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Cheap Cuts

Posted by Chef Perry Perkins on

Cheap Cuts

~Chef Perry Perkins~

In my not-so- humble opinion, one of the great unsung cuts from the noble cow is the chuck roast. The chuck contains a lot of connective tissue, including collagen, which partially melts during cooking.

Meat from the chuck is usually used for stewing, slow cooking, braising, or pot roasting. It is particularly popular for use as ground beef, due to its richness of flavor and balance of meat and fat.

More importantly, it’s cheap, it’s plentiful, and it eats like an old boot...unless you know a couple of tricks to make a moist, buttery, “mock flank” out of it.

Which I do.

The key to taming this muscle cut lies in two techniques:

  • A collagen-busting, vinegar-based marinade. (A pineapple juice marinade would work equally well.)
  • Taking as long as possible to bring the meat to 145 degrees.

I also like to use an herb/spice butter for serving, to help add moisture, and an instant-read thermometer, so I don’t (ever, ever, ever) have to cut into meat to check for doneness, which allows valuable juices to escape.

Mock Flank Steak

2– 4 lbs chuck roast, cut 2″ thick
1 Tbs onion powder
1 tsp oregano
Steak Butter (recipe below)

2 Tbs fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbs celery salt
1-2 cups of Italian dressing

Marinade meat 8-10 hours in an oil and vinegar-based Italian or vinaigrette dressing, remove from marinade, and blot dry.

Mix all spices and rub both sides of roast, then let stand at room temperature for 1 hour to air dry (preferably on a rack). You want that exterior DRY...that’s the key to that delicious brown, crusty exterior.

Spread a double layer of coals under one side of your top grill, and a single layer next to it. Lightly oil the top grate.

Place meat on hot side of the grill, fat side up, and grill five minutes per side.

Move roast to “cooler” side of the grill top.

You can place a drip pan under it to catch the drips which will make a great gravy later.

Grill for about 1 hour or until it reaches your desired doneness (145F).

Remove roast from the grill, flip, smear with remaining steak-butter, tent loosely with foil, and allow to rest 15-20 minutes to before cutting in 1/8 ” slices across the grain.

Serve immediately.

Steak Butter

1/4 lb unsalted butter
1 Tbs fresh shallots, minced
1/2 Tbs coarse black pepper
2 Tbs seasoned salt
1 Tbs smoked paprika

Warm butter and add seasoned salt, shallots, paprika, and pepper, blending well.

Cool slightly until spreadable. (You can put it in the fridge to cool, but be sure to stir it every few minutes.)

~Chef Perry

As a third-generation chef, Perry P. Perkins focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.

Perry runs the non-profit organization, MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes for at risk youth.

His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, La Caja China Party, and the NEW “La Caja China Grill.”

You can follow the rest of Chef Perry’s cooking adventures at

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