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Dec 7, 2012 10:38 AM

Cross Rib/Shoulder Roast...vs....Chuck Roast/Blade Roast Challenge , Roasted Low and Slow @ 210* With Pictures

This past week, the supermarket I frequent most had a sale on beef. Whenever this happens, I always pick up a few Chuck Roasts to have on hand….but this time, I also picked up a Shoulder Roast as well. The sale price for both was only $2.57 per pound…the average price was less than $8 per roast…very reasonable and quite a bargain…especially when you consider I plan to experiment with the beef to see if I will like the final results….or find it was a failure and end up feeding it to my Sister-in-Law’s two dogs…..truth be told, they always get some anyway.

Recently, there has been some interest in finding ways to prepare cuts of beef that I was generally not familiar with, particularly a *Cross Rib Roast*. After doing some research, I have found that this is a cut from the Chuck Section or Shoulder portion of the carcass. The *Cross Rib Roast* is a term more common in the West Coast of the USA… Canada it is known as the *Boneless Cross Rib Roast*……..however in many other regions the Alternative Names are : Chuck Shoulder Roast, Boneless Chuck Pot Roast, Arm Pot Roast, Shoulder Clod Roast, English Roll and Shoulder Clod. In my area of New Jersey, it is known simply as a *Shoulder Roast*.

The strange thing about both the Cross Rib Roast and the Chuck Roast…is that they are both believed to be best suited for a braise, as in for a Pot Roast Recipe….but I have found that the Chuck Roast makes for a very nice and flavorful beef roast when dry roasted low and slow to Medium-Rare temperature.. Granted it’s not the most tender option and a few of the muscles are jaw challenging…but with a low and slow roasting, it becomes tender, and for myself, quite enjoyable.

Since the beef was on sale, I thought this would be a good time to find out if the Cross Rib Roast was any good…and how it compared to a Chuck Roast/Blade Roast…roasted low and slow…given the sale price was the same for both.

The preparation and process was simple. I took both cuts of beef and Jaccard Meat Tenderized them. I seasoned both with only Kosher Salt 24 hours in advance of roasting. The following steps details the process:

Seasoned Simply With Kosher Salt For 24 Hours
Removed both roasts from the refrigerator two hours prior to roasting.
Seared both roasts
Both roasts placed atop a grill grate over a sheet pan
Preheated the oven to 450*
Placed the two roasts into the oven and dropped the temperature to 210*
Rotated and Flipped both roasts halfway at 90 minutes.
Pulled the Chuck Roast @ the 3 hour mark, 130 degrees
Pulled the Shoulder/Cross Rib Roast @ 3.5 hours and 135*
Allowed both roasts to rest covered, and or, for 60 minutes @ 140* in the oven
Sliced the beef
You can see the results in the pictures.
Zero bleeding.
Tender Beef

Points to note:

Hands down, the Cross Rib Roast was much more tender than the Chuck Roast…however, the beef flavor was not as pronounced. Given the results, the Shoulder Roast can be a nice alternative, but I still prefer the Chuck Roast, as it offers much more beef flavor. The Cross Rib /Shoulder is more elegant than the Chuck Roast in slicing presentation, but the lack of flavor submits to the little fight and chew the Chuck Roast has for me to prefer it over the Cross Rib Roast in the end. I can see why the Cross Rob/Shoulder is a favorite of many Barbecue enthusiasts. Tender beef with added Smoke flavor.

For the record, I would not braise the Cross Rib Roast Shoulder Roast for pot roast…. The first thing I noticed was how meaty and lean the Cross Rib was compared to the Chuck Roast. I tried a slice of the Chuck first and it was very flavorful but the meat was kind of stringy and had some chew. The Cross Rib Roast was much more tender. The meat is a finer textured than the chuck, In general, I have found whenever roasting beef, the optimal resting time is two hours. Initially, I sliced both beef roasts after a 60 minute resting period. Both roasts were great…..but I gave the overall nod to the Shoulder/Cross Rob Roast for tenderness, The Chuck Roast for flavor. Surprisingly before putting the Cross Rib Roast away…after 2.5 hours covered by a stainless steel bowl. The beef was even more tender and enjoyable. The longer resting period is key for superior results.

My two mandates for roasting any beef:

Roast low and slow

Rest meat for a minimum of two hours

Enjoy the pictures…

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  1. Fantastic info! Nice pix.

    I have never salted 24 hours in advance. Can you talk a bit about this? I have always heard 1 hour, max.

    I have never rested in the oven. I will have to try this. I have done the FTC that many smokers do (after smoking a roast -- pork or beef -- wrap in foil, then the foil in a towel and put that in a small cooler for a couple of hours).

    5 Replies
    1. re: travelerjjm

      I am not qualified to give any scientific reasons for the 24 hour seasoning....other than to say it seasons the beef and I suspect it draws out some moisture to concentrate the beef flavor.....possibly tenderizing a little bit as well..

      For Standing Rib Roasts, I actually salt 48 hours in advance.....Seasoning all areas from the top, pulling apart the deckle or fat cap to season the eye, and partially removing the bones to season the bottom of the eye and the ribs...before tying the roast back up.

      As for the one hour rule....I suspect that would be for a steak., not a roast.

      1. re: fourunder

        Interesting. Thanks. I will try it. I generally dry-age standing rip roasts, but I don't salt.

        1. re: travelerjjm

          With regards to the 24 hour salting of beef....Cooks Illustrated/ America's Test Kitchen, researched and experimented with Eye Round. Many feel the salt aids in tenderizing the may want to research the original story and they may be able to provide more specifics on the salting process and it's effects on the meat.

          1. re: fourunder

            U P D A T E D ! ! !

            F Y I..........PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT! ! !



            My most recent Chuck Roast was made following the usual low and slow method as outlined here.....but the outcome was far from perfect and basically inedible....either a poor piece of meat....or just a poor pick for expecting a tender and flavorful roast....I suspect the latter, as the meat was super tough roasted to 135*.....and given the the connective tissue and collagen doesn't melt under 140*.

            Although the pictures look fine....the meat was not chewable.

            My conclusion is you need to select meat without the heavy white collagen...not to be confused with the marbling you see in Strip Steaks and Rib Eyes. In the last two pictures, for a Medium-Rare/Medium target roast, you need to select a leaner piece of meat like thE last picture of pink meat, not the darker red one....which would be more suitable for an actual braised pot roast or roast beef cooked past medium temperature.

      2. re: travelerjjm

        A larger cut benefits from a loner time with salt simply because it takes longer for the salt to pull the juices out of the meat, mix with the juices, and reabsorb into the meat.

        This process can happen in an hour with a steak, but takes considerably longer with bigger cuts.

      3. I get so excited when I see one of these posts of yours, fourunder! I am sorry if you said and I did not see it, but which one is the rounder one and which the flatter one? Both look gorgeous...

        1 Reply
        1. re: GretchenS

          I'm thankful and glad you like both my style and is greatly appreciated.

          The flat roast is the Chuck Roast.

          The round shape roast is the Cross Rib.. The meat was sliced on the bias at 45* angle, not at a 90* angle to the side edges

          The Chuck weighed 2.75 pounds and the Cross Rib weighed 3.15 pounds.

        2. Another huge contribution to the Site, Professor. Thanks. As usual, I look forward to taking your learning and applying it to my cooks - most likely on the offset.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MGZ

            As are too kind.

          2. Great info! Thanks! Funny, I have always considered both of these cuts to need braising until totally done throughout. It is good to see that they can be rosy and still chewable.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sandylc

              Here's a similar thread I posted for the Chuck Roast Specifically. You can see the different results in pictures for varying finished temperatures. Well done beef is not my thing..


            2. Fantastic tutorial highlighting the differences between these two roasts. You sure know how to roast a hunk of meat. Great job!

              1 Reply