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Chuck Steak Vs Chuck Roast Difference Comparison (With Table)

Lisa Price
Last Updated on
by Lisa Price

For beginner home chefs, choosing a cut of red meat can be the most daunting part of a trip to the grocery store.

Even the most experienced culinary masters can get their steaks mixed up with their roasts.

Chuck meat is a very popular type of meat because it is relatively inexpensive and delivers a meaty flavor to any dish. Chuck roast and chuck steak are the most common cuts of the chuck.

When I first started cooking with chuck meat, though, I was so confused between the two.

Below, I’ll explore the differences between these cuts and how they can be used to make your next shopping trip much easier.

What Is Chuck Steak?

Chuck steak is a cut of beef coming from the chuck, or shoulder, of the cow. The shoulder of a cow is heavily exercised and used, which results in more muscle and less fat in that area.

Therefore, they are much less naturally tender than a filet or sirloin because of the lack of fat in the shoulder of a cow.

The muscle does leave them full of beefy flavor, which pairs well with any marinade, though.

What Is Chuck Roast?

Chuck roast also comes from the chuck, or shoulder area, of the cow. It also goes by the names of shoulder roast and blade pot roast.

The chuck roast is a large piece of meat, found both boneless and bone-in. It is usually cylindrical in shape along the shoulder blade bone.

Chuck roast comes from the area right in front of the rib eye, so it is leaner and a bit tougher than those cuts. However, cooking it low and slow will leave you with a tender and delicious piece of meat.

Boneless chuck roast is slightly more expensive than bone-in chuck roast per pound because of the additional labor involved in butchering around the bone.

If price is important to you and you know your way around a butcher’s knife, you can debone the roast yourself.

What’s The Difference Between Chuck Steak And Chuck Roast?

The main difference between chuck stuck and chuck roast is the cut of the meat.

While both cuts are from the chuck portion of the cow, the chuck roast is a large cut, while chuck steaks are smaller pieces cut from the chuck roast.

Let’s break it down a little more:

  • Appearance: Chuck roast is a large piece of meat that comes bone-in or boneless. Chuck steak is a smaller piece of meat cut from the chuck roast that usually comes boneless. Both pieces are primarily made up of muscle with no visible marbling of fat.
  • Texture: Both come from the chuck, or shoulder, part of the cow, which is a more heavily exercised area.
    This leads to more muscle and less fat within the cut, meaning they are a tougher piece of meat than a sirloin or ribeye. Cooking them slowly and on low heat keeps the meat tender and not chewy.
  • Taste: The flavor of both chuck roast and chuck steak primarily comes from the way you cook them and the marinades and seasonings you pair them with. On their own, both have a very beefy flavor, more full-flavored than a more delicate, fatty cut of beef like a filet.
    The beefy flavor can be a divisive taste, so if you usually prefer a lighter-tasting piece of red meat, neither the chuck roast nor the chuck steak may work for you.
  • Uses: Chuck roast is the perfect cut of meat for a pot roast or other slow-cooked large-piece beef meal. Chuck steaks, because of their cut, make convenient steaks that are perfect for grilling or pan-searing.
    Both are usable in most dishes requiring a generic piece of beef unless the dish requires a very tender piece of meat.
  • Price: Both cuts of meat are more budget-friendly than cuts like sirloin or filet because they are tougher pieces of meat.
    Chuck steaks are usually slightly more expensive per pound than chuck roasts because of the labor involved in trimming and cutting them.

In general, boneless pieces are typically more expensive per pound than their bone-in counterparts.

Chuck Steak vs Chuck Roast Comparison Table

 Chuck SteakChuck Roast
Area of CowShoulder, or chuck, of the cow.Shoulder, or chuck, of the cow.
AppearanceIndividually cut steaks. Commonly boneless, but sometimes with the shoulder blade bone attached.Large piece of meat attached to the shoulder blade bone or boneless.
TextureTougher than sirloin. No marbling of fat.Tougher than sirloin. No marbling of fat.
Common UsesPan-seared or grilled steaks.One of the cheapest cuts of red meat. Very budget-friendly. Boneless is slightly more expensive than bone-in.
PriceCheaper than most cuts of red meat. Slightly more expensive than chuck roast.One of the cheapest cuts of red meat. Very budget friendly. Boneless is slightly more expensive than bone-in.
Best Ways to PrepareMarinate for several hours prior to cooking, baste while cooking, and tenderize beforehand to ensure meat comes out tender and not chewy.Cook low and slow for tender meat.
FreezingVery easy to freeze and quick to thaw. Convenient portion size to freeze.Freezes well, but has a long thawing process.

