Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >


Beef chuck roasts and steaks

Other Names: Bone-In Roasts: Arm pot roast (round bone, or 0-bone shoulder roast), blade roast, bolar roast, cross rib roast, épaule (French), paleta (Spanish), 7-bone roast, shoulder roast, spalla (Italian). Boneless Roasts: Arm roast, boneless cross rib, center-cut chuck roast, centro de carneza de paleta (Spanish), chuck eye roast, chuckwagon roast, Diamond Jim roast, English roast, espadilla (Spanish), fesone di spalla (Italian), flatiron roast, inside chuck roll, macreuse (French), shoulder clod roast, shoulder filet, shoulder tender. Chuck Tender: Capello di prete (Italian), chingolo (Spanish), Jewish filet, Jewish tenderloin, jumeau (French), medallion roast, mock tender. Bone-In Steak: Blade steak, 7-bone steak, Texas broil. Boneless Steak: Barbecue steak, cross rib steak, family steak, fluff steak, patio steak, shoulder clod steak.

General Description: The large, square-shaped chuck or shoulder is full of tough, though flavorful, muscles. The chuck is cut into a bewildering array of moderately priced multiple-muscle pot roasts popular in retail markets. Chuck roasts, which may be sold either bone-in or boned, rolled, and tied, are used in home-style cooking in many countries. Pot roasts from the chuck have more fat, and therefore more flavor, than those from the round.

The economical chuck 7-bone roast can be recognized by the shoulder blade bone (shaped like the number seven) that crosses its top third. This roast is cut 1 1/2 to 3 inches thick from the rib end. There are usually three of these roasts per chuck, with varying amounts of blade bone or part of the backbone and rib attached.

The blade roast is made up of different muscles with varying degrees of tenderness. It includes the prized tender top blade (or flatiron) steak and a group of tough muscles under the blade sold separately as the under blade roast. On the other side of the blade bone ridge is the lean chuck tender, which resembles the tenderloin in shape but is much less tender. This single muscle weighs about 2 pounds. The chuck eye roast includes a portion of the rib eye muscle and lies just to the front of the rib section.

The cross rib pot roast (or English roast) is cut out of the corner of the square chuck and includes ribs 3 to 5. It’s actually the same cut as three attached chuck short ribs. If boneless, the same cut may be called inside chuck roll or chuckwagon roast. A chuck eye steak will include a portion of the tender rib eye muscle.

The arm roast comes from the arm side of the chuck. Because it contains only the small round arm bone, it is quite economical. It’s also easy to cut up for stew. The bolar roast is a large boned, rolled, and tied roast cut from the point end of the chuck blade that is popular for pot roasting.

In European-style meat cutting (also done for American restaurant sale), the whole chuck is completely boned and is called the shoulder clod; it weighs 13 to 20 pounds. The whole shoulder clod is rolled into the boneless rolled chuck roast. This large roast weighs 10 to 15 pounds and is often cut into three smaller roasts, the most tender of which will be the tapered end that lies closest to the rib section. The center of the shoulder clod is called the clod heart or shoulder center.

The center-cut blade roast is the center portion of the boned chuck. It may be cut into steaks with unrevealing names such as patio steak or family steak.

Part of Animal: The chuck (shoulder) portion of the steer lies between the rib section and the brisket (breast).

Characteristics: The many muscles in the chuck are heavily exercised and contain a lot of connective tissue, so they will be tough if not slow-cooked at low heat. The muscle grain is coarse; it may run in different directions within one roast and have varying degrees of tenderness and intramuscular fattiness (marbling).

How to Choose: Pick a chuck roast with the right size and shape to suit your needs. Choose a well-trimmed roast with the least amount of connective tissue and fat.

Amount to Buy: Allow at least 3/4 pound of boneless chuck roast and at least 1 pound of bone-in chuck per person.

Storage: Refrigerate whole roasts well wrapped up to 4 days. Raw or cooked chuck freezes well for up to 2 months.

Preparation: All these cuts, whether roasts or steaks, must be cooked slowly for long periods of time in a moist environment, by braising (or pot-roasting), poaching, smoking, cooking in a crockpot, or stewing.

Chuck Pot Roast:

  1. Combine herbs and spices and rub them all over the meat. Allow the meat to absorb seasonings for 1 to 2 hours at room temperature.
  2. In a Dutch oven, brown the meat on all sides in oil over medium-high heat. Pour off excess fat. Add 1 to 2 cups liquid to deglaze.
  3. Cover the meat with thinly sliced onions and chopped garlic, if desired. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 300°F.
    Remove the cover and bake for 1 hour longer or until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork, adding liquid as needed to keep moist.
  4. Cool before slicing and serving, or cool and then refrigerate overnight so that the fat congeals. Remove and discard fat and reheat at 300°F, covered, for about 45 minutes or until steaming hot.

Flavor Affinities: Anise, bay leaves, beer, coriander, cumin, onions, oyster sauce, red wine, rosemary, sage, tomatoes.

from Quirk Books: