Tag Archives: chuck roast


8 of the best slow cooker recipes for beef, chicken, and pork we’ve found

When you’ve got many mouths to feed, what cooking method do you turn to?

If you’re looking to impart big, bold flavors with minimal effort, then a slow cooker should be your go-to cooking device. Cooking meat low and slow breaks down muscle fibers and ensures a fork-tender, melt-in-your-mouth meal.

Often, slow cooking is as simple as throwing all the ingredients in the crockpot and letting it go—an ideal situation when you’ve got to prepare everything else for a crowd. Set up your slow cooker in the morning, and enjoy dinner later— a long cook time and no fuss!

These recipes use cuts of meat ideal for the slow cooker: Think pork butt, beef chuck roast, beef shanks, and more. With so many different flavor profiles and cuts of meat, you’ll never get bored of some of the best slow cooker recipes we’ve found, and neither will your guests.

1.   Chef Yankel’s Smoky Coffee-Rubbed Pulled Pork

Want to serve fork-tender, juicy pulled pork rife with a sweet, spicy flavor? You’ll have to give this smoky coffee-rubbed pulled pork a try. When cooked low and slow in a slow cooker, this pork butt falls apart into melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

The trick is dry rubbing the pork butt the night before with coffee grounds, chipotle powder, smoked paprika, ground ginger, mustard powder, coriander, brown sugar, and salt. Refrigerating the butt overnight lets the flavors set in, while the low and slow cooking method further brings them out.

The best part? Use one ButcherBox pork butt, and this meal will serve six people.

2.   Slow Cooker Chuck Roast

A busy family’s best friend, this slow cooker chuck roast recipe delivers a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meal with minimal effort.

You can throw the chuck roast in the slow cooker in the morning while you’re preparing breakfast and have dinner ready to go by nightfall. This roast requires only a few spices for big flavor, including basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and garlic.

Don’t skip the searing step—that’s where you really lock in flavor. Feel free to beef (pun intended) this roast recipe up with veggies like sweet potatoes and carrots for a complete meal.

3.   Slow Cooker Beef Steak Tips

What are steak tips? Rife with robust, meaty flavor, these one-inch hunks of steak come from cuts of beef like the flank steak, tenderloin tip, and sirloin tip.

They’re lean, and delicious cooked as kebabs or in slow-cooked stews, like this slow cooker beef steak tip recipe. Creamy thanks to a combination of cooking sherry, broth, spices, and tapioca starch, these steak tips come together easily in a slow cooker. In fact, the only step is throwing everything into the slow cooker and, well, cooking. Mushrooms round out the meaty flavor of these steak tips. This is literally one of the easiest slow cooker recipes for beef we’ve found.

4.  Asian Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Mix up your typical pot roast recipe with Asian flavors like soy sauce, garlic, and five spice. This slow cooker Asian pot roast is made with a sizeable chuck roast, promising to feed many mouths.

Potatoes and carrots further beef up the meal. It’s also packed with protein thanks to all that chuck roast, so you and your guests are bound to be satiated. Cooking it for 8 to 9 hours on low ensures a sweet-savory flavor that makes it difficult to put the fork down.


5.   Slow Cooker Creamy Southwest Chicken

Need a meal that tastes rich and decadent but is actually healthy?

This slow cooker creamy southwest chicken recipe is the meal to try. Bold flavors abound with spices like chili powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, garlic, cayenne, and fresh lime juice. Coconut cream (or full-fat coconut milk, whatever you have on hand) makes this dish super creamy and indulgent. Feel free to serve this flavor-packed meal on a bed of veggie noodles, potatoes, or rice.

6.   Slow Cooker Beef Shank Osso Buco With Lemon-Parsley Gremolata

Here’s a meal that will truly impress your guests. Beef shanks make for a more affordable option than veal shanks in this osso buco with lemon-parsley gremolata recipe. (If you don’t have a beef shank, this great slow cooker beef recipe a beef chuck roast, beef stew meat, and even short ribs can serve as a substitute for this cut.)

Braised low and slow in the slow cooker, this fork-tender beef meal is richly flavored with vegetables, white wine, balsamic vinegar, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and cloves. It’s then topped with a lemon-parsley gremolata, which finishes the meal on an irresistibly bright and zesty note.

