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Forgive me if this question has been asked before, I did a search and did not find it.

I have cut up a chuck roast into steak slices (relatively thin, maybe half an inch), tenderized it and marinated it overnight. I am now ready to grill it. I have read contradictory advice online on the best way to grill it, the disagreement being whether to grill it 'low and slow' or 'high and fast' to ensure maximum tenderness (that is, to preserve whatever tenderness was there and ensure it doesnt become 'tougher').

I know, chuck roast is not typically designed for grilling or doing what I'm doing, so I'm not looking on a lecture on that, I'm simply asking if I want to preserve whatever tenderness is there, will I have a better shot grilling it low and slow or high and fast?

As a side note, its grass fed beef, and just by throwing a few small pieces on a frying pan last night for a few minutes yielded (surprisingly) relatively tender meat.

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I edited your title, because what applies to chuck roast doesn't necessarily apply to all meat. –  Jefromi Mar 26 '13 at 15:13
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You've already said you've tested it quick cooking in a frying pan ... if that wasn't to your liking, then try a slow cook, but as it's already trimmed up, it's not going to come out as well as if you had slow cooked the whole roast before trimming. –  Joe Mar 26 '13 at 22:54
    
The methods from the blog post here are basically the same ones I'd use for chuck. –  wax eagle Mar 27 '13 at 2:43
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@Joe Cooking in a frying pan had good results. Cooking it on a grill had similar results as cooking it on the frying pan. –  n00b Apr 2 '13 at 20:50
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4 Answers 4

Your best method of making chuck tender is to cook it low and slow, as per traditional barbecue.

The reason for this is that chuck is a relatively tough meat, full of connective tissue (the protein collagen, among others).

By cooking low and slow for a long time, you raise the internal temperature of the meat to about 170 F to 180 F for an extended period, at which temperatures over time, in the presence of moisture (either part of the meat itself, or external) the collagen will convert to gelatin, converting from a touch to a succulent and tender product. This is the principal employed in both braising and barbecue (as opposed to grilling, which is a high heat technique normally).

Note that the collagen to gelatin conversion creates the tenderness, it is not preserving tenderness, since it was not a tender cut to start with.

At this point, since you have already sliced the meat, I believe your best approach would be to create an indirect fire or flame. Place the meat in a disposable pan layered together to minimize drying, away from the fire, and allow to cook slowly for at a low temperature (say 250 F to 300 F air temperature as measured in the grill with its lid on) for several hours, at least about 4 hours and up to 8 to 12 hours, until it is fall apart tender.

You may also do this in the oven rather than on the grill. It will also be amenable to braising techniques, as opposed to dry roasting/barbecuing.

While it is too late for this particular chuck, in the future you may have better success not slicing it prior to barbecuing.

If you are thinking of grilling as a high temperature technique and do not want to do the low and slow methods, I am afraid this will not work out well with chuck. It is naturally not tender, and these high temperature grilling will not facilitate enhancing the tenderness. If you are time constrained, you would be better off freezing your marinated chuck for another time, and cooking something else that does respond well to the fast, intense heat of grilling, like steaks or pork chops.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I know and have read over and over the "correct" method of cooking this type of roast is low and slow (meaning for hours on end) not sliced up and on a grill like I did. Its not a traditional steak cut and its not 'supposed to' be treated that way. If you are looking for the best way to cook this meat, follow all the advice you find online and in the other answers/suggestions here. However, I chose to go against that advice and slice up a chuck roast, tenderize it and marinate it to see if I could cook it like a steak. My results were that you can, and the results were surprisingly good. Your results will vary on the quality of your cut and how you prepare it, but it CAN be done effectively.

Because I had beat and cut the chuck into very thin slices, putting them on the grill on low heat for more then 10 minutes was enough to overcook them. Thankfully I only did a few like that and the rest I grilled like a regular steak for a few minutes a side and they turned out better. I don't believe this had to do particularly with the cut of meat, just the fact that they were so thin already.

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@Jefromi It had been a while since I read SAJ14SAJ's answer. You are correct, in that it does address my original question. I was mistaken in my memory and have edited my answer as such. I dont expect to recieve any upvotes because I dont imagine anybody RECOMMENDING this as a way of cooking chuck roast, but I put it here simply for those that are stubborn like me and want to know if its even possible. It is, and it works. If you feel my original question was poorly worded, please edit as you please. Thanks. –  n00b Apr 2 '13 at 21:23
    
Thanks for the edit; withdrawing my previous comments. I do think that this is a perfectly good idea, though there are cuts of meat that are better suited for uses like this. (I have no problem with not doing what you think you're supposed to.) I just think this method may not in fact maximize tenderness - actual low and slow cooking (protected more from drying out and the heat, as SAJ14SAJ mentions) will definitely give you tender meat - so you shouldn't be surprised if it doesn't get upvoted much, because it doesn't exactly address your original question. –  Jefromi Apr 2 '13 at 21:28
    
@Jefromi : it does answer the question, because he said he already had it sliced it into steaks. His only other option would've been to cut it up further and do a stir-fry ... but I don't know if that would've qualified as 'grilling'. –  Joe Apr 3 '13 at 1:31
    
@Joe My point was mainly that a slow method still would probably be more tender. –  Jefromi Apr 3 '13 at 2:17
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This is a great way to cook tough meat. Even better- bread it and pan fry it. Then it's called chicken fried steak. Seriously though- this answer is written like you are surprised this works. Physically beating the snot out of tough meat is common in southern cuisine. –  Sobachatina Apr 3 '13 at 16:08
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It really depends on how you cut your chuck roast, and which muscles it encompassed. You can potentially get chuck steaks, chuck eye steaks, and flat iron steaks out of a chuck roast, chuck steaks being the most common.

Chuck eye steaks are cut from the eye roll. This is a continuation of the muscle from which ribeyes are cut. Chuck eyes can be cooked like ribeyes, and will be perfectly tender at medium rare. Flat irons are tougher, but can also be cooked like regular steaks.

Chuck steaks, on the other hand, would be steaks cut from the rest of the roast. I'm assuming this is what you have. These should really be cooked beyond well done for maximum tenderness. You don't need to render out as much connective tissue as you would if you were making pulled or shredded beef, but you will need to render out enough that your knife can cut through it, and your teeth will be able to properly chew the pieces. With thin pieces, you can fry them in a pan until done, and then optionally finish them in the oven. I would also recommend a marinade to help with moisture retention and tenderization. I prefer somewhat thicker cut steaks, which I will marinate and cook low and slow, then sear at the end. Basically I treat chuck steaks like pork steaks, since they are the same cut of meat, just from different animals.

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I have done chuck a number of times on high indirect heat about 400 for 2 hours with great results (this came about by accident because I was cooking other stuff that needed the higher heat I didn't feel like cooking separate) The secret to keeping it moist is to make sure its got plenty of fat, marinate it before hand and baste while cooking.

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In the case of this question, the OP had already sliced up the roast. Does your answer apply in this case? –  SAJ14SAJ Jul 11 '13 at 17:07
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