Arm Roast Vs. Chuck Roast – Which is Best?

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When it comes to a good roast, both arm roast and chuck roast both fit the bill. After all, they are juicy cuts of beef that can be roasted in several ways. But are there differences between arm roast and chuck toast, or are they the same cut of beef?

What Is Arm Roast?

Arm roast is a primal cut of beef that is carved from the cow’s shoulder region. The arm roast has a round bone and lots of tender, lean meat surrounding it.

Arm roast is famous for its tender, robust beefy flavor that is best for braising, stews, or pot roast. Arm roast may also be cut into a smaller piece of meat called Swiss steak, so it’s the perfect cut of beef to cook on your kamado grill.

What Is Chuck Roast?

Chuck roast is also a cut of beef that is cut from the space between the animal’s neck and shoulder. This fatty cut of beef is relatively cheap and mostly tender; therefore, a chuck roast is used to make flat-iron steak. Chuck roast can also be placed into a meat grinder and ground into ground beef.

Chuck roast can be sold bone-in or boneless and is pretty easy to source from your local grocery store or butcher shop. Chuck roast is often roasted or stewed. However, it can also be used to make BBQ burgers.

Arm Roast Vs. Chuck Roast

Now that you know what arm roasts and chuck roasts are let’s compare these two gorgeous cuts of beef. Besides being cuts of beef, arm roast and chuck roast contain little to no similarities. Even their flavor and texture are different.

Location

The biggest difference between arm roast and chuck roast is their location. Even the location seems like a small difference since both cuts include shoulder, but the difference in location is extremely conspicuous.

Arm roast is solely carved from the shoulder, while the chuck roast is carved from the space between the shoulder and neck. 

Other Names

It comes as no surprise that both arm roast and chuck roast have other names. Arm roast may be labeled as clod roast, arm chuck roast, chuck primal, arm pot roast, or Swiss steak. In contrast, chuck roast may be labeled as chuck blade roast.

Tenderness

When it comes to tenderness, arm roast definitely beats chuck roast. When cooked, arm roast has a more tender bite, while chuck roast is chewier and slightly tougher than its counterparts.

Fat Ratio 

Arm roast is considered lean since it has a low-fat profile. Therefore, arm roast cannot be used to make ground beef which requires a healthy ratio of fat to meat.

In contrast, the chuck roast is fattier and contains the perfect amount of fat to make ground beef. This healthy amount of fat also makes chuck roast slightly juicer than arm roast.

Nutrition

Regarding nutrition, arm roast contains fewer calories than its counterparts. There are approximately 295 calories in 100 grams of chuck roast, while there are 180 calories in 1 serving of arm roast.

However, if you are consuming a large portion of arm roast, the calorie count can quickly increase and surpass that of chuck roast.

Cooking Methods

Both arm and chuck roast are best when cooked low and slow. Therefore, you can use both cuts of beef to make delicious pot roasts or stews. In fact, cooking these large hunks of beef in liquid is the perfect way to infuse even more moisture into the beef.

Moreover, the longer you let them simmer in the sauce, the more tender they will become. Nevertheless, this does not mean you should place your arm or chuck roast on the stovetop and expect to find a tender cut of beef 7 hours later. 

You will be met with a burnt cut of beef that tastes horrendous, so do not overdo it when it comes to cooking time.

This is also why you should pay attention to the temperature of the meat. An infrared thermometer is perfect for keeping track of your arm or chuck roast’s temperature.

If your chuck or arm roasts temperature rises too much, the liquid will start to evaporate along with meat juices. Therefore, you must follow the arm or chuck roast recipe to a tee. Since chuck roast is not as tender as arm roast, you should expect a longer cooking time to create the most tender cut of beef.

How To Cook Arm Roast 

You can cook arm roast in several ways, including in your electric smoker or crockpot. To cook your arm roast in a crockpot, place onions, carrots, and potatoes in the bottom of your crockpot in an even layer.

