The original recipe for what is now known as Mississippi pot roast first began to cause a stir in the early 2000s, when Robin Chapman of Ripley, Mississippi, started riffing on a chuck roast recipe she remembered from her aunt. Taking the endlessly adaptable beef roast as inspiration, Robin went on to create a simple little recipe that has since taken the Internet by storm.
What’s a Mississippi Pot Roast?
It blends together five distinct and rather unexpected ingredients: one packet of ranch seasoning, one packet of au jus gravy mix, two or more jarred pepperoncini (yes, as in those light green peppers that come in the pizza delivery box), a full stick of butter, and a 3- to 5-pound chuck roast.
The first iteration Chapman made replaced the Italian seasoning mix her aunt preferred for something milder—hence her decision to use ranch.
As offbeat as this ingredient combo sounds, Chapman’s recipe garnered rave reviews. They first started with her own family, and then really began to gain notoriety when she served the dish to a childhood friend, who submitted it to a church cookbook, which led to one blog post, and then another, before the first of what would become more than one million Pinterest pins, making Robin’s recipe one of the Internet’s most popular.
What Kind of Meat Is Used in a Mississippi Roast?
Opt for one of the tougher cuts of meat in the case—look for meats labeled “chuck roast” or “shoulder steak.” Cuts packaged as “7-bone chuck roast” or “cross rib chuck roast” are also ideal choices.
These meats take particularly well to braising, which is essentially what you are doing when simmering them along with a mix of broth and aromatics for several hours at a time. As it cooks, the roast’s connective tissue melts, which helps baste the beef, creating that crave-worthy, fork-tender result come dinner time. If your family prefers a different cut of meat, Robin’s recipe also works well with sirloin tip and rump roast.
How Do You Make a Mississippi Pot Roast?
Making a Mississippi roast is easy! You can play with the ingredient amounts to amp up or tone down the flavors to your liking. New York Times writer Sam Sifton opted for five times the amount of pepperoncini called for in the original recipe, reasoning that “eight to 10 provide some zing against the richness of the sauce.”
He also prepared the dish with homemade ranch mix (like this), reporting that the effort took no more time, produced the same delicious result, and most importantly, kept his dish healthier than the artificial ingredients found in pre-packaged seasoning and gravy mixes. In lieu of gravy mix, Sifton first seared the roast, seasoning it liberally with salt, pepper, and a generous coating of all-purpose flour. (Hint: It’s super easy to make your own gravy mix. This recipe makes a generous batch that you can store and use for up to six months.)
However you choose to tweak this recipe, the basic mechanics of Mississippi pot roast remain the same, resulting in a creamy, satisfying blend of fall-apart tender roast, doused in a rich, buttery sauce that just beckons you back for seconds (and thirds).
Here is Robin’s original recipe—the official Mississippi Pot Roast:
- 3- to 4-pound roast, your choice of cut
- 1 stick butter
- 1 package au jus gravy mix
- 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (dry)
- Pepperoncini peppers, number to your liking, and a little juice
Here’s how Robin sums up her method (it’s perfectly simple): “Sometimes we use chuck, sometimes sirloin tip, sometimes rump. Sometimes we sear it. Sometimes we don’t. Put roast in slow cooker. Add other ingredients. Salt and pepper if you like and cook until tender.”
Mix it up with equally unexpected side dishes that pair beautifully with this pot roast. Particularly if you’re so over steamed carrots—these Applesauce Sweet Potatoes complement the savory flavors of the roast while adding a bit of sweetness. This creamy Spinach Souffle can balance out the meal, while also packing more of a veggie punch.