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Dressing up a bland chuck steak?

Hey y'all, I have questions about an already-cooked piece of meat. Last night I braised a pound of chuck steak. I am new to meat-eating, and I braised a chuck a few weeks ago that was good, but I had used a strong marinade and I wasn't sure what the meat itself tasted like underneath that. So last night I braised a chuck steak as plainly as possible.

Here's what I did:

Cut the steak into three smaller pieces (the bone had been removed so it was already kind of coming apart.) I patted them dry, then coated them with a mixture of garlic powder and onion powder. Then I went over them with the Jaccard. My hope was that the Jaccard would push some of the spices into the meat.

I coated each piece in white whole wheat flour, and then browned them in a saucier, in some beef fat. I had to use a lot more fat than I had expected, the flour soaked up a lot.

Ok, so once they were browned, I removed them from the pan, and deglazed with chicken stock. I added salt and pepper, brought that to a boil, and then put the meat back in and set the whole thing into a 300' oven for three hours. I checked the meat at one and two hours but it was still tough at those times.

At the end, I had something that tasted a lot like the meat my great-grandmother used to make. The flour and broth and meat fat/juices had made a gravy in the pan, and the texture was silky and tender. BUT, the flavor was kind of bland. I mean, the meat tastes good, I am just looking for a little more flavor intensity.

How can I dress this up now to give it some more kick and flavor? Ketchup? Soy sauce? Thoughts?

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  1. I would use your now-tender meat in a beef vegetable soup. Happy to provide a recipe if you like.

    Otherwise, maybe make a mushroom sauce?

    Edit: you also have a good start for pot roast. Do you have potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery?

    1. I think you should have used salt initially on the beef before braising. If it isn't cooked in, it will never be right. Maybe by mincing it finely and using it in soup or stew, along with beef stock, you might salvage it.

      1. Make a "faux" pulled pork sandwich.

        Top with some slaw, a good slather of BBQ sauce, and you're good to go.

        1 Reply
        1. You didn't use any aromatics??, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf, tyme.

          2 Replies
          1. re: treb

            No, because I wanted, this time, to know how the meat itself tasted and I didn't want to overpower it. It might sound strange, but I love to cook, and knowing how something tastes "plain" is a good way to know how you want to cook it in the future (for example, next time I braise chuck I will add a splash of red wine.)

            1. re: reptilegrrl

              So you do like the taste of your grandmothers cooking!

          2. Folks, notice that reptilegrrl didn't use any salt on the meat. Important - more so than everything else.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sandylc

              Question: with salting the meat directly, wouldn't it end up damp on the outside, and more difficult to brown? I am totally new at cooking meat, so I welcome your suggestions.

              1. re: reptilegrrl

                There are many many theories regarding the timing of salting. But regarding "salting the meat directly" - YES you MUST do this or your meat risks being tasteless.

                1. re: sandylc

                  I agree 100%. Must salt the meat directly before cooking. Dry the meat before you salt it. If you let it sit for any t ime before browning, dry it again and maybe a little more salt.....I salt my whole chickens before simmering them in water for a stock. The meat is much tastier. I have found that if you wait to salt until after you cook, you have to add a lot more salt to even get close to the flavor you get if you salt before. And it is never quite as good.

            2. Last week, I made braised round steak (Swiss Steak). I did use other aromatics and rich beef broth and wine for braising. It was still boring. I was left alone in the kitchen while my co-cook took a long phone call. Irritated about the long call while we were cooking, and suspecting that I had a good idea, I pulled the anchovies. After a quick consultation with Chowhound cooks, I threw some in to the sauce. They dissolve, but add a richness that has been called "umami" and is not really identifiable unless you overdo it. Try anchovies next time.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Willa

                I love anchovies! I actually have some open in the fridge, I will add one or two to see how they go. Thanks!

                1. re: reptilegrrl

                  Adding some Worcestershire goes a long way with beef braises as well...

              2. just my opinion, but when you braise meat, you devoid it of any flavor and it only becomes a texture result, as the beef becomes drier from being cooked in the hotter heat of the braising liquid....the only thing you will taste is the sauce you create. To taste the beef, I suggest you grill it as a steak or slow roast it as a roast beef.....This of course is only if you like your meat cooked Medium or under.

                1 Reply
                1. re: fourunder

                  Your view certainly was the case with my braised round steak, delicious anchovy flavored sauce notwithstanding. The meat was dry and I won't make it again. I think, though, that it was partly because there wasn't much fat in that cut. It was just a lean, tough cut of meat. I love braised pork shoulder or veal shanks. Some meat seems to work better than others and still have flavor.