The chuck roast is an inexpensive cut of beef that comes from the chuck -- the shoulder part of the steer. It's a heavily exercised muscle, which gives it lots of beefy flavor, but, it also makes it tough. Because beef chuck roasts are irregular in size and shape, which leads to uneven cooking, it's common practice to find them rolled into a uniform roundish shape and tied. Chuck roasts are indeed best prepared via braising the whole roast or stewing small uniform pieces of chuck roast on the stovetop and/or in the oven in a well-seasoned liquid for a long period of time, which breaks down the tough connective tissue, rendering the roast, literally, fork-tender.
A pot roast is not a chuck roast, meaning it is not a specific cut of beef, it's a method of preparing beef, but, in the home kitchen, mine included, making pot roast is the number one reason to purchase a chuck roast. The next best reason to buy a chuck roast in the home kitchen, mine included, is to make beef stew. Because of its high meat to fat ratio, 80% meat to 20% fat (considered ideal for making hamburgers), chuck is typically the cut that gets ground for ground beef. While only a few home cooks purchase a chuck roast for grinding 'burger beef at home, it can indeed be done with a large-capacity food processor, and yields excellent results.
Yes, a chuck roast can be oven-roasted and it's easy to do. It will emerge brown and beautiful, and tasty and tender, and, there will be enough drippings in the bottom of the roasting pan to make some great gravy, which brings me to my next point. That said, I roast a tied chuck roast for two reasons: 1) Making some of the best open-faced sandwiches, served up on my homemade bread machine brioche, you'll ever eat, or;
2) When I want/need some "leftover" shredded or diced beef to add to a brothy beef soup. Allow me to continue. While an oven-roasted chuck roast can indeed be sliced and eaten as a meal with mashed potatoes, gravy and a vegetable (it tastes wonderful), it has some untoward pockets of fat running through it, which, while easy to avoid when slicing for sandwiches or dicing for soup, means I wouldn't slice it to serve "as is" to guests.
The Easiest Way to Oven-Roast a Tied Chuck Roast:
Place a 5 1/2-6 pound tied chuck roast on a rack in a roasting pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Use a pastry brush to paint the entire surface of the roast with a bit of vegetable oil, then season the roast liberally with a grinding of sea salt and peppercorn blend. Set aside to come to room temperature, for about 1 hour. Roast, uncovered, on center rack of 350º for 2 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and allow to rest 45-60 minutes prior to slicing.
Slice & serve or use as directed in specific recipe:
The Easiest Way to Oven-Roast a Tied Chuck Roast: Recipe yields instructions to oven-roast a tied chuck roast.
Special Equipment List: 13" x 9" x 4" disposable aluminum roasting pan; wire rack; parchment paper; pastry brush; chef's knife; fat/lean separator (optional)
Cook's Note: Every cut of beef has an ideal purpose. An ~ Oven-Roasted Eye-of-Round Roast ~ makes fabulous cold deli-style meat sandwiches. Too many people waste too much time trying to coax this lean, tough, economically-priced-for-good-reason cut of beef into doing something that it is not cut out to do: Be fall-apart, pot-roast-tender. Be aware, marinating is not tenderizing it (it is flavorizing it) and braising or slow cooking it to "pot roast kind of tender" will NOT improve its flavor, it will render it flavorless. Roasting it past rare- or medium-rare will produce a product suitable for boot-making. People who claim to making a great pot roast out of this cut of beef have never tasted it side-by-side a pot roast made with a fat-marbled tied chuck roast.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)
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