What is Beef Chuck? A Detailed Guide to This Flavorful Cut of Meat

Beef chuck is a large, flavorful primal cut that comes from the forequarter or front of the cow. It was once considered a tough and fatty cut best suited for stew meat or ground beef. But modern butchery techniques have allowed this versatile cut to yield some excellent steaks and roasts as well.

Where Beef Chuck Comes From on the Cow

The beef chuck originates from the shoulder area of the cow, specifically the neck, shoulder blade and upper arm. It sits directly above the brisket and rib primal cuts.

Beef chuck consists of complex muscles that get a lot of exercise as the cow grazes and moves around. This gives the meat a lot of flavor but also more connective tissue that must be properly cooked to become tender.

Subprimal Cuts from the Beef Chuck

The chuck can be broken down into several subprimal cuts, each with its own characteristics:

  • Chuck Roll: This is a boneless cut from the upper portion of the chuck, just above the ribs. It contains a section of the tender longissimus dorsi muscle that forms the ribeye, allowing for tasty grilling steaks to be cut from this roll.

  • Chuck Eye Steak: The center portion of the chuck roll containing the longissimus dorsi muscle. It is one of the most tender cuts from the chuck.

  • Chuck Shoulder Clod: A large, flat muscle from the top of the chuck. It can be separated into smaller muscles and steaks.

  • Chuck Tender: A small, especially tender muscle located just forward of the shoulder clod. Prized for pot roasts.

  • Chuck Underblade Steak: The bottom portion of the chuck roll, often sliced thin for stir-fries.

  • Cross-Rib Roast: Made from ribs 6-12 along with intercostal muscles. An excellent roasting cut.

How to Cook Chuck Steak and Roasts

Chuck steak and roasts require moist-heat cooking methods like braising and stewing to properly break down the connective tissue. Chuck eye steaks from the center can also be grilled.

  • Pot Roast: Choose a chuck arm roast or chuck shoulder clod roast. Brown then braise in liquid for 2-3 hours until fork tender.

  • Stew Meat: Cut chuck into 1-inch cubes. Brown then simmer in liquid for 1-2 hours.

  • Burgers: Ground chuck has the right fat ratio for juicy burgers. Cook to medium doneness to keep them moist.

  • Grilling: Look for chuck eye steaks which can be grilled like a ribeye. Cook to medium rare.

Why Cooks Love Chuck

While filet mignon may get all the attention, chefs and savvy home cooks know chuck has a lot going for it:

  • Rich, beefy flavor – Chuck contains plenty of fat and connective tissue that break down into rich gelatin and moisture when braised. The flavors concentrate.

  • Economical price – Due to its marbling and connective tissue, chuck costs a fraction of pricey loin cuts like ribeye while still delivering on beefiness.

  • Versatility – Chuck can be roasted, braised, grilled, or ground into burgers depending on the exact cut. There are many options.

  • Satisfying chew – When cooked right, those collagen-rich connective tissues in chuck transform into succulent, mouth-coating gelatin.

So don’t overlook the humble chuck when seeking a satisfying beef experience. With the right cut and cooking method, it can be just as indulgent as fancier steaks.

Selecting and Storing Chuck

When shopping for chuck, look for meat that is very red in color with creamy white fat marbling throughout. The cut surface should be moist but not wet.

For maximum freshness, cook chuck roasts and steaks within 3-5 days of purchasing. Chuck can keep in the fridge for several more days beyond that, but the flavor may start to suffer.

For longer term storage, chuck cuts very well for freezing. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freezer paper and freeze for up to 6 months without loss of quality.

Popular Chuck Roast and Steak Recipes

Here are some classic recipes that allow the beefy goodness of chuck to shine:

  • Peppercorn Pot Roast – Chuck roast braised in red wine with peppercorns
  • Beef Stroganoff – Chuck steak strips sautéed in sour cream sauce
  • Cheeseburger Soup – Ground chuck provides big flavor
  • Barbecue Brisket – Smoked whole chuck roast makes Texas-style brisket

So don’t be afraid to explore beyond the standard ground chuck in your cooking. With its beefiness and relative affordability, chuck offers possibilities galore.

Beef Chuck


What is another name for beef chuck?

Also Known As Boneless Chuck Filet Steak; Boneless Chuck Slices; Boneless Steak Bottom Chuck; Chuck Filet; Chuck Roll; Delmonico Steak; English Steak; London Broil; Shoulder Steak; Shoulder Steak Half Cut; A low-cost alternative to the Rib Eye Steak. A tender and savory cut great for grilling.

What is chuck beef best for?

Although most cuts of chuck tend to be tough and are usually used in stews, braised dishes, slow cooking, and pot roasts, there are some chuck steaks that are great for grilling. There are several different cuts of chuck steak, each with varying amounts of tenderness, which will determine the best method of cooking.

Is chuck beef tender or tough?

While naturally tough, chuck tends to be full of rich, beefy flavor. Braised, chuck tender and chuck tender steaks will be tender and succulent. Try cooking in a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or low and slow in the oven or on the stove. Cubed, it can also be used in a slow-cooked beef stew.

Is chuck A Good meat?

Ground chuck has a richer, beefier flavor and juicier texture than ground beef made from leaner cuts, like ground round or ground sirloin. This is due to the higher marbling in the chuck roast, which adds more fat and flavour to the beef if you’re looking for a beefier taste and juicer meat in your dishes.

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