[Real Deal] Mississippi Roast
April 12, 2021
Many of us are familiar with the Mississippi Roast recipe that flooded the internet using packaged ranch dressing and au jus. The 5-ingredient recipe is known, rightfully so, for its simplicity and surprising flavor. Like so many, I tried it and loved it.
I loved it so much that I just couldn’t wait to make it again, but reading the list of ingredients on those dry mixes put a quick halt to that excitement. Here I am, investing in ethically raised, top-notch nutritious grass-fed beef and dumping less-than-ideal (if even recognizable!) ingredients on top of it. And, so it began, my journey to create a from-scratch version of Mississippi Roast. It packs all of the flavor punch, without monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial flavors, or any of the too-difficult-to-pronounce ingredients.
Cooking, to me, is a passion. It is my favorite creative outlet and allows me to feed myself and my loved ones meals that are just as nutritious as they are delicious. The kitchen is a space that allows for ever-evolving learning and creativity, like an art studio. I picture myself as an artist, working to transform my ideas into something that can be shared with others to enjoy. However, my go-to tools are neither canvas nor paint brushes, but instead pans and utensils.
Among my list of favorite tools in the kitchen is a versatile workhorse – the Dutch oven. The deep, enameled cast iron pot with its tight-fitting lid is a perfect cooking vessel for many different recipes, but it really shines when it comes to slow cooking or braising roasts. Like all things cast iron, its ability to maintain evenly distributed heat is ideal for searing any cut of meat to perfection. The beauty of the Dutch oven is the ease of which it transfers from the stovetop to oven with all of those yummy bits left over from browning.
With my love of my Dutch oven aside, this recipe can also be made in an electric slow cooker and you will see those directions at the bottom of the recipe.
Although it’s possible, I do not recommend skipping the browning step, as the crust that forms imparts loads of flavor and texture.
While my goal in trying to recreate the Mississippi Roast was to use simple, “real” ingredients, the new and improved version also happens to be gluten-free. You can still lightly coat the roast in flour before browning if you wish, however, I have found that it is not necessary. This is where it is very important to pat your roast dry before searing, as the dry meat coming into contact with the hot oil is what allows the roast to develop that flavorful thick crust.
I used a Bottom Round Roast, as it is what I had on hand, and it turned out beautiful. Chuck is another beef roast available at Grand View Farm that would be excellent in this recipe, even brisket!
When using a Bottom Round or other cut with a thick fat cap, I like to make diagonal slices about 1” apart in the fat, almost through to the meat. It helps to render and crisp the fat while also allowing more flavor to penetrate. This step is not necessary for this recipe, however, because the style of cooking allows the roast to absorb flavors from all sides and we will eventually be shredding the meat into the juices.
Taking a look at the ingredients, you may have thought, “Wow, that’s a lot of butter!”. It is, and is one thing that remains from the original recipe. I have experimented using only ¼ cup, and while it was still very flavorful, it was lacking. Maybe you’re wondering, “Hungarian paprika? I only have regular paprika”, or “Hmm, I’m not sure if I’d like THAT much pepperoncini”.
No worries! There are three main types of paprika; sweet, hot and smoked. Sweet paprika is most common, typically only labeled as “Paprika”. Smoked paprika is, you guessed it, made with peppers that were smoked and dried using oak, giving it a very bold and smoky flavor. Hot paprika is the Hungarian version, which is what we want for this recipe. I was lucky enough to have received a gift of Hungarian paprika from a friend’s travels to Budapest years ago, and it has since been a staple in my pantry. If you do not have any, simply substitute sweet paprika and add a dash of ground cayenne.
Now, back to those pepperoncini. I was hesitant my first time making this and went a little light on them. I instantly regretted that choice once I took my first bite, and every time making it since, I throw a few extra in the pot last minute because I can’t seem to get enough!
Once you try this version of Mississippi Roast, you’ll be wishing you had more! It is more versatile than your typical pot roast and goes well with just about any side imaginable. Mashed potatoes, noodles or riced cauliflower are all delicious. My go-to has to be the simplistic beauty of serving it on a platter alongside roasted seasonal vegetables garnished with chives (or foraged wild garlic in the spring!).
I always try to make extra to ensure leftovers. Our household favorite is to make sandwiches loaded with reheated, shredded meat on a toasted fresh bun, topped with a simple slaw made with Mississippi Ranch. It is also delicious leftover as-is, or can be transformed as far as your creativity can stretch! Enchiladas, lettuce wraps, pot pie…the options are endless.
Mississippi Roast from-scratch couldn’t be any easier to make. Simply whisk together the Mississippi Ranch ingredients and let chill while browning your beef in a Dutch oven.
If using a roast with a fat cap, place the fat side up in Dutch oven or slow cooker and top with butter, pepperoncini, and half of the ranch. Cover with lid and place Dutch oven into your preheated oven, or set your slow cooker to LOW and cook for recommended time based on the weight of your roast.
When cooking is complete, your roast will shred easily with a fork. If it does not, it simply needs to cook longer. If this is the case, immediately replace the lid and continue to cook in 30 minute increments until tender. Should it begin to dry out after the initial cooking period, you can add a splash of beef stock, though this shouldn’t be necessary.
Remove from the heat, pour half of the remaining ranch onto the roast, shred and incorporate into the juices. Replace the lid and set aside until ready to eat.
Garnish with fresh sliced pepperoncini and serve with the remaining ranch for optional table-side drizzling. Enjoy!