Chuck steak is a versatile meat, and not just because it’s known by several names. London broil, shoulder steak, shoulder steak half-cut and English steak are all culinary monikers for this shoulder cut. Chuck steak is also a budget-wise buy when your family craves steak but your budget craves savings. And the steak isn't just a multi-talented selection in the naming department; its versatility extends to preparation in the home kitchen.
When your weekend affords you a bit more prep time, fire up the grill and throw on some chuck steaks for your family -- or your friends if your budget will stretch that far. About 6 to 8 hours before you’re ready to cook, prepare a marinade. While it’s a flavorful cut, chuck tends to be a tougher selection, so a marinade tenderizes the meat over the course of several hours. Combine a flavorful base, such as Worcestershire, wine or soy sauce, and an acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, to tenderize the beef. Add more spices and then allow the meat to marinate for several hours. Once your grill is hot, place steaks on the grate and grill for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on desired doneness.
If you aren’t in the mood to wrestle a big grill or a bag of charcoal, your stove is a fine cooking medium for a marinated chuck steak. Use a non-stick skillet so the meat doesn’t stick to the skillet, ruining a perfectly good cut of beef. Use tongs instead of a fork to turn the beef. When you pierce a steak, juices escape, leaving a chuck steak less moist and tender. Cook the steak for 3 to 5 minutes per side and then transfer it to a plate. Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes before slicing to ensure the juices move back toward the center of the steak.
Given chuck steak's tougher texture, braising is a method that renders it fork-tender and doesn’t require marinating. And braising is made easy and efficient if you use a slow cooker. Before you leave for the day, or tackle your to-dos, place the steak at the bottom of the crock and prepare a braising liquid that includes ingredients such as beef broth, red wine, Worcestershire, agave nectar and spices. Pour the liquid over the beef and allow it to cook for 4 to 6 hours or until the meat falls apart.
Two Meals for the Price of One
Stretch your food budget even further by cooking once and eating twice. Chop leftover steak and incorporate it into a rich shepherd’s pie or pot pie. You can do double duty and make a thick gravy from any leftover braising liquid. Shred steak and mix with a tomato salsa or salsa verde for fajitas. You can also stretch a homemade or store-bought soup by adding chopped steak to make an inexpensive and hearty meal.