Often known as ‘Poor man’s ribeye’, chuck eye steaks are obtained from the chuck roast. Knowing different meat cuts is important to put the right piece to the best use. Every portion of a cow gives you a different kind of meat. It’s not just about the cut but the texture of the meat and the grains.
Chuck meat can give you some of the best steaks but are not so good for beef bacon, for that you would need the chunk from the belly. So, it is all about how you understand the meat anatomy, as I call it at times. To be a good chef it is important to know all about the meat you are planning to cook.
With chuck eye steak being in high demand these days, I thought of bringing you a complete chuck eye guideline. From the basics of the meat to the ways it is cooked and the degrees of its doneness, we will discuss everything. So the next time you plan for a nice steak meal at home, you will know how to make the best out of it.
What is Chuck Eye Steak?
We have gone through the source and origin of a chuck eye roast. It is basically a shoulder steak, obtained from the upper region of the cow. While looking for these steaks in the stores, it gets difficult to differentiate from other forms of steaks. The packet label will help you in this regard as will the peculiar size of these steaks.
Chuck eye steaks are available in three inches size or sometimes in two inches. The three-inch size is perfect for grilling and the 2-inch size is best for braising.
A boneless chuck eye steak contains the same muscle as the ribeye which is surrounded by fat tissues and other muscles which are comparatively less tender. So, the steak has streaks of meat and fat in a single chunk. There are some places which give you pure ribeye muscle after trimming the surrounding few tender muscles. That can make chuck steak taste more like ribeye and cost you about the same.
Chuck Eye Steak Flavor
Spoiler alert! When compared to rib eye steaks, the chuck eye steaks aren’t as delicious. They need more seasoning and a nice blend of spices to add flavour to the meat. So, don’t hesitate while adding some extra salt, pepper or paprika to your steaks. Dried herbs are also a great option to infuse more taste into the steak. Remember! Whichever spice blend you are using, make sure to evenly rub the steak from both sides.
You can even carry out the seasoning in two steps.
First, add basic seasoning to the steak before the marination. Then after marination, rub the steak with more spices and then roast or grill it. Having a nice sauce or glaze is also a great idea when it comes to chuck eye steak. Just like I will be using butter parsley sauce for my steak in the recipe given below, you can create your own version of the butter sauce and enjoy the steak to the fullest.
2 hours of marination makes each steak taste so soft. When the excess moisture is removed, the meat never gets too chewy after cooking.
Beef Chuck Eye Steak
A beef chuck eye steak is carved out from a few inches of the tender Dorsi muscle of the cow, which is present in the shoulder area of the animal. The ribeye steaks are carved out of the 12th rib of the cow whereas beef chuck eye is sliced out of the fifth rib. There are only two chuck roasts available in each cow and they are not as widely available as other meat cuts.
Because of its texture and taste, the chuck eye steak is second in demand after the rib eye and therefore they are completely budget-friendly and don’t cost you much. That is the reason why the chuck eye steak is often called a poor man’s ribeye but that does not mean that you will get a poor-quality steak after cooking. It gets a fine flavour when you use a perfect chuck eye steak marinade.
Usually, these steaks are available in the readily packed form, wrapped in a plastic sheet. These are pre-trimmed and pre-cleaned steaks, ready for seasoning and marination. They are not guaranteed as fresh as those bought directly from the butcher.
At a butcher, you can check the quality of the animal meat and then ask for a good chunk of the chuck eye roast. You can later slice the thin or thick slices out of the roast. Too thick steak does not cook well in the pan. For searing or grilling, keep the steak thickness suitable for easy cooking.
How to Cook Chuck Eye Steak – 3 Different Ways
Cooking a chuck eye steak is as convenient as any other beef steak. In fact, it offers you a variety of options to enjoy the same cut with different spices and sauces.
I generally use the searing method for the steak, as it does not require any preheating of the grill or other preparations. But grilling has its own benefits, it infuses a strong smoky flavor into the steak which makes it irresistible. To give a wide range of options, I am sharing all the different ways to cook a juicy chuck eye steak.
Pan Seared Chuck eye steak
To have the best steak at home in no time, pan-cooked chuck eye is a great choice. It only takes basic seasoning and simple cooking to have a delicious and juicy steak. I have used a minimum of spices to season the chuck here, and use butter for searing. You can add more spices or sauces to glaze the beef like a lemon juice drizzle or some paprika etc. Or you can prepare a sauce separately and simply pour it over the steak at the end.
