Throw out everything you think you know about cooking steaks, especially chuck steaks. Chuck steaks come from the portion of beef located in the chest and front leg portion, which is naturally lean and tough. Chuck steak is basically a chuck roast cut into thinner pieces, usually 1 1/2 inches or less. Chuck steak is best when cooked slowly over low heat, and the best way to control the temperature and time is by braising them in the oven. This approach, along with a braising liquid, allows enough time to break down the tough connective tissue and keep the meat moist.
- Plastic storage bag or container
- Baking dish
- Braising liquid
Cover the steaks with aluminum foil to help keep the meat moist, if you like. Frequent basting is usually sufficient if you prefer not to use aluminum foil.
It's difficult to achieve the slight char or browning typical of steaks prepared in a skillet or in the grill. If this is important to you, you can brown them in the skillet for about two minutes on each side before baking them in the oven.
Place the chuck steaks in a plastic storage bag or storage container and pour a marinade over them to add flavor and tenderize the meat. Use a bottled marinade or make your own with cooking oil, an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or citrus juice, and seasonings and spices to taste. Seal the storage container and place it in the refrigerator for a minimum of two hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the steaks in an even layer in a baking dish.
Pour the remaining marinade over the steaks, or use a different liquid for braising the steaks, such as beef broth, water and seasonings, or even beer. Use enough liquid to cover at least half the thickness of the steaks.
Bake the steaks for about two to three hours or until fork tender. Check the steaks once every 30 minutes or so, flipping them periodically. Spoon the braising liquid over the top of the steaks to keep them moist, much the same as you would baste a roast. When you insert a fork in the steak and twist gently, the meat should be tender enough to break apart easily.
Things You'll Need
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.