So What’s the Difference Between Chuck Roast and Chuck Steak… And Does it Really Matter?
If you've ever dabbled with cooking, slow roasting, steaming, or otherwise preparing meats, you've probably run into a recipe or two which have different terms. And, one of these might be roast versus steak. If you've ever found yourself asking what are the difference between chuck roast and chuck steak, you're probably not alone.
And, yes, there are differences you should be familiar with if you are preparing a specific dish, or would like a specific cut when steaming or roasting meats. So let’s take a closer look at each term, and what the differences are between each.
The difference between chuck roast and chuck steak
It truly is quite simple; the main difference between the steak and the roast is simply the cut of the meat. It is the manner in which the butcher prepares (cuts) the meat, and the area of the cattle which it is taken (or cut) from.
The term chuck refers to the area right between the shoulder blade and the neck of the cattle from which it is taken; the cut itself is rather inexpensive, and is an area where there is going to be quite a bit of fat in the meat fibers. The two most popular cuts of the chuck are the chuck roast and the chuck steak.
So let's delve a little further into what the difference between chuck roast and chuck steak if you are preparing a specific dish or would like a specific texture/taste when preparing the meat.
The chuck roast –
A few of the distinguishing features of the chuck roast include:
- This cut typically includes parts of the blade bone in it (this makes it a very cheap cut of meat).
- The meat is typically cut in an oblong shape or a cylindrical shape.
- The grains of the cut typically run in the same direction as those of the long side of the cut of meat.
This is the actual piece of meat you purchase directly from your butcher at your local grocery store. So what does the chuck steak refer to?
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The chuck steak –
It is quite simple; the steak is simply what you are going to cut from the chuck roast. It is basically a cut (or a way in which you prepare the chuck roast) for you to cook, steam, or otherwise prepare the piece of chuck meat.
The chuck steak is the same exact piece of meat (the roast), only it is cut into thin slices. These slices can be cut as thin or thick as desired, but are typically between 1 to 3'' in width. You can prepare several chuck steaks from a single chuck roast (you are basically turning the chuck roast, into chuck steaks, when they are chopped).
The main difference between the cuts of meat fall in the thickness. Since it is the same exact piece of meat (the chuck), it is basically a matter of preparation and how the meat is going to be cooked. The steaks typically require much less time to prepare, because of the simple fact that they are much thinner and smaller in size.
Does it matter?
Yes and no. Since they are the same cut of meat, the main difference in terms of cut will lie in the type of dish you are preparing. For example, if you want to slow roast, want a deeper, thicker, and richer flavor, the chuck roast is going to deliver this taste.
It requires longer time for steaming, and will require longer cook times to break through the neck and shoulder fibers, and require more time to cook through the thicker cut of meat.
If you simply want to prepare a nice filet, want to cube meat for a stew, or want to prepare a medium rare piece of meat (simply brown the outside without cooking the interior of the meat), then a chuck steak filet might be the better option when preparing the meat in this manner.
It's all about the terminology –
The basic, and main difference between the roast and the steak, is just that - semantics. They are both the same cut of meat, and they both come from the same area of the cattle. Steaks simply refers to cutting the roast into thinner, smaller sections, allowing you to prepare the meat in different fashions for consumption.