Expert Butcher Explains The Best Way To Use The 2 Main Cuts Of Beef Chuck

Nothing compares to advice from a butcher when it comes to preparing meat like beef chuck. Whether it's your first time working with a certain cut of beef chuck, or you just have questions about how to proceed with a recipe, consulting an expert is never a bad idea. The knowledge that can be imparted from this source is why you should make an effort to only get your meat from a butcher.

Pat LaFrieda, CEO of LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, explained to Mashed how to elevate the way we cook with beef chuck. The chuck portion comes from the cow's shoulder area. Tony's Meat Market noted that this portion of the animal is responsible for a lot of heavy lifting and develops significant marbling as a result.

"When speaking about varieties of beef chuck, the big distinction is the actual cut of the piece. One of the most common ways of fabricating a beef chuck is by separating it into two major boneless subprimal cuts: the chuck roll and the chuck shoulder clod," LaFrieda said. Basically, the chuck roll is the shoulder, and the shoulder clod is the front of the arms. But accessing these two portions requires a little bit of knowhow.

Locate tender muscles to optimize chuck

Beef chuck can be cut and prepared a number of different ways, whether you're working with the chuck roll or the shoulder clod, according to Pat LaFrieda, CEO of LaFrieda Meat Purveyors. For stir fry dishes, he recommended the Sierra Cut, which is a portion of the chuck roll, or the shoulder. But the chuck roll usually contains about 20 pounds of potential.

Butcher's strive to access the chuck roll by moving the piece that stretches from the cow's ribs to the backbone. The section that lays over the ribs is usually used for ground beef. What's underneath is the chuck roll. It does have a few cuts that make for tender grilled steaks. But there are tough muscles that often get separated out and used for stir fry meat.

The shoulder clod is another 20-pound portion of the chuck with a few cooking options. Connective tissue adheres the five muscles that comprise the clod together, and it should be removed before cooking because it makes the meat quite chewy. Once the muscles and tissue get separated, they can be grilled into steaks. Silver Fern Farms also recommends the clod for ground beef or slow cooking. Which is wonderful, since the best way to make beef chunks tender is to sear and slow cook them.