An arm roast is a cut of beef from the cow’s shoulder, containing lean, tender meat and a round bone. Arm roast is usually slow-cooked to bring out its flavor, and is used in braised dishes, stews, and pot roasts. Other names for arm roast include beef arm roast, arm chuck roast, Swiss steak, and chuck primal.
You can make an arm roast into a steak by making a smaller cut from the bone. This type of steak is known as a Swiss steak.
How Does an Arm Roast Taste?
Arm roast tastes rich, savory, and beefy. Arm roast gets more tender when cooked compared to other cuts of beef.
Where Is the Arm Roast on a Cow?
The arm roast is found where the first three ribs and the front shoulder of the cow meet. The shoulder is in the chuck area of the cow, in front of the rib area, and above the brisket area.
How to Slow Cook an Arm Roast (Full Recipe)
Slow cooking arm roast is the best way to cook this cut because slow cooking tenderizes the meat and allows its flavors to come through. To slow cook an arm roast, follow the recipe below:
Ingredients (serves 6):
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 pounds arm roast
- 1 tablespoon oil of your choice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 peeled, quartered onion
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ cup red wine
- 3 smashed cloves of garlic
- 6 peeled and halved carrots
- 1 ½ pounds peeled baby potatoes
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Combine the pepper, salt, and garlic powder in a bowl. Rub the seasoning all over the arm roast
- Set a skillet on medium-high heat and add your oil of choice. Place the arm roast into the skillet when the oil begins to shimmer. Sear the meat on all sides, for approximately 5 minutes
- Transfer the seared arm roast into your slow cooker. Place the bay leaf and quartered onion around the roast
- Reduce the skillet heat to medium. Add the Worcestershire sauce, wine, and smashed garlic, cooking for up to 2 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove the brown bits, then turn off the heat
- Transfer the liquid from the skillet into the slow cooker. Add the carrots, potatoes, and any other vegetables of your choice
- Cover the slow cooker and cook. If you have more time, cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours for the most tender meat. Otherwise, cook on high heat for up to 5 hours
- Using a ladle, transfer 2 cups of the liquid from the slow cooker into a saucepan, set over a medium-high heat
- Bring the transferred liquid to a boil. Combine 3 tablespoons of cold water with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to make a slurry, then add the slurry to the sauce and whisk. Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens to a honey-like consistency
- Remove the sauce from the heat. Serve the arm roast and vegetables, then top the dish with the sauce
How to Cook an Arm Roast in an Oven
If you don’t own a slow cooker, you can make a similar arm roast dish in the oven. Here’s a recipe to follow:
Ingredients (serves 6):
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 pounds trimmed, boneless arm roast
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups coarsely chopped onion
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 3 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 14 ounces beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 pounds peeled and chopped Yukon gold potatoes
- 4 large peeled and chopped carrots
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF/175°C
- Place a large Dutch oven on the stove over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- Sprinkle pepper and salt onto the arm roast, then add the arm roast to the Dutch oven
- Cook the arm roast for up to 5 minutes, until all sides of the meat are browned. Remove the roast from the pan and set it aside
- Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté for about 8 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent
- Return the seared arm roast to the Dutch oven and add the thyme, the chopped garlic, the wine, the beef broth, and the bay leaf. Turn the heat down and bring to a simmer
- Place a lid on the Dutch oven and bake until the roast is almost tender, for 1 1/2 hours
- Add the potatoes and the carrots to the pan, then cover and bake for 1 additional hour
- Check that the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Use two forks to shred the meat, then serve the roast with the cooking liquid and vegetable mixture
Arm Roast vs Chuck Roast
Arm roast and chuck roast are often confused for one another because of the similarities between the two meats. To further confuse matters, arm roast is occasionally called by both names – arm chuck roast. However, there are some notable differences between the two roasts:
- Arm roast is taken from the cow’s shoulder, while chuck roast comes from higher up, from the neck/shoulder area of the cow
- Arm roast has less marbling and a lower fat content than does chuck roast
- Arm roast is more tender than chuck roast because chuck roast has more connective tissues in the meat
- Arm roast contains fewer calories per serving than chuck roast. A single serving of arm roast contains approximately 180 calories, while one serving of chuck roast contains around 280 calories
Cooking an Arm Roast vs Cooking a Chuck Roast
Arm roast and chuck roast require different cooking methods. Chuck roast requires more time in the oven than arm roast to achieve a similar consistency and tenderness.
Because the arm roast is already tender enough, you can cook this meat on high heat for a shorter time. However, both chuck roast and arm roast have the best taste and the most tender texture when cooked on low heat for a long time.