Something magical seems to happen when this dish cooks for a long time—the meat becomes fragrant and the garlic becomes caramelized and sweet. The “gravy” that results is so delicious that you’ll need some bread handy to sop it up. The addition of the gingersnaps might seem odd, but they add a lot of flavor and help thicken the gravy.

Game plan: The roasted garlic recipe below makes more than you’ll need for the pot roast. Save the remaining garlic for soup or guacamole.

The roast can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days, or frozen for 1 month. To reheat the pot roast, place the meat and gravy in a saucepan. Add enough chicken stock to moisten the meat, usually only about 1/4 cup. Cover and cook on low heat until heated through.

Suggested accompaniments: Grits, mashed potatoes.

This dish was featured as part of our Hanukkah Recipes photo gallery. For more slow-cooker beef inspiration, see our crock pot roast recipe using porcini and beer.

  • Yield: 6 – 8 servings
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 50 min, plus cooking and marinating time 
  • Active: 50 mins

Ingredients (18)

For the roasted garlic:

  • 8 heads garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (about 4 large cloves)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (plus extra for browning the roast)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (3- to 5-pound) chuck roast, fat trimmed

For the sauce:

  • 2 large Spanish onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup dark beer, such as Guinness or Aventinus
  • 1 whole head of the roasted garlic (save the rest for another use)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup crumbled gingersnaps (about 15 small cookies; store-bought are fine)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste


For the roasted garlic:

  1. Cut off the very top (the nonroot end) of the garlic heads. Discard the tops. Place the garlic on a large piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with the olive oil.
  2. Fold the foil into a large package, sealing the edges well. Place the package in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Set aside 1 whole head for the pot roast sauce. Transfer the remaining 7 heads to a jar or freezer container and cover the surface of the garlic with about 1/2 inch of olive oil. Cover tightly and store.

Marinate the roast:

  1. In a bowl large enough to hold the roast, stir together the chopped garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, vinegar, tomato paste, and 1 tablespoon each of salt and pepper. Add the roast and turn it to coat on all sides. Cover the bowl and marinate for at least 3 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Remove the roast from the marinade and pat dry. Discard the marinade. Lightly season the roast with salt and pepper. Brown the meat on all sides, about 7 minutes per side. Set aside the roast, but do not clean the pan.
  3. Preheat a 6-1/2-quart slow cooker to high.

Make the sauce:

  1. Add the onions to the reserved frying pan and cook until brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, until the garlic is very fragrant and has softened slightly; do not let the garlic brown. Add the beer. Scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon or spatula. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker insert.
  2. Place the roast and any collected juices in the insert. Squeeze the head of roasted garlic out of the skin and into the insert. Add the stock, gingersnaps, and tomato paste. Stir together. Cover and cook on high until the roast can be pierced easily with a fork, about 7 to 8 hours.
  3. Remove the roast from the slow cooker and keep warm. Strain the sauce before serving. Cut the roast into large chunks and serve hot with your choice of accompaniment. Pass the sauce.