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 piece 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.
Read below to find out the major difference between chuck steak and chuck roast. Soon, you will be whipping up post roasts and beef stew like a pro.
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 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, which 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 roast 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 Steak||Chuck Roast|
|Area of Cow||Shoulder, or chuck, of the cow.||Shoulder, or chuck, of the cow.|
|Appearance||Individually cut steaks. Commonly boneless, but sometimes with the shoulder blade bone attached.||Large piece of meat attached to the shoulder blade bone or boneless.|
|Texture||Tougher than sirloin. No marbling of fat.||Tougher than sirloin. No marbling of fat.|
|Common Uses||Pan-seared or grilled steaks.||Slow cooked pot roast, beef stew, pulled BBQ beef.|
|Price||Cheaper 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 Prepare||Marinate 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.|
|Freezing||Very 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?
Because 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 not as good 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.
What is Chuck Steak?
Chuck steak is a cut of beef coming from the chuck, or shoulder, of the cow. The shoulder for 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.
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 they stay moist and tender during the cooking process.
Finally, basting them throughout cooking will leave them soft and full of flavor.
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.
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 steak 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 irons 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.
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.