Place a clean cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and a few tablespoons of neutral-flavored oil.

Add the arm roast to the hot skillet and sear it on all sides to seal in the moisture. Once the arm roast is seared, place it on top of the vegetables, and add beef broth or water to cover the arm roast halfway.

You can also add a little broth or water to the skillet and deglaze the pan by running your cooking spoon on the bottom of the pan to release the browned bits of food before adding the broth to the meat. Cover the arm roast and cook it on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

To smoke arm roast, prepare your offset smoker and set it to 225℉. You can soak your preferred wood chips in water for 30 minutes if desired, but it isn’t necessary.

Place the arm roast into the smoker and place an aluminum pan directly beneath it to catch all those delicious meat drippings. Smoke the arm roast for 4-6 hours until your smoker thermometer registers a temperature between 145℉ and 155℉.

Remove the arm roast from the propane smoker and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing it and serving.

How To Cook Chuck Roast 

When cooking a chuck roast, the goal is to allow the connective tissue to melt so that the meat can baste itself. This will result in a tender chuck roast.

For this reason, it’s best to braise chuck roast. Nevertheless, you can still smoke chuck roast in your pellet smoker using the same instructions for how to smoke an arm roast.

Braising simply refers to slow cooking the meat in a liquid. The mat is usually browned first in oil, then tightly covered and simmered in a small portion of liquid for a long time until it’s nice and tender.

The slow cooking time and low temperature allow the tough fibers of the meat to gently break down, which builds flavor and tenderizes the meat.

The thing I love about braising is that you can do it in the oven, crockpot, or stovetop. Nevertheless, make sure you use a cooker with a tightfitting lid to make sure the meat cooks properly. For the purposes of the article, I will show you how to cook chuck roast in the crockpot.

First, season add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the chuck roast and rub it all over the meat. Sprinkle the chuck roast generously with salt and pepper.

You can also use your favorite BBQ rub, but when it comes to using your leftover chuck roast in other dishes, it’s best to stick with salt and pepper. 

For example, if you want to use your leftover chuck roast for tacos, you would not be able to add any taco seasoning to the meat because it already has BBQ seasoning on it.

However, if the chuck roast was seasoned with salt and pepper, you can add taco seasoning without worrying that you will ruin the flavor of the meat.

Sear the chuck roast in a hot cast-iron skillet on all sides until it’s browned. You can also sear the chuck roast on your natural gas grill to give it a charred flavor.

Place 2 roughly chopped onions in the bottom of your crockpot. The onions will prevent the chuck roast from touching the bottom of the crockpot. You can also add carrots, potatoes, or other root vegetables on top of the onions. Add the browned chuck roast on top of the onions.

You can braise the chuck roast without any liquid since the moisture will render out of the onions and create the braising liquid. However, I like to add at least a cup of beef broth to enhance the flavor of the meat and to ensure the onions do not stick to the bottom of the crockpot.

You can also add your desired herbs at this time, such as thyme, rosemary, or garlic. Place the lid on the crockpot and cook it on high for 2 hours until you smell the delicious aroma of the chuck roast.

Do not remove the lid from the crockpot once it has been sealed to check its progress or turn over the roast. Constantly opening your crockpot will only add additional time to the cooking time.

Turn the crockpot to low and cook it for an additional 4-5 hours until it is tender and the chuck roast pulls away from the bone. You can also cook the chuck roast on low for about 7-8 hours until it is tender.

It should be so hard to remove the chuck roast from the crockpot that it falls apart. Let the chuck roast rest for 10 minutes before slicing it against the grain and serving.

Final Thoughts

With debates such as tri-tip vs. brisket, pork belly vs. bacon, and Tomahawk vs. ribeye, it is no surprise that the debate has shifted toward roasts.

Whether it arose out of pure boredom or because meat lovers genuinely want to know if chuck roast or arm roast is better, one thing is clear. You will never know which cut of beef is truly best unless you try both arm roast and chuck roast!

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