Try a beef chuck steak taken from the front shoulder portion of beef for a budget-friendly substitute for steaks cut from the rib and loin. Top blade roast is the most tender of the chuck roasts, making it the most suitable for cutting into steaks, but acidic marinades can help tenderize tougher chuck roasts. You can often purchase chuck steaks from your butcher, sold under names such as flat iron steak, chuck blade steak, chuck eye steak and, simply, chuck steak, but you can save even more money by cutting your own steaks from a chuck roast.
Set the chuck roast on a cutting board and trim any hard fat from the outside with a boning knife. Leave soft fat on the roast because soft fat flavors the meat as it cooks.
Inspect the cut ends of the chuck roast for piece of connective tissue or membrane running through the center. Insert your finger in the ends and pull the roast apart along the tissue, or cut along the tissue with a boning knife. Pull or cut the connective tissue away from the meat. This connective tissue is common in top blade roast, but might not be present in other chuck roasts. Removal isn't necessary, but makes the steak less chewy. Steaks with the connective tissue down the center are known as chuck blade steaks, while a flat iron steak has the connective tissue removed.
Set the roast on the cutting board with the length running from left to right. If the roast is square in shape, set the roast so the meat fibers run from left to right.
Measure about 1 inch in from the end of the roast and slice through it with a long chef's knife. Repeat this along the entire roast. While you can cut the steaks thinner or thicker, 1 inch is a good general measurement for steaks, particularly considering that some chuck roasts are only 2 inches thick.
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- The steak should be cut against the grain, which is why the meat fibers should run left to right on your cutting board. Think of this as though you're holding a strand of spaghetti with one end in each hand and second person cuts through the spaghetti at the center point between your hands, as opposed to splitting the strand in half lengthwise. When you lay the stack flat, the individual meat fibers face up, which looks similar to looking at the end of a large bunch of spaghetti.
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.