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Understanding Beef – The Chuck

Posted on: January 30th, 2013

Beef cuts can be confusing, some are great on the grill, some are better oven roasts, and others need slow braising to get tender. In Part 1 of this series we talked about the Loin and Rib, today we’re going to focus on my favorite section, the Chuck.

The Chuck Roast is a cross section of the center chuck, and an amazing pot roast!
What is the Chuck?
Essentially the cow’s shoulder, the Beef Chuck is a large network of strong muscles that steer and maneuver the majority of the animals weight. These hard working muscles are generally not tender enough to grill, but thanks to their generous marbling and collagenous connective tissue, they’re the best tasting of beef’s cuts and a fabulous value!
A champion Angus from Spruce Mountain Ranch in Larkspur, CO.
Chuck Cubes make great braises and soups.

Cooking Tips
The trick is slow braising (AKA pot roasting, slow cooking with liquid and a lid), which breaks down the collagen and renders these tough, hard working muscles into tender and delectable shreds and jus.

For the best results; brown in a Dutch oven, add wine, water and herbs and to cook in the
oven at 225-300° – or simmer as slowly as possible on top of the stove. Cook until falling apart tender, generally about 3-5 hours.

Beef Short Ribs

Cuts From the Shoulder 
There are more cuts from the shoulder than I can list here, but here are some of the most popular along with links to recipes.

The Boneless Chuck Roast makes the ultimate Pot
Roast
, or can be cubed for the Ultimate
Beef Stew
, or for making a meaty pot of Chili.
The Beef Brisket, makes a particularly flavorful Braising Roast and slices
beautifully which also makes it great for Sliced BBQ Beef. I suggest Beef
Shanks
for making the best stocks and soups.  And if you love rich flavors, braise Short
Ribs
or the similar but smaller Flanken
Ribs.
 

Tasty Chuck Steaks

The Chuck Eye Steak is great on the grill!

Hiding within the chuck are a few small cuts that don’t have to work hard, so they’re tender enough to cook like a steak. They are not very big, and tricky to butcher, but we extract them and offer them in our selection of High Value Steaks

My favorite steak from the shoulder is the Chuck Eye, followed by the Chuck Tender, Flat Iron and finally the Sierra Cut – learn more about these and other less known steaks here.

Thanks for reading, next week I’ll cover the Beef Round or hind leg to complete this series. Please subscribe and forward this to your food loving friends – Buon Appetito – Salute!
 

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