Chuck is an excellent yet versatile cut of meat. It can be fabricated into steaks and roasts or even used to make ground beef.
However, a debate is bound to happen where beef enthusiasts and experts gather.
The perfect example of this is the chuck steak vs. chuck roast debate.
I know what you are thinking; aren’t they the same cut of beef. Technically, you are correct.
However, let’s explore each cut in depth before pitting them against one another.
What Is Chuck?
Chuck is a cut of beef that sits between the shoulder blade and neck.
Chuck is a cheap cut of beef, and it contains a substantial about of intramuscular fat.
Chuck roast and chuck steaks are the most popular chuck cut, hence the debate.
What Is Chuck Roast?
Chuck roast is a large cut of beef that includes portions of the blade bone. Butchers usually cut chuck roasts into a cylindrical shape.
In addition, the grains of the cut fall in line with the cut of the meat.
You can easily purchase chuck roasts from a butcher or your neighborhood grocery store.
What is Chuck Steak?
Chuck steak is simply a steak that is fabricated from the chuck roast. In other words, the chuck roast is cut into smaller slices that are easier to make.
This allows you to grill, boil, or steam chuck steak.
If you are fabricating your own chuck steak, you can cut the slices as thick or as thin as you want. Typically, chuck steak is cut into 1-3-inch thick slices.
Chuck Steak vs. Chuck Roast
Chuck roasts and steaks come from the exact same cut of beef, so they must be similar right? Wrong.
Yes, chuck roasts and steaks are the same cut of beef. However, there are noticeable differences between the two cuts.
Since chuck roast is well a roast, it’s prepared like a roast. Chuck roast becomes super tender while it’s slow-cooked for several hours.
Therefore, the chuck roast is most often used for pot roast.
You can also smoke chuck roast your electric smoker, roast it or use it to make a stew.
In contrast, chuck steak can be cooked low and slow by braising it. However, you can also broil, grill, or sear chuck steak in a cast-iron skillet.
It’s best to marinate chuck steak for a few hours before cooking it. The marinade will help tenderize the meat.
You can also add a meat tenderizer to the chuck steak.
Alternatively, you can add more flavor to the steak by basting it in its own juices or with butter, garlic, and herbs.
Since chuck roast is much larger than chuck steak, it will take longer to cook.
For example, if you are making pot roast with chuck roast, it can take 6-8 hours if you use a slow cooker.
In contrast, chuck steaks can be quickly grilled or pan-seared for 3 minutes per side and finished off in the oven for 6-8 minutes.
However, if you braise the chuck steaks, it will take 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes for the steaks to be cooked.
Typically, chuck has a robust beefy flavor. Therefore, chuck has a strong beefy flavor no matter how it’s cooked.
However, the cooking method can also determine the flavor of chuck steak and chuck roast.
For example, if you grill chuck steak, it will have a smoky charred flavor.
If you use a marinade, the chuck steak will take on the marinade’s flavor.
The same goes for if you baste chuck steaks with butter and herbs, it will have a herbaceous, buttery flavor.
In contrast, if you braise the chuck roast with vegetables and herbs, the roast will have a robust, savory flavor.
Meat prices are never set in stone. One week the price of meats decreases, and the next week, the price of meats increases.
In addition to this, your location, as well as the season, could also affect the price of meat.
Nevertheless, chuck steaks are more expensive than chuck roasts. Since the butcher has to carve it into steaks, it costs more.
Chuck roast and chuck steak have similar prices.
Chuck roast can range between $2-$5 per pound, while chuck steak can cost about $5 per pound.
How To Cook Chuck Roast
Since we are talking about chuck steak vs. chuck roast, I figured I’d show you how to cook each cut of beef. Luckily both cuts are relatively easy to prepare.
Do not be afraid to season your chuck roast. It is a large cut of beef, so you must season it generously.
You can use salt and pepper to season your chuck roast with salt and pepper or use your favorite BBQ seasoning. The seasoning gives the chuck roast a beautiful bark development.
Cover the chuck roast and place it in the fridge. You can let the chuck roast marinate for up to 24 hours.
Remove your chuck roast from the fridge. Let the chuck roast sit for 1 hour to 1 hour and 50 minutes to come to room temperature.
This will ensure the chuck roast cooks evenly.
Do not let the chuck roast sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours. After 2 hours, so much bacteria will have developed that it is not safe to consume.
Consuming the chuck roast could expose you and your family to food poisoning. Remember, bacteria cannot be seen with the naked eye.
So even though the chuck roast does not look spoiled, it may be tainted by bacteria.
Set up your smoker while the chuck roast is coming to room temperature.
Add your chosen fuel to your smoker. Add water to your smoker’s water pan.
Let your smoker come up to a temperature of 225°F. Once it comes to 225°F, add the chuck roast. Smoke it for 3 -3 1/2 hours.
Insert your smoker thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. If the chuck roast has a temperature of 160°F-165°F, remove it from the smoker.
Wrap the chuck roast with 2 layers of butcher paper or foil.
Return the chuck roast to the smoker and smoke it for another hour.
To check your chuck roast for doneness, insert your thermometer’s probe into the thickest part of the chuck roast. If it registers as 208°-210°F, the chuck roast is cooked.
Remove the chuck roast from the grill. Do not unwrap the chuck roast.
Place the chuck roast into a dry cooler and let it rest for 1 hour before carving or shredding the meat.
How To Cook Chuck Steak
Chuck steaks absorb marinades really well. Therefore, I always use a marinade.
To make the marinade combine minced garlic and shallots with olive oil and vinegar.
You can add any seasoning you desire. I opted for salt, pepper, smoked paprika, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and brown sugar.
Whisk the ingredients together, then add your chuck steaks to the marinade, and toss them to coat.
Cover the chuck steaks with plastic wrap and let them marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
I would not recommend skipping the marinade. It helps break down the chuck steak’s tough fibers and makes the steak super tender and tasty.
Remove your chuck steaks from the fridge and let them come to room temperature.
Set up your charcoal grill so it has two cooking zones. Pile the charcoal on one side of the grill to create a direct cooking surface.
The side with no charcoal will be the indirect cooking surface.
If you are grilling the charcoal steaks on a natural gas grill, turn on half of the grill’s burners and leave the other burners off.
The side with the burners on will be the direct grilling surface, while the side with the burners off will be the indirect grilling surface.
Place your chuck steaks onto the direct grilling surface. Cook the chuck steaks for 3-4 minutes on each side.
Place the chuck steaks onto the direct heat side of the grill and cook them until they reach a temperature of 140°F.
This is a medium-rare chuck steak. I would not recommend cooking the chuck steaks above medium-rare as they will only get tougher and chewier.
Remove the chuck steaks from the grill and place them onto a warm plate.
Let the chuck steaks rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Can I Substitute Chuck Roast for Chuck Steak?
Yes, you can use check roast in place of chuck steak. After all, it is the exact same cut of beef. However, you will have to cut the chuck roast into slices.
Using a sharp knife, cut the chuck roast into 1-2-inch thick slices. You should be able to get 2-4 steaks from a chuck roast.
You can easily freeze any chuck steaks you do not use.
Chuck roast and chuck steaks are the exact same cut of beef.
However, there are still some differences, like the cooking time and price between the 2 cuts of beef. As for which cut is best, that decision falls on you.
You might also be interested in the following:
- Arm Roast Vs. Chuck Roast
- Rump Roast Vs. Chuck Roast
- Shoulder Roast Vs. Chuck Roast
- Chuck Roast Vs. Brisket
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.