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Mar 5, 2013 08:40 AM

Eye of the round vs chuck for beef stew?

My local store has eye of the round on sale for 3.99 a lb and chuck for 4.99 a lb. I figured I would buy a few roasts, trim off all the fat and cut them myself into stew pieces. This weekend I will be cooking 2 brunches and 2 dinners for 24 people. So price does matter but does not matter so much that I want an inferior stew.

Which would you buy? And do you think I can trust the butcher to cut it or is it safer for me to cut it at home?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. With regards to Eye of Round.....don't do it...there's always a better option for any recipe. For the extra dollars, go with the Chuck. Even bottom round is better the eye round.

    3 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      Thanks fourunder. It's what I thought :(. Do you think I can trust the butch at a local grocery store to cut the 10 to 12 lbs of chuck or is safer to do myself.

      1. re: MsBees

        In general, I think you could answer your own question based on if you make your purchases at the market as your preferred place...for the quality of the meat and the precision of their cuts. I tend to believe most butchers would have some pride in their craft, so the simple answer would be yes, however, in reality that is not always the case. In my area of New Jersey I am perfectly comfortable making my meat purchases at ShopRite, but not so much with Pathmark stores. I suggest first, you look in the meat case and look at the stew meat specifically to see if the chunks or slices are consistent in quality. If not, then you may have found your answer, but in the butcher's defense, often the stew meat is packaged scraps. I believe if you were going to make a special(large) order and request the butcher to adhere to your specific specifications, e.g.. one inch cubes.....he should be perfectly capable of handling and honoring that request.

        My experience is the butchers are happy when they can show off their skills. i would suggest to ensure your satisfaction, give him a couple of dollars to buy a cup of coffee on his break. That always works for me when I request large thick steaks, Chuck Roasts and Pork Belly cuts....and the couple of bucks is worth the special treatment and lack of blisters from cutting the meat

        Another good way to test the pride of the meat cutter is to see if the steaks, or chuck roasts are evenly cut to thickness. When it comes to butchering, nothing annoys me more than a haphazardly cut piece of meat.

        1. re: fourunder

          same here, i gave a pack of steaks back to the butcher. they were chopped up and jammed into a small tray.

    2. I've always preferred chuck for stew, eye of round for a cheap roast (seared, cooked rare and sliced thinly). Not enough connective tissue in eye of round to make a good stew IMO.

      1. The only thing I've ever used Eye of Round for is Beef Tartare. It's way too lean and dry for making a good stew. Stick with Chuck, or even better short ribs/oxtails/beef shanks.

        1. Chuck roast. All the way. And the price is usually better if you buy the roast and cut it up yourself.

          1. I worked my way through college in a butcher shop. Traditionally, round was considered a better meat than chuck and cost more (i.e., a rump, sirloin tip. or tri-tip were all cut out of round and cost more than a pot roast, which was cut out of chuck). Eye-of-round was considered a step up still, and cost a little more, because it was leaner and suitable for quicker cooking -- that is, closer to what we would call a steak (strip, rib-eye, etc.). Eye-of-round is too lean for stew, in my opinion, but round isn't, particularly the way stuff is trimmed today. If you take a chuck roast and cut it up for stew meat, you'll probably throw away a lot of fat. I'd look at round, and if you fear the round is too lean, do a mix of round and chuck.
            I would love to know when and why chuck started costing more than round. Again, traditionally, meat suitable for quick cooking and minimal seasoning that more stood on its own (again, think strips, ribeye, etc) was considered better. Anything you had to throw in a pot and cook with a bunch of other stuff, or marinate, or cover with BBQ sauce, etc. would have been deemed inferior. Thus, that eye-of-round is best "seared, cooked rare and sliced thinly" would typically be indicia that it is a better piece of meat. I have no idea, save clever marketing, why chuck is not the cheapest beef, outside of trim for grind.

            1 Reply