When a cow a butchered it is cut into quarters which are then divided into primals. The chuck primal comes from the forequarter of the cow. It starts at the shoulder blade and extends to the first few ribs. Chuck meat has a lot of connective tissue. This part of the animal responds well to low and slow cooking methods. Chuck primal cuts include blade roasts, arm roasts and short ribs. Butchers can also grind chuck meat into ground beef.
Beef Chuck Blade Roast
Blade roasts begin at the cow’s backbone and extend to the shoulder blade area. You can often find beef chuck blade roast in grocery stores labeled simply as "chuck roast." It contains a lot of muscle and connective tissue. This means it responds best to a slow cooking method like braising. Braising is a dual cooking method that starts with a sear. After searing the meat, cook it in a flavorful liquid over low heat for several hours.
Beef Chuck Blade Steak
The center ribs of the chuck or rib primal contain the most expensive meat on a cow. Here, you find the ribs, the porterhouse and rib roasts. Between the tough blade chuck roast and the tender center ribs is meat that is moderately tender and flavorful. The beef chuck blade steak, also known as the flat iron steak, is located around the 6th or 7th rib of the vertebrae. This meat has more muscle and is tougher than many steaks, but it does respond well to both a fast grill and a slower braise.
Beef Chuck Arm Roast
Pot roast is a "comfort food" dish that many people love on a cold day. You usually cook it in a braising liquid. Begin start by searing it then cook it with aromatic vegetables in a flavorful liquid such as beef broth, red wine, or canned tomatoes. Pot roast usually comes from the beef chuck arm roast. Also known as the cross rib roast, there is a large bone that runs through the middle of this roast. Sometimes you can find a cross rib roast that has several of the first few ribs underneath it.
Many people think of baby back ribs when they picture barbecue. These are from the more expensive center ribs in the rib or chuck primal of the cow. The chuck primal also contains the first six or seven ribs. These are known as the short ribs. These have a lot of flavor and a great deal of connective tissue. Like most meat from the chuck roast, they taste best after being braised. Cook ribs in a braising liquid over very low heat to bring out the flavor and give the meat a chance to tenderize.