Featured Cut: Beef Chuck Roast

For those of you that receive beef roasts in your Kettle Club share, we have a classic and versatile cut for you this month, the chuck roast. Let’s learn a little more about his flavorful cut.

What is a chuck roast?

Before we get into the anatomy of the steer, let’s talk about flavor. We’ve all heard the term, “beefy” used to describe certain cuts. Of course it’s beefy. It’s beef, right? What we’re really talking about here is the presence of Umami. Considered the fifth taste (alongside salty, bitter, sweet and sour) Umami simply refers to the taste of protein and translates to “pleasant flavory taste” in Japanese.

The presence and amount of Umami in beef cuts is determined by the type of muscle and how much exercise it gets. Now back to anatomy, imagine a herd of steers grazing happily on pasture. They’re continually walking forward to get the freshest and tastiest bites of forage available and relying heavily on strong muscles from the shoulders and hips to move them across pasture. This constant exercise tones these muscles and results in an increase in the amount connective tissue and blood flow to the area, thus resulting in the presence of Umami.

The chuck roast comes from, you guessed it, the shoulder of the steer giving it that great Umami flavor. The trick to cooking this well flavored cut is to break down that connective tissue by roasting or braising slowly.  This transforms any toughness into a tender roast you can pull or serve by the slice.  Think beef roasts are only a rainy-day or winter-time meal? Check out this fantastic summer recipe for BBQ Beef Sliders.

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