Tender fall apart chuck roast over a bed of mashed potatoes and with a drizzle of gravy is a dinner that everyone will love! Chuck roast is one of the least expensive cuts of beef, but it must be cooked correctly to yield tender and delicious results. Follow this slow braised chuck roast recipe with middle eastern spices for one of the easiest dinners you'll make!
Growing up, we ate a lot of lamb! Middle eastern food is usually centered around lamb due to the "grandness" of it, and beef is typically used for stewing. Hosting recipes included things like lamb quzi, lamb kabsa, and maqluba.
But over the years, I've realized that not everyone loves lamb, and some people actually won't eat it. So I decided to venture into braised beef as another main dish to make at gatherings, and I finally tested and perfected my perfect chuck roast!
Dare I say that I almost prefer it over lamb now? It does not have that "gamey" flavour most people associate with lamb, and it's also lighter. So, I had to share this magical recipe with you.
What Makes the Best Chuck Roast?
The chuck is a cut of beef that comes from the shoulder of the animal. That means it is a hard working muscle as the head and front legs move up and down while the cow grazes. It is also one of the least expensive cuts of beef, but when cooked correctly, you can make it taste like a ribeye!
Due to this workout, chuck beef has a lot of connective tissue. That means it has more collagen which will need to be broken down into gelatin to help the meat fibers separate. The best way to break down this connective tissue is to follow this cooking technique:
- Use a low temperature. Braise chuck at 300F to 325F, nothing higher. Higher temperatures end up increasing moisture loss and toughening the meat fibers, resulting in chewy and sinewy meat.
- Cook it for a long time. Because of the low temperature, the chuck needs at least 3-4 hours to break down, depending on the size of your roast. Be patient!
- Use a moist environment. This means adding liquid to the chuck in the braising pot, as well as ensuring a tight seal as it bakes. Use a dutch oven with a lid for best results.
TIP: If you don't own a dutch oven or an oven-safe vessel with a tight fitting lid, use a baking pan. Make sure you cover the chuck with parchment paper first, then layer on aluminum foil and ensure a tight seal all around. This will simulate a dutch oven environment.
Bone-in vs. Boneless Beef Chuck
You can use either a bone-in or boneless cut of beef. Both will work well in this recipe. Here are my notes on both of these options:
- Bone-In Chuck Beef: I personally prefer a bone-in roast, because the bones end up adding a lot of flavour to the juices in the pot, which are used to make the gravy. They also help keep the beef extra juicy and easy to break up. The bones end up just falling off once cooked and very tender.
- Boneless Chuck Beef: Most people go for a boneless roast because its easier to handle when searing and serving. This is a perfectly good option too!
How to Buy Chuck Beef
Go to a trusted butcher to buy a high quality piece of chuck roast. Ask your butcher for bone-in or boneless chuck roast, with a lot of marbling.
If you are looking to feed 4 to 6 people, go for a 4 lb to 5 lb roast, which will be plenty. If you are cooking for a larger number, then purchase two of them and braise them together in separate vessels. Most people don't own a very large pot!
5 Tips for Making the Best Braised Chuck Roast
Here are tips that will help you ensure your chuck roast comes out juicy, flavorful and absolutely fall apart tender!
ONE: Make sure you season the roast generously with salt and pepper on all sides. The rule of thumb is ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt (I use kosher salt) for 1 lb of beef. As for black pepper, this is per preference so add as little or as much as you like.
TWO: Sear the beef on all sides until a deep brown crust forms. If your cut is big, you'll have to continue maneuvering it around until you sear as much surface area as you can. This process will take 7 to 10 minutes and will build a lot of flavour.
Remove the seared beef and set it aside to continue with the next steps.
THREE: Use aromatics and spices to add flavour to the beef as well as the juices which will be used to make a gravy. If you want to keep it simple and easy, just use sliced onions, bay leaves, and garlic (you can keep the cloves whole and just smash them before adding them in), and a spice mixture.
I love using the middle eastern spice mixture in this recipe for a subtle flavour of warm spices. But you can also use whatever seasoning you love with beef.
First you start with softening the onions in the leftover beef fat, then add the spice mixture. I also like to add a bit of vinegar (like apple cider vinegar or white vinegar) to help deglaze the pan.
FOUR: Make sure you braise it in a moist environment, which means adding water. Some people add beef or chicken stock, but if you're using bone-in chuck beef, water will be perfectly fine since the bones will turn the juices into a broth.
FIVE: Cover the pot tightly to ensure an air tight seal and braise at 325F. It's important to bake at a low temperature, and to also lock in the moisture. The chuck roast will need at least 3 hours and up to 5 hours, depending on the specific cut you have.
How To Serve This Dish
It's typical to make a gravy using the pan juices, which I highly recommend you do! It's quite easy:
- Remove the beef from the pot onto a serving platter, covering to keep it warm.
- Strain the pot juices from all the vegetables and return it back to the pot.
- Bring the juices to a simmer. In a separate bowl, making a cornstarch slurry using cornstarch and water. Add it to the juices to help thicken it into a gravy.
- Taste and adjust the gravy for extra salt and pepper if required. I also usually add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to add some acidity and flavour.
I love serve the beef over mashed potatoes and a drizzle of gravy. But you can also make roasted vegetables or serve it over yellow rice.
Other Recipes You Will Love
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Oven Braised Chuck Roast (Easy & Fall Apart)
- 5 pounds bone-in chuck roast boneless works too
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or any other vegetable oil
For the Spice Blend
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon clove
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ½ teaspoon coriander
For Braising the Chuck Roast
- 3 small onions sliced
- 1 teaspoon salt for the onions
- all of the spice mix
- 6 cloves garlic smashed, with peel still on
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 3 large bay leaves
- 4 cups water
For the Gravy
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 ½ tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 325F. Start by seasoning the chuck with salt and pepper on both sides. Make sure the chuck is at room temperate (let it sit out for an hour before cooking).
- Then, in a large enough dutch oven, add the oil and heat it. Sear the chuck on all sides, until a deep brown crust forms. Remove and set aside.
- Add the sliced onions and salt for the onions. Soften for a few minutes.
- Combine the spices together and add to the onions, continue to cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the smashed garlic, apple cider vinegar and bay leaves. Then add all the water and scrape the bottom of the pot.
- Add the chuck back in, cover and bake for 3 to 4 hours. Mine was very tender by the 3 hour mark, but I left it in for another hour. You must test the beef and give it more time if needed
- Once chuck is falling off the bone, remove and place on a platter to keep warm. Strain the vegetables from the liquid, and place the liquid back into the pot. Place it on medium heat.
- In a separate bowl, add 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch and 1 ½ tablespoons of water. Whisk to dissolve the cornstarch.
- Pour the slurry into the pot over the juices. Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Whisk and bring to a simmer. It will thicken after a few minutes. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Once thickened, remove from the heat and pour into a gravy bowl.
- Serve the chuck over mashed potatoes and drizzle with gravy.