Shredded Italian Pot Roast


I was 46 before I owned a Crock-Pot, but when I bought it, I bought it with great purpose. Last Christmas I was home visiting family in Kansas City, Missouri, when talk turned to food — as it always does. Somehow my parents and I began talking about “Italian Shredded Beef” and before much time passed mom shifted from describing to cooking. She made a simple tangy variation on a classic pot roast using a Crock-Pot and a recipe given to her years ago by a family friend, Lenore Messina. I tried it. I loved it. I got on a plane to Sacramento. I bought a Crock-Pot.

I now have a new name for Mrs. Messina (“Aunt Crock-Pot”) and a go-to, easy-prep, slow-cook supper-time favorite. It’s especially worth trying as the seasons change and we move the heat from our weather to our plates.

Shredded Italian Pot Roast:  The pictured variation was made with pork, baby carrots, baby bella mushrooms and petite potatoes.

Shredded Italian Pot Roast (Recipe courtesy of Lenore Messina via Millie Armato. Where “Aunt Crock-Pot” got it is lost to history.)

3- to 4-pound beef rump roast (also called bottom round) or pork loin roast
2 packages Good Seasoning dry mix Italian dressing, 1 “zesty” and 1 “regular”
1 16-ounce jar pepperoncini peppers (do not drain)
1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 2 cups boiling water
Vegetables according to taste and imagination

Put all ingredients in Crock-Pot in order listed.

Cook on high for approximately 8 hours or low for approximately 14 hours.

After slow cooking, the meat will fall apart at the touch of a fork, shredding or slicing easily. Serve on Italian rolls with a side of the broth for dipping a la a French Dip, or simply ladle into a shallow bowl for forkfuls of goodness.

This is the basic recipe. Variations are endless. Pork works as well as beef. And at various times I’ve added onions, fresh garlic, carrots, mushrooms and small Yukon Gold potatoes or petite reds with great success. (Add those or similarly hearty veggies from the start. More delicate veggies such as green beans may be best added part-way through the cooking to keep them from becoming too mushy.) Also, a cup or so of red wine gives the broth an even richer flavor. I’ve made this recipe often and never the same way twice.

The pepperoncini peppers and zesty dressing mix give the roast a spicy edge. Go easy on the peppers/juice or try 2 regular dressing packets instead of 1 zesty and 1 regular to make it milder, especially for milder meats such as pork.

This is a fantastically simple recipe and absolutely delicious. The interplay of the pepperoncini’s vinegary bite and the spices in the dressing mixes keep the flavor alive and tingling on your tongue well after each bite.

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  • Erica | Jan 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Yes! My mother use to make this and it is delicious. Her recipe is almost identical. Instead of using a crock pot, she sears the roast on all sides in a large pot, then adds the liquids, Pepperoncinis, dressing and seasoning, along with diced garlic and onions. We usually add potatoes and carrots towards the end. We’ve always done this on the stovetop but I imagine it would be delicious in the crock pot at well.