If your champagne taste for beef is limited to a beer budget, don’t turn away from the cuts that are economical and tasty as well. You’ll have to adjust your cooking times and methods to take a tougher cut from chewy to mouthwatering, but once you realize the goodness a lesser piece of beef yields, you’ll become the master chef for all your family and friends. Beef chuck tender roast is one of those pieces of meat that requires a little bit of care at the outset, but once it’s in the oven or on the stove, all you have to do is let the heat work its magic. And you may even have a few dollars left over for that bottle of champagne!
Don’t Chuck the Chuck
The roundish, thick cut of beef with the low price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a tough-as-leather chewy meal. Chuck tender, listed as a number of other names, including mock tender roast, chuck filet and chuck-eye, is cut from the shoulder of a steer or heifer. Loaded with connective tissue that works to propel the animal during its lifetime, the right style of cooking aims to break down that tissue and turn it into tenderness.
Quick-searing as you would a steak won’t give you a tender piece of meat. If you have a Dutch oven, a covered turkey roaster or a crock-pot, you’re in business. Give yourself several hours in the oven or many hours in the crock-pot, and your patience will pay off with a tender, juicy beef pot roast.
Braising Your Chuck Roast
Braising any cut of meat means to slow-roast it in a little bit of liquid, preferably beef broth and wine. Nothing whets the appetite more than the fragrance of a pot of beef chuck tender and a scattering of vegetables simmering on the stove. Prepare your vegetables separately and set them aside while you get the beef ready. Combine them in the pot after searing the beef, and wait. Several hours.
Long, Slow Crock-Pot Cooking
If you have a crock-pot and 7‒8 hours, the pot will do the cooking while you do other things. Just be sure to sear the meat before putting it into the pot. Use Yukon gold potatoes (they are waxy and won’t fall apart during the long hours of cooking), carrots, celery and onions as the base. On top of the vegetables, place the meat, and add beef broth and wine (3-parts broth to 1-part red wine), a can of diced tomatoes and seasonings. Set the timer for 10 hours on low or 7 hours on high. Bingo! Dinner is ready with no muss or fuss.
Pan-Frying Marinated Chuck Roast
Pan-frying is a quick way to cook a chuck roast, but you’ll need to soak it with a tenderizer before it hits the stovetop. Use teriyaki sauce or chimichurri sauce ‒ anything with an acid base breaks down the muscles and tendons. Depending on the thickness of your meat, sear for 6‒8 minutes on each side. Use a digital thermometer to gauge the doneness. Let it rest for 5 minutes on a cutting board before slicing.
Broiling a Chuck Roast
Similar in technique to pan-frying, the flash heat of the broiler cooks the chuck roast quickly. A marinade is recommended for tenderizing. Keep the oven door open during the broiling process to monitor and flip the roast when the top is crispy.
Magnificent Spaghetti Sauce
If you’ve slow-roasted your chuck until it’s tender and a fork can pull it apart, get creative and use the roast as a base for your favorite spaghetti sauce recipe. The meat adds depth to the sauce. Use your traditional seasonings to heighten the flavors.
My seventh grade English teacher didn't realize what she was unleashing when she called me her "writer," but the word crept into my brain. I DID become a writer. Of advertising copy, dialogue and long-term story for several network soap operas, magazine articles and high-calorie contents for the cookbook: Cooking: It AIn't Rocket Science, a bestseller on Amazon! When I'm not writing, I'm cooking!