My Dad used to tell a joke about how silly things were in the state of Indiana. It went something like this:
“Indiana is a messed up state.
South Bend is in the North,
North Vernon is in the South,
And French Lick isn’t what you think.”
Welcome to the cut of beef known as a Chuck Tender Roast. I am used to chuck roasts being a tough cut of beef. However, since I discovered the incredibly tender and flavorful chuck eye steak the other day I figured that I would try taking a chuck tender roast for a spin.
This is a beautiful cut of beef with an incredibly awful name.
The name for this cut apparently comes from the fact that it comes from the chuck primal and looks like a tenderloin. Clever, no?
In reality there is nothing tender about this cut. It is a flavorful but TOUGH piece of meat that has to be smoked low and slow or gently braised in an oven for hours.
The roast I picked up weighed in at a little under two pounds. I rubbed it down with a brisket style rub and put it on my smoker that was running at 250F. I let the beef smoke until it hit the stall at 160F. The roast then got wrapped in foil with some Three Little Pigs Spicy Chipotle Bbq Sauce and cooked until it reached an internal temperature of 201F.
Even when the roast reached 201F it wasn’t really probe tender. But at this point the roast had taken up five hours of my time and I was ready to give it a taste test.
I sliced this guy up, spooned over the reserved juices from the foil and dug in. To be honest I was a bit under whelmed.
The roast was Angus Choice and while the beef did have some pretty surface marbling there really wasn’t that much fat or collagen in the cut. The end product tasted like a smoked chuck roast but din’t have that glorious melt in your mouth feel that you get from the melted collagen in a standard chuck roast.
I am sure there are tricks to turn this cut into something outstanding but I won’t be looking for them. This cut cost me over five bucks a pound and I can’t see it ever being as good as the much cheaper options of chuck roast or beef brisket.
Do yourself a favor, if you see this cut at your grocery store take a pass and buy a brisket instead.