Can You Substitute Chuck Steak For Chuck Roast?

As chuck steak and chuck roast are essentially the same cut of meat, just different sizes, they are absolutely substitutable in most situations.

If all you have is a chuck roast and you want steaks, it’s simple butchery to slice the roast into smaller, inch-to-two-inch-thick steaks. It’s slightly more difficult to slice into steaks if you have a bone-in roast, but a sharp knife and some patience will help.

There are plenty of online tutorials that will explain how to cut a chuck roast into chuck steaks. Using a large kitchen knife will assist in keeping a straight edge along the cut side of the steak.

You can also ask your butcher to slice your chuck roast into chuck steaks when you are purchasing the roast.

If you have chuck steaks and want to make a pot roast, you can substitute easily; however, it will just be smaller pieces of meat in your pot roast.

If the look is important to you, however, then chuck steaks are less of a substitute. Because most pot roast recipes require long, slow cooking, having smaller pieces can actually help quicken the process.

Otherwise, for beef stews, BBQ beef, and similar recipes, there is virtually no difference between chuck steak and chuck roast.

Keep an eye on your chuck steak if you are substituting for a chuck roast to ensure it does not get overcooked, as smaller pieces of meat tend to cook faster than one large piece like a chuck roast.

Chuck Steak
Chuck Steak

How to Use Chuck Steak

The most common way to enjoy a chuck steak is pan-seared or grilled to perfection. Usually presented in boneless individual steaks, chuck steaks make delicious, full-flavored steaks.

The muscle of the chuck steak soaks up the flavor of the marinade really well, so load up your marinade with anything you want.

Because they are a tougher cut of meat, make sure to tenderize them before cooking. It’s also advised to marinade for several hours or even overnight to ensure it stays moist and tender during the cooking process.

Finally, basting them throughout cooking will leave them soft and full of flavor.

Chuck Roast
Chuck Roast

How to Use Chuck Roast

Leaving the chuck roast whole is perfect for slow-cooked pot roast or BBQ beef. When making pot roast or beef stew, it is important to slow-cook the meat to make it tender and soft.

The best way to cook a whole pot roast is in a slow cooker like a crock pot or Dutch oven. The pot roast will take on the flavor of the marinade or stew deliciously.

The most classic way to use a chuck roast is in a pot roast dinner, complete with vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and celery, for a wholesome family meal.

In the winter, chuck roast makes a delicious beef stew that will leave you feeling warmed up from the inside out. You can also channel your inner Julia Child with a Beef Bourguignon served over mashed potatoes.

Alternatively, you can cut the chuck roast into chuck steaks, petite tender roast, or flat iron steaks, depending on what you want to use the meat for.

The grain of the meat runs parallel to the long side of the meat, so keep that in mind when cutting.

Flat iron steaks sliced thinly are an ideal cut for salads, sandwiches, and stir-fries. Cutting the chuck roast into flat iron steaks requires a bit of skill, so ask your butcher if they can do it when you buy the chuck roast.

Final Thoughts

Overall, both chuck steaks and chuck roast are excellent cuts of beef for a budget-minded chef as long as you season well and cook slowly over low heat for a tender and full-flavored result.

The key difference is in the cut of the meat, which I hope I’ve helped you to understand in this article.

Next time you go grocery shopping, you’ll have a much better understanding of which cut to buy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is chuck roast the same as chuck steak?

Chuck roast and chuck steak are both from the same part of the cow, the shoulder area, but chuck roast is a thicker cut that is usually cooked in liquid for a longer time, while chuck steak is thinner and can be grilled or fried.

What is chuck steak best for?

Chuck steak is best for slow-cooking methods such as braising, which tenderize the meat and bring out its flavor.

Can you use chuck steak for stew?

Yes, you can use chuck steak for stew, as its rich marbling and connective tissue melt during slow cooking, resulting in tender and flavorful meat.

About Lisa Price
Lisa Price
Lisa is Food Champ's resident fitness enthusiast and nutrition expert. She holds a nutrition degree in her home state of Florida and works for a large health system to ensure sound nutrition and dietetics information is passed on to all members.
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