the flour.
Add at least 1 inch of vegetable, peanut, or canola oil to a large pan or pot and place it over medium-high heat. While your oil is heating you can start dredging your onion pieces. grab a handful of onions in the buttermilk and shake off most of the liquid. Add to the bowl with the flour mixture and coat the onions well. Leave the onion pieces in the bowl with the flour until the oil is hot enough.
When the oil has reached 350 degrees F (176 C) or if you don't have a thermometer, when tiny pieces of flour sprinkled over the oil start to sizzle upon entry, you are ready to start frying.
Carefully remove some onions from the flour mixture and shake off excess flour. Add to the hot oil carefully and fry in batches for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions turn a nice golden-brown color.
Once any onions are cooked, move them carefully to a cooling rack or paper towels to rest while you fry the rest of your onions.
Sandwich assembly: in a pan on the stove over medium heat, add a 1/2 to a 3/4 cup of beef. Make sure to grab a pepperoncini or two and remove the stems. The stems are edible, but I still usually will remove them.
Cook the beef for 2 minutes with an occasional stir to move the meat around. Add cheese slices on top of the beef and cover the pan. Cook everything for 2 additional minutes in the covered pan until the cheese has melted.
Add all the meat and cheese to a sliced sandwich roll. Top with a few crispy fried onion strings and serve.
Next week we’re getting Irish again!
Next week on the blog will be the lead-in to St Patrick’s Day so check back in to see where we end up!