I really like to cook beef roasts during the cold winter months, but the price of beef has been high for the last few years. I just can’t justify spending extra money when other meats, such as chicken, are cheaper. There is nothing like a perfectly cooked beef roast, paired with buttery mashed potatoes and gravy, that melts in your mouth. 

You may recall the drought that affected much of the U.S. 2010-2013. In 2013 the U.S cattle herd was at the lowest in 60 years, according to the New York Times. Some farmers tried to ship feed from the north, but ended up butchering many of their cattle early. The price of beef dropped, then sky rocketed and remained high for a couple years, but prices have finally come down. 

I’m back to buying hamburger and other beef products. Our family likes venison, but I prefer beef in tacos and spaghetti and for quintessential Midwest beef roasts. My favorite way to cook a beef roast is slow roasted with spices, onions, carrots and beer. 

My mother prepared beef roast by first browning it, then sprinkling spices on top and cooking it on low for hours. A recipe from a friend in 1991 for a Flemish beef roast is similar, but slow cooked in beer using other ingredients. Amazing! My mother and I have used the recipe ever since and it has become a family favorite. I hope you will enjoy it too—before beef prices begin to climb again. 

Flemish Beef Roast

6 slices of bacon

4 lbs. beef arm roast

½ cup brown sugar

2 tsp of salt

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp of dried thyme 

Pepper to taste

12 oz. mild beer

2 large onions

8 carrots, peeled and cut into slices 

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. In 5-quart Dutch oven, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels and crumble when cool. Brown beef in bacon fat over medium heat, turning occasionally, until entire roast is brown; drain and discard fat. 

Sprinkle brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, pepper, thyme, crumbled bacon over roast. Pour the beer around the sides, being careful not to wash the spices off the top. Add onions and carrots. Cover tightly and cook on low until beef is tender 3 ½ - 4 hours. Serve over mashed potatoes with gravy. 

Recipe for gravy

½ cup Wondra flour 

1 cup cold water

After the roast is cooked, remove from Dutch oven and plate with foil over the top to keep warm. Add 1 cup water to the pan drippings left over from the roast. With a wooden spoon scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Place Dutch oven over high heat and stir with a whisk. Add the water/flour mixture to the pan and stir briskly until gravy begins to boil and thicken. Remove from heat and serve over mashed potatoes.

Lisa Erickson is a food writer who loves an adventure—especially when food is involved. You can find more recipes on her blog at  www.wild-chow.com or email her at wildchowrecipes@gmail.com. with questions or comments.


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