AKA: Pot roast, Stew meat (chopped into cubes), 7 bone, cross rib (chuck with a line of fat inside)
Where to purchase: Costco is an ok source, Safeway and Lucky have sales occasionally
Price: $2/lb or less is a good price
Market trends: Chuck is ideally suited for slow cooking (usually in moist heat), which tends to be in stews and soups. Demand increases in winter months, which corresponds to higher prices. Generally the prices are low from May to July.
Economic tip: You can substitute stew meat (about $3.50-$4) with chuck when it's on sale.It's the same meat but stew meat is pre-cut into cubes.
Characteristics: Beef chuck comes from the shoulder of a cow, where daily use from walking causes a build up of tough connective tissue. Often found in ground beef
How to cook: Chuck will be tender when cooked in moist heat for about 1 hour- 1.5 hr. After 1.5hrs, it becomes too tender and will fall apart into shreds when you touch it, leaving individual strands.
What to watch out for: Chuck has alot of collagen and so it will be tough, be sure to cook it for at least 1 hr.
Benefits: The same collagen that makes chuck tough also turns into gelatin between the fibers. This gelatin keeps the meat moist from the inside. Overcooked meat turns chalk-ie because all the water leaves the destroyed (cooked) muscle cells, gelatin forms a viscous network that interferes with the water and prevents it from leaving. In essence, the gelatin traps in the moisture. Once you convert the collagen to gelatin in slow cooking, it is tender and juicy.
- French dip/beef sandwiches
- Pot roast (moist heat)
- Shredded beef (Mexican/barbecued beef)
- Stew/Pot Pies/Turnover
- Philly cheese steak
- Roast beef