Other than the spices, dried herbs also make a great seasoning!
Rosemary, thyme and oregano, are all great yet I am using thyme sprigs here. For a serving for two, here is the list of the ingredients you will be needing to cook a perfect chuck steak.
- 1 1/2 lb. chuck-eye steaks (about 2 steaks)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
Before seasoning the steak or doing anything, make sure your steak is clean and well-trimmed. There should not be any extra fat and the steak should not be very thick, as it will be difficult to cook it in a short time. Pat dry the chuck steak and place it on a working surface.
Now start rubbing both sides of both the steaks with salt and pepper. After seasoning, refrigerate the steak for at least 1 hour or up to as many as 8 hours. This time is enough to infuse the flavors deep into the meat. During marination and refrigeration, do not cover the steak.
Place the refrigerated steak on the working surface for 30 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, you can set your oven and preheat it at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove steaks from the refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Heat a large 12-inch iron pan with cooking oil and then fry chuck eye steaks for 3 minutes per side on medium-high heat. After searing the steaks in the pan, place the pan in the oven to cook for 5 minutes. This method can ensure better doneness of the meat. You can even complete the cooking in the pan on low heat until it is al dente.
After some cooking in the oven, add garlic, thyme and butter to the meat drippings in the pan and mix it all with a spoon. Generously spoon the mixture over the steaks. Place these steaks on a wire rack. Let them rest for 5 minutes.
Slice the steaks again for serving, against the grain, and drizzle sea salt on top to adjust the seasoning.
Oven Baked Chuck Steak
If you want to try a steak with a super creamy mushroom sauce, then here is your chance to make an irresistible one by baking it in the oven. I personally love this version of the steak, as it gives me everything I love on a single plate: cheese, heavy cream and mushrooms.
The chuck steaks are baked first and then the sauce is poured on top. Look for the following ingredients in the grocery store and gather them all before you plan to make this beefy delight.
- 3 rib eye steaks
- teaspoon kosher salt for initial seasoning of steaks, 1/2 tablespoon for spice mix, plus more for mushrooms, plus 1 teaspoon for cream sauce
- teaspoons black pepper, plus more for mushrooms, plus 1 teaspoon for cream sauce
- teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- Whole mushrooms, as many as desired
- Olive oil, for drizzling on mushrooms
- cup heavy cream
- teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
- tablespoon butter
Take the chuck eye steaks and prepare them for marination. Pat dry each fillet and trim off all the excess fat. Keep the steak at room temperature.
Season the steaks with salt and then wrap them in a parchment paper. Keep these steaks in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. This will release the extra water out of the meat. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and the paper and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Combine all the dry spices with ½ tablespoon of salt and rub the steaks with half of this mixture. Let the seasoned steaks sit for 20 minutes at room temperature. Meanwhile, you can roast the mushrooms. Toss all the mushrooms with olive oil in a baking tray and bake them for 20 minutes in an oven at 320 degrees F. After 10 minutes of roasting, toss in salt and pepper to season the mushrooms and then continue baking.
Turn the oven to 375 degrees F temperature and let it preheat. In the meantime, heat a nonstick iron skillet and add the remaining half of the spice mixture. Place the steaks in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and let them steam bake for 8 minutes.
Once cooked completely, set the steaks in a plate with roasted mushrooms and keep it aside. Meanwhile, take the same skillet with the left-over meat drippings. Place it over medium heat and pour in heavy cream, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cheese. Mix well until everything is thoroughly mixed. Stir in butter and then turn off the heat. When the butter is melted pour the white creamy sauce over the steaks. Serve warm.
Grilled Chuck Eye Steak
The best way to turn an ordinary chuck eye to a fancy BBQ steak is to grill it! Grilling adds such a strong intense flavor to the steak that it makes the steak finger-licking delicious. You can practically use any spice and herb mixture to season the beef and then grill. Extra sauces can also be used for the final serving. I personally love the grilled steak with herb butter mixture.
Let’s see how it is done.
First, you start by preparing the meat for marination. Whenever using chuck eye steak, the marination is important. I use salt and black pepper for this purpose, you don’t need to go overboard with this. Simply sprinkle the salt and pepper on both sides of the steak and rub them all over. Now refrigerate the steaks for 2 hours. This time is enough to release the moisture of the meat. Do not cover the steak during this time.
