PROBLEM: Late night experiments loading GRUB on USB sticks resulted in mucking up Grub on my host machine. After a reboot instead of a boot menu I was greeted with:
Host boot partition is sda1, LUKS-encrypted root is sda3, and runs Linux kernel 3.19.0. Since the boot loader hadn't fallen into rescue mode there was hope that the essential stuff was in place but for some reason the config was not being read. A quick ls in the Grub shell confirmed that /boot/grub/grub.cfg, kernels, initrd files were present.
FIX: After a few tries I found the right parameters for a manual boot... specifically root=/dev/mapper/sda3_crypt NOT root=/dev/sda3:
grub> linux (hd0,1)/vmlinuz-3.19.0-031900-generic root=/dev/mapper/sda3_crypt ro grub> initrd (hd0,1)/initrd.img-3.19.0-031900-generic grub> boot
Boot process begins, pauses for the LUKS passphrase prompt to unlock root, and makes it to the login screen. Good stuff.
Examine /etc/default/grub and everything looks OK. Update and reinstall grub to the MBR:
$ sudo update-grub $ sudo grub-install /dev/sda
Reboot and back in business!