A beef chuck blade roast is a high-shoulder cut that is frequently prepared by braising. Overall, chuck cuts have a robust flavor, but can vary in tenderness depending on how it is prepared. Marinating, stewing and cooking with moist heat all let you bring out the best in this economical cut.
Choosing a Blade Roast
One of the keys to tenderness in meat is the presence of fat dispersed through lean tissue, often in coarse, threadlike strands. This marbled fat separates tougher protein fibers and insures more tender meat. Look for marbling, but do not confuse it with larger strips of fat which separate the muscle portions making up a blade cut. These strips contribute less to tenderness and, in large quantity, can make your final dish greasy. A good blade roast has more marbled meat than separable fat. Blade cut roasts generally run between 2 1/2 and 4 pounds.
Classic Pot Roast
For an old-fashioned pot roast meal, use a stove-top Dutch oven, a slow cooker or your oven. Brown the roast, then braise it with broth or wine, aromatic vegetables, such as onions, and herbs. For the last part of cooking, you can add root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots for a one-dish meal. For stove-top or oven braising, allow from 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cook a 3-pound roast, then 30 to 60 additional minutes for added vegetables. A blade pot roast is safe to eat when an instant-read thermometer placed in the thickest portion of the meat registers 145 degrees Fahrenheit; it is well-done at 160 F.
Pot Roast Variations
Recipes for chuck blade roast often involve an acid-based liquid. Interactions between the acids and protein fibers tenderize the meat. Wine, tomato juice, vinegars of all kinds, citrus juices and beer can all be used as braising liquids. Each contributes to tenderizing and adds distinctive flavors to your roast. An acid marinade brings new meaning to the phrase "fork-tender": instead of slicing, you may be able to shred meat with a fork. Pack shredded chuck in buns with barbecue sauce for a variation on pulled pork.
Chuck in Chunks
Cutting a chuck blade roast into 1- or 2-inch chunks can be an economical way to create flavorful meat for a beef stew recipe. Cooking cut-up blade roast with tomatoes and Southwestern seasonings makes a tasty base for chili, and the tendency of long-cooked chuck to shred makes this dish spoon-tender.