According to "The Dictionary of American Food and Drink," the term "pot roast" dates in print to 1881. Even though the pot roast method was originally devised to cook tougher cuts of beef, it's still a favorite with today's more tender cuts of beef.
It's easier to find tasty and tender beef cuts today, but inexpensive chuck is still the preferred cut for the most flavorful and juicy pot roast. Other good choices are brisket, rump roast, and top and bottom round. Grocery stores often stick a helpful label on roasts to indicate the best method of cooking, and some even indicate what cuts of meat are good in the crockpot.
Preparation usually includes seasoning then browning the meat, which enhances the flavor and adds color. Liquids might include water, broth, wine, cola or beer, and a variety of vegetables can be added to flavor the meat or make it a complete meal. The easiest way to eliminate excess fat is to cook the pot roast in advance then refrigerate for several hours or overnight; the fat will solidify on the top of the liquid for easy removal. Make the gravy, warm the meat in the microwave, then serve with vegetables.
As you'll see when you look at the featured recipes, there are a variety of ways to cook a pot roast, and the flavoring and seasoning possibilities are endless. Like most main dish recipes, pot roast is very adaptable, so don't be afraid to substitute with the ingredients you have on hand.