Slow cooker mocha-rubbed pot roast is on the menu with this recipe. What’s not to love already?
You’re probably thinking, “Coffee? Pot roast? What?!” but rest assured that it’s not like downing a cup of joe. The coffee adds a subtle depth of flavor to this Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast that the spices alone can’t achieve. The end result was very tender meat and a flavorful sauce.
Coffee is well-loved as an ingredient for steak rubs because it complements the beef’s flavor without overwhelming it. I decided to apply that concept to this recipe and include coffee in two places: the rub for the roast and the braising liquid. If you can’t have caffeine, you can certainly substitute a decaf coffee instead.
The result is a depth of flavor that’s hard to achieve without the earthy notes of the coffee. I took it up one level by adding cocoa powder to complement the coffee. Of course, cocoa and coffee are known for their bitter undertones, so I added the figs for a hint of sweetness and the balsamic vinegar for a touch of acidity. (A great tasting dish is all about balancing flavors, you see.)
You can also use cacao instead of cocoa. What’s the difference? Cacao is cold-pressed from the cocoa bean and so is a raw product. That means it retains its antioxidants and enzymes. Cocoa is what you get once the bean has been roasted. If you do opt for cocoa, see if you can find a Dutch-process cocoa powder. It should have a deeper, richer chocolate flavor than other types of cocoa powder.
I’ve made this recipe with both cacao and cocoa. Both yield a good result, and cocoa powder is usually much easier to find in traditional supermarkets.
For best results, be sure to select a roast that’s not too lean. You want some fat marbled through the meat to keep it from drying out. If you’re not sure, talk to your butcher and get some advice for choosing the right roast for this dish. Chuck roast should do the trick, and it’s widely available. Plus, it tends to be more affordable than other roasts.
If you have time, I highly recommend taking the liquid from the crock pot and reducing it down by boiling until it becomes thicker. It’s nice to drizzle on top of the Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast, almost like a gravy. Of course, if you’re in a rush, you can skip that step. If you need to feed a crowd, this recipe can be easily doubled.
Don’t stress if you can’t find black figs; any type of dried figs will work. Or, try dried dates. They have a caramel flavor that would pair well with the beef.
Need an idea of what to serve your Slow Cooker Mocha-Rubbed Pot Roast with?
- Will’s Yam Fries
- Stuffed Sweet Potato
- Kohlrabi Salad with Apple Ginger Vinaigrette
- Fennel Tomato Salad
- Paleo Roasted Asparagus
Of course, these are just a few suggestions. Dive over to the Recipe Index to see more options if none of those suits you!
- For the Mocha Rub (you will have extra)
- 2 tbsp finely ground coffee beans
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp Aleppo pepper (or sweet paprika)
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp sea salt
- For the Roast
- 2 lb. beef roast (I used grass-fed chuck)
- 1 cup brewed coffee
- 1 cup beef broth
- ½ an onion, chopped
- 6 dried figs, chopped
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Prepare the mocha rub by mixing together the finely ground coffee, smoked paprika, black pepper, cocoa powder, Aleppo pepper (sub: sweet paprika), chili powder, ground ginger and salt in a small bowl. You won't use the entire batch if you're making a 2-pound roast. It stores well in an airtight container.
- Pat the beef roast dry with a paper towel. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mocha rub mixture over the roast and rub it in well with your hands.
- Combine the brewed coffee, beef broth, onion, figs, and balsamic vinegar in a blender. Puree until liquified.
- Pour the liquid into the crock pot and place the roast gently on top.
- Cook for 5 to 6 hours on low.
- Remove the meat and shred with two forks. You can then boil the liquid until it reduces and thickens or simply serve as is. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.