Alton Brown's Slow-Cooker Paleo Pot Roast

Alton Brown's Slow-Cooker Paleo Pot Roast Recipe via Worthy Pause (Whole30, Gluten-Free)

Whether he knows it or not, Alton Brown's pot roast recipe is paleo.

Alton Brown is the Bill Nye of cooking shows, a James Beard Award winner and a bit of a personal hero of mine. Good Eats was my jam back in the '00s — I learned a TON about cooking by watching his totally cheesy-but-informative antics. 

Alton always had one very specific topic for each show. For example, there'd be an entire episode dedicated to cocoa, and he'd go into the history and the chemistry of cocoa and then run through a couple of recipes that illustrated those historical and chemical properties that he'd just talked about. Even though the production quality of Good Eats is laughable sometimes (the intro graphics make me cringe every time), there's never been another cooking show that presents information in the exact way my brain likes to be presented with information. 

If you haven't seen Good Eats before, you still have time to catch up on old episodes before they launch the Internet sequel this year (!!!).

Enough about the show, it's pot roast time.

My friend Ashley introduced me to the original recipe a few years ago when she had a bunch of us over for a very delicious dinner. Before this, I'd never eaten a pot roast that wasn't just boring brown gravy with carrots. And I had definitely never eaten a pot roast that seemed to be modeled ingredient-for-ingredient after Argentine empanadas. 

Beef? Yes.
Onions? Yes.
Garlic? Yes.
Cumin? Yes. 
Green olives? Yes.
Raisins? Yes. The whole gang's here! 

I was pretty sure I was going to love it, especially knowing how many empanadas I wolfed while I was living in Buenos Aires in 2006 (i.e. TOO MANY THERE WAS AN EMPANADERIA RIGHT UNDER MY FLAT).

Indeed, this was the pot roast for me. And these photos don't even show all of the delicious, sweet-savory gravy. There's plenty of it though! Definitely enough to top some mashed potatoes and totally smother the roast (which is why I didn't pour it all on for the pictures, or it'd have been just a big brown blob). :)

Alton Brown Paleo Pot Roast - Slow-Cooker Recipe via Worthy Pause
Alton Brown's Slow-Cooker Paleo Pot Roast Recipe via Worthy Pause (Whole30, Gluten-Free)
Alton Brown's Slow-Cooker Paleo Pot Roast via Worthy Pause

Alton Brown's Pot Roast (Slow Cooker Version)

paleo, gluten-free and whole30-approved | serves 4-6
adapted from Alton Brown


  • 2 lb chuck roast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 6 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of tomato juice
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup of green olives
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  1. Rub the roast with cumin and salt.
  2. In a big Dutch oven or pan, heat a bit of olive oil and brown the meat well on all sides.
  3. Then throw everything into the slow cooker for 8-10 hours on low until the meat is totally falling apart.
  4. Fish out the onion, garlic, some of the raisins and green olives and as much of the liquid as is still in the slow cooker. Using an immersion blender or food processor (all the kitchen gadgets get a piece of this recipe!), blend that mixture to make a gravy.
  5. Tear the roast up into pieces and pour the gravy back on top. Put the remaining raisins and olives on top for garnish and serve with roasted veggies, mashed cauliflower, green beans, baked potatoes, whatever you like!


  • You can make this in advance and freeze it in a freezer bag for later too! It reheats very well.
  • You could actually shred this roast up and fill empanadas with it, to bring everything full circle.
  • I used V8 last time instead of tomato juice (because it's what I had) and that works well too.
Alton Brown's Slow-Cooker Paleo Pot Roast Recipe via Worthy Pause (Whole30, Gluten-Free)
Alton Brown's Slow-Cooker Paleo Pot Roast Recipe via Worthy Pause (Whole30, Gluten-Free)

This post was original published in April 2013, but has been updated since with new photos and words.

Have you adapted any old favorite recipes to the slow cooker recently? I'd love to hear about 'em.