Learn everything you want to know about the chuck arm steak from what it is to how to cook it. Instructions for both stove top and oven braising and sous vide cooking.
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Have you ever seen a chuck arm steak in a store and wonder what to do with it? Or even what it is? Well, I have that answer for you.
So now, next time you see an arm steak in the store you will know what to do with it. It is possible to turn this cheap, tough cut into something to enjoy!
💪 What is a Chuck Arm Steak
The chuck arm comes from the chuck primal on the cow. The chuck primal is located towards the head of the cow. The muscles in this area get a lot of work, so the meat tends to be tough.
The positive thing is that cuts from this area are plentiful and thus cheap. The arm cut is located in the bottom half of the chuck primal. This cut doesn't have as much fat in it as other cuts of chuck like the chuck eye which is perfect for pot roasts and can be made into a grilled steak.
The best way to cook it is with a slow method. Braising the meat low and slow will give the connective tissues time to break down so that when its time to serve, it won't be so tough. We will also show you how to sous vide if you want to try a modern cooking method.
Here is what you will need for the braised dish.
- Chuck arm steak
- 2 cups Beef or Mushroom broth
- 4 ounces tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or dried rosemary
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- cooking oil
- Worcestershire sauce (optional)
The last time I got a chuck arm steak I picked it up at a farmer's market in Rapid City, South Dakota. It's always great when you can buy meat directly from the source. Not only are you supporting local business but 9 times out of 10 I find that you are getting a better product too.
I like to serve it with small potatoes that I boil whole. If you can get multi-colored ones like I did it will make for a pretty presentation.
For the cooking liquid you can choose between using beef broth, mushroom broth, or a combination of the two.
🍲 Braising Instructions
The first set of instructions will show you how to do this on your stove top or an induction cooktop like I used.
Before you begin to braise your meat you have the chance to add some additional flavoring by searing it. Heat up a cast iron grill pan or skillet over high heat with a little bit of oil in the bottom, just enough to cover.
While doing that, season both sides of the meat with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
When the pan is hot in about 3-5 minutes, place the steak on the pan. Wait about 1 minute to 2 minutes and then flip and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Since this is a steak cut, so it's a thinner piece than a roast, we just want to cook it quickly to give it a good sear to add additional flavor. We definitely do not want to cook the steak all the way now. Once the steak is done searing, remove it to a plate.
Now it's time to prepare the braising liquid. Take the 2 cups of beef broth (you can use mushroom as well) and mix in the 4 oz. of tomato paste until combined (the acids in the tomato will help break down connective tissue). Then add 1 teaspoon of dried thyme and/or rosemary, mix to combine.
Put your chuck arm steak back in. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat until you have a gentile simmer. If you have a lid cover the pan and cook for 2 hours or until the meat is tender enough to cut with a fork.
Optional - if you want to thicken your cooking liquid to make more of a sauce, you can bring it to a boil until it reduces enough to be sauce consistency.
🔥 Oven Instructions
Want to braise it in the oven instead?
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. The low temperature will give the meat time to break down.
Follow the instructions from above to sear it first.
I remember Alton Brown talking about in one of his books, that meat in the oven acts like a sponge that is being rung out. It's liquid escapes to the outer surroundings. Since the arm steak has less fat than other chuck cuts, there is a greater chance for the meat to dry out, even though it is surrounded by liquid.
An optional step you can take is to actually put the steak inside heavy duty aluminum foil. The reason for this is to completely surrounded the meat in the liquid for an optimal braise. With the foil you can accomplish that. Just make sure to place the entire thing in some kind of pan because no matter how good you seal it, there is still a good chance some liquid will escape. Better for it escape into a pan than onto the bottom of your oven.
Cook for about 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes or until fork tender.
This should give the connective tissues enough time to break down so that the meat will be tender and not long enough to dry out the meat.
When your meat is done, give it at least 5-10 minutes to rest before cutting into.
🛁 Sous Vide Instructions
If you want to have more of a seared steak experience, then sous vide is the way to go. Why? Because you can cook this steak long enough to make it tender while it still is medium rare. No other method of cooking can do this, which is why I love sous vide.
- Add kosher salt and freshly cracker pepper.
- Vacuum seal the steak. Try to get as much air out as you can. Or use alternative methods if you don't have a sealer.
- Set your water temperature bath to 120-130 for rare or 130-140 degrees for medium rare. Set to cook for at least 2 hours but you could go up to 3 or 4 hours.
- Take the steak out of the water bath and remove from the bag.
- Heat up a pan or grill over high heat. Add a little bit of your favorite cooking oil. Once the pan is really hot, cook the steak for 1 minute per side just to get a good sear.
For the best texture always slice your steaks against the grain. This will make the fibers in the meat shorter.
Braised Chuck Arm Steak
- Season both sides of the meat with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- When the pan is hot in about 3-5 minutes, place the steak on the pan. Wait about 1 minute to 2 minutes and then flip and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Once the steak is done searing, remove it to a plate.
- In a bowl, combine the 2 cups of beef or mushroom broth, tomato paste, dried thyme and/or rosemary, fresh pepper, and kosher salt (to taste). Mix to combine.
- Put your chuck arm steak back into the cast iron pan. If cooking on the stove top, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat until you have a gentile simmer. If you have a lid cover the pan and cook for 2 hours or until the meat is tender enough to cut with a fork.
- If you are cooking in the oven, preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Cook for about 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes or until fork tender.
- When your meat is done, give it at least 5-10 minutes to rest before cutting into.
- If you have leftovers enjoy within 3 days. The leftovers are often better.