During the last hour of marination, you can work on other things as well. First set up your grill and preheat it at 375 degrees F. Grease the grilling grates with some cooking oil and set them aside. After doing all these preparations, prepare the herb butter sauce. You can make any combination of your choice but I mix melted butter with chopped parsley, chives, cilantro, and minced Fresno chilli. Keep this mixture aside.
Its time to do some grilling. Place the steaks on the grilling grates and then grill them for 5 minutes per side for a medium rare. Check if the steaks are completely cooked then transfer them to the serving plate. Pour the butter herbs sauce over the steak and spread it evenly on top. Then serve the steak warm and steaming.
There are many sides which can go with these steaks, try a fresh vegetable salad or serve simply with potato mash. A soft creamy mash perfectly complements a juicy steak. If you can not serve the steak directly after grilling, make sure to cover the plate with aluminum foil and then set it aside in a warm place.
The Degrees of Doneness
The one thing which I had the most difficulty understanding is the degree of the doneness of the meat. Perhaps it is the most crucial part, especially when you are making a steak. If you are not familiar with these degrees, your beef cooking experience will be hit and miss.
By knowing the exact temperatures and stages of doneness you will be able to manage the outcome as per your desire. Making two broad categories, we will first be discussing the doneness levels of the meat while it is roasted in the oven and then we will jump to the grilling part.
As the steaks are cooked using both the methods, it is important to discuss them separately in detail. I assure you, that once you will get through these, most of your confusion will go away.
First, to check the doneness level, you need a thermometer. This is important for those who are new to the process. However, after a while, you will be able enough to recognize the doneness level by the cooking time and appearance of the meat.
An Instant read thermometer or meat thermometer can be used for this purpose. To check the temperature, insert the tip into the meat and let it rest until the temperature is raised to a certain value, then remove the thermometer.
- Rare: When the meat is cooked rare, it appears a cool red at the centre. The temperature at this stage is about 125 degrees F or 52 degrees C. This is the first stage of doneness and the meat is cooked rare only to be further cooked in this recipe.
- Medium Rare: At this stage, the meat turns a warmer red in color at the center. Chuck eye steak is usually cooked to this state for direct serving. But it is up to you whether you want to cook it further. When you calculate the temperature at this stage, it turns out to be 135 degrees F or 57 degrees C.
- Medium: At the medium stage, the meat appears almost warm pink in color at the center. I personally make sure to cook the steaks up to this level of doneness. The temperature at this stage has to be registered around 145 degrees F or 63 degrees F
- Medium Well: This stage is right before the meat is completely done. At this level, the meat at the center appears slight pink in color. There are few beef recipes that would recommend this level of doneness. The temperature at this stage has to be around 150 degrees F to 66 degrees C.
- Well Done: At this stage, the meat finally loses all of its pink or red colors and it turns light brown on the inside. From this color you can easily recognize the level of doneness. The temperature at the stage should be recorded as 160 degrees F or 71 degrees C.
Grilling, Braising or Broiling
The degree of doneness does not change with the change in the method of cooking. It is linked with the temperatures and the cooking time. As long as both of those variables remain the same, similar degrees of doneness can be achieved every time. Degrees for grilling, broiling or braising are not any different from that of roasting. The same color appears in the meat at those temperatures in each stage.
Having this mini doneness guideline, you can now easily compare and optimize the state of your beef during cooking. It also makes it easier to understand the recipe whenever it states cooking to rare, medium-rare or well done, etc. Since not all recipes always mention the temperature it is essential for you experient with them all once at least.
It helped me a lot when I first started learning to deal with meat and steak recipes. I used to use my kitchen thermometer and then transfer the meat to the serving plates. Now with enough experience, the mere colour of the steak can predict the doneness for me.
A brilliantly cooked chuck eye roast can make the best out of your dinner table. Just by changing the spices and the method of cooking, you can enjoy this steak in every variety possible. In this article, I tried to cover all the different aspects of the chuck eye steak, from what it is to how it is cooked. All the minor details are discussed here.
When it comes to steaks, the marination and cooking time carries the most importance. Many people complain about the steak being too chewy or too dry. I tell them that’s because of the cooking. If you choose the appropriate method of cooking, a suitable marinade and perfect timing, then nothing can stop you from enjoying a super delicious steak at home.
The key is constant supervision at every stage of cooking. You need to be there at all times. You cannot leave the steak in the pan and leave the kitchen for a while. That is not going to work. Secondly, always remember to use salt for the marination as it can remove all the moisture out of the meat, which is necessary if you want to cook it perfectly. Keep these tips in mind and nothing can stop you from having a soft and juicy Chuck eye steak.