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Chuck is my go-to budget steak because when cooked at 131°F (55°C) for 24 to 48 hours it comes out almost like a ribeye. At 150°F (65°C) it turns into the perfect pot roast, and if you want a more traditional braise-like pot roast you can cook it at one of the braise-like temperatures for a day or so.
Chuck roast is one of my favorite cuts of beef, especially when using sous vide. It is super flavorful and really, really versatile. It's also inexpensive and easy to find, making it a great option for roasts or steaks!
When cooking a chuck roast you have two main options, either make it tender like a great steak or cook it at a higher temperature to approach a more traditional braise-like texture.
This is why sous vide chuck roast temperatures and times can be all over the place, because it really depends on what you want your final dish to be. Do you want a juicy steak? How about a succulent pot roast? Or maybe shredded beef? You can do any of those with a chuck roast, but they all take different times and temperatures!
People always ask what the best sous vide chuck roast temperature is, and the only honest answer is "it depends". As mentioned above, there are multiple dishes that you can create with chuck roast, so a lot of it comes down to what you are looking for.
If you want a good steak-like texture, then you usually will want to cook it at medium-rare to medium temperatures. This is usually 130°F to 140°F (55°C to 60°C). If you prefer a rare steak, then you probably want to look for another cut, because chuck roast needs to cook for at least 24 hours, and sometimes up to 48 hours, which isn't safe at rare temperatures.
If you are looking for a more well-done or lightly braised pot roast temprature, then I will usually go with 150°F (65°C). This results in a well-done, but still surprisingly juicy piece of meat. Instead of viewing it as a "ruined steak" as many people do, I view it as a "perfect pot roast".
If you are looking for a shreddable, really fall-apart texture, then you can bump the temperature up even higher. Starting at 156°F (69°C) it'll start to break down much more. I'll go as high as 176°F (80°C) if I want it to really just fall apart, with 165°F (74°C) being a nice mid-point.
Much like the temperature, the length of time will depend on your final dish. The longer you cook it, and the higher the temperature, the more it will tenderize and break down.
I love ribeye steaks but they are so expensive I tend to only have them as a special treat. Luckily for me, if you sous vide a chuck steak at a standard steak-like temperature for a few days it comes out tasting almost as good as a sous vide ribeye, at only about a third of the cost.
In order to tenderize the chuck steak enough for it to be enjoyable you need to cook it for at least a day, and sometimes up to three days. I tend to do 36 hours but it will depend on the quality of steak you use. I prefer 131°F (55°C) but you can do as high as 150°F (65°C) depending on how well-done you like your steak.
There will still be some fat you need to cut off, but usually not too much. I prefer to lightly salt the chuck steak before sous viding it but some people prefer to sous vide it unsalted.
If you want something along the lines of a more traditional pot roast-type meat you can increase the temperature. It's a wonderful cut of meat with lots of fat to render leaving a flaky, moist meat behind.
Depending on the texture you are striving for, there are many different time and temperature combinations you can select to simulate a traditional-style roast. I usually cook it at 176°F (80°C) for 12 to 18 hours for a very braise-like texture or 156°F (73.9°C) for 18 to 24 hours, for a firmer, but still flaky texture.
Once the sous vide chuck roast is tender, I will usually let it cool before searing it. And for the best sear, I'll use step chilling and then reheat it during the searing process. Or you can give it a bump to 100°F (37°C) before searing up to the final temperature.
This works best when searing with a cast iron pan or a grill.
You can also use a sous vide torch to sear the meat when it is done. This won't raise the temperature any, so it can easily be done fresh out of the bag.
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Do you have experience cooking chuck roast? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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