Beef chuck is an economical cut with a great texture. Although it is often (unfairly) packaged as low-quality stew beef, chuck is actually one of the most flavoursome beef cuts available. Chuck comes from the neck and shoulder area of the cow – these muscles are frequently exercised, which means chuck can be tough, fatty and gristly without proper cooking. To make the most of chuck, it should be cooked slowly on a low heat (and ideally, in a liquid). This low and slow cooking breaks down tough muscle fibres and connective tissue and drastically increases the tenderness of the meat. Chuck is a popular choice for pot roasts, stews, casseroles and curries.
Two Ways to Cook Beef Chuck
Given chuck’s tough texture, braising is the perfect cooking method to render the meat fork-tender. Braising is particularly easy if you have a slow cooker. All you need to do is place the chuck meat at the bottom of the crock and prepare a braising liquid that includes ingredients like beef broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Pour the liquid over the beef – it should just cover the meat and vegetables (make sure not to overfill your slow cooker). Let your slow cooker do its thing for 4-6 hours or until the meat is fall-apart tender.
Don’t have a slow cooker? Check out how to make braised beef.
Start with a 1.5-2 kilo chuck roast. Season your chuck roast with salt and pepper, then heat a large oven pot/dutch oven over medium high heat and add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chuck roast and sear the outside until it is nice and browned. Take the chuck out of the pan, and with the heat on high, deglaze the pan (scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the remnants of cooked beef). Add around 1 cup of beef stock and a splash of red wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan some more.
Now add the browned meat to the pan and add in enough liquid to cover the meat halfway. Put the lid on the pot, and roast the chuck in a 140ºC oven. Roast for approximately one hour per 500 grams. To see if the meat is ready, test it with a fork. If the meat falls apart easily, it’s ready! For more information about cooking times, check out Beef & Lamb’s Cooking Times Table.