7.   Fennel and Tomato Italian Pork Shoulder

Pork butt gets rubbed with Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, seared to pack in flavor and build crust, then cooked low and slow in a slow cooker. Add in balsamic vinegar-sautéed fennel and onions, whole peeled tomatoes, and carrots and you’re in for an unbelievable flavor explosion with this fennel and tomato Italian pork shoulder.

8. Crockpot Cajun Pork Butt with Jambalaya Rice

Low and slow, once again, is the preferred cooking method for pork butt in this crockpot Cajun pork butt with jambalaya rice recipe. Cajun spice, paprika and veggies like colorful bell peppers pack in flavor to the jambalaya rice, while a similar seasoning blend flavors the meat.

The pork juices are the ultimate flavor booster, especially when used to plump up the rice.

For more of our favorite recipes from ButcherBox Head Chef Yankel Polak, check out our recipe page and YouTube channel.


beef cuts chuck short ribs

For grilling season — the best beef cuts from the chuck

Winter is slowly receding here in the Northeast, and it seems as if we’ve — finally — come to the end of a period of strange, colder-than-usual weather across the country. The Masters Tournament has come and gone. The selection of foods at farmers markets is more robust. Scarves, beanies, and mittens will soon be packed away.

And, most importantly, grills will reappear. They will be cleaned, repaired, and lit once more as we undertake that yearly rite of spring — cooking outside.

In our opinion, there is nothing that compares to the experience of throwing a scrumptious hunk of grass-fed beef over some hot charcoals or onto a red-hot grill.

But which beef cuts are best for cooking out? One section of the cow that has long been overlooked is the chuck, especially compared to the filet mignons, ribeyes, strip steaks, t-bone steaks, and tri-tips that come from the middle areas that make up the rib, loin, tenderloin,  and sirloin primal cuts.

As our ButcherBox Head Chef Yankel Polak says, “The chuck is a goldmine of great cuts.”

Some of the best cuts of beef to cook outdoors come from the chuck; also, some of our favorite steaks and roasts, in general, are chuck beef cuts.

You already know chuck beef

The “chuck” primal section produces the vast amount of meat that is used from a cow. Most of the meat from this area — the front section from the shoulder blade and down to the leg muscles — lacks fat and has a ton of connective tissue. Therefore, it can result in tough cuts of meat if cooked incorrectly.

Most parts of the chuck close to the ribs are used for various roasts.

Beef chuck roast, for example, is ideal for braising and slow cooking. Other common roast beef cuts from the chuck include pot roast and bone-in chuck roast, also known as the 7 bone chuck roast. These roast sections are fantastic when quickly seared and then put in a slow cooker for a few hours, especially with some complementary seasonings and spices.

These cuts are large and used for braising mainly because it is easy to cut sizeable hunks of beef out of the chuck section, but also because the connective tissue caused by the overuse of the muscles don’t make them as tender and marbled as sirloin steaks and tenderloin steaks.

However, many of the standard — sometimes vaguely labeled — steaks you can get at the supermarket are likely to be steaks cut from the chuck. Like flank steaks or skirt steaks, chuck is also often used as stew meat, kabobs, and sandwich steaks, and as an alternative to more expensive cuts like sirloin tips, tip roast, and ribeye.

You likely cook chuck meat on your grill quite often without realizing it: Chuck meat is one of the primary sources that butchers use to make ground beef. So if you are cooking cheeseburgers for the family this weekend, there is a good chance you’ve got some ground chuck in the burger mix.


New beef cuts from the chuck primal

Because chuck beef has primarily been used for braising roast cuts, cheaper cuts of steak, and ground beef in the past, some steak lovers believe that you can’t find quality steaks in this front section of the cow.

However, over the past few decades, the beef industry has innovated and uncovered tasty, tender steaks in the chuck section that were previously unknown, difficult to access, or more prevalently used in unique ways in other cultures.

For instance, as part of the Beef Checkoff Program, meat science researchers at the University of Florida and the University of Nebraska identified new and potentially more affordable tender cuts of meat. The project led to the discovery of little-used or unknown cuts, like the Denver steak.

The Denver steak — which does not officially have anything to do with the Mile High City — comes from the chuck flap, an area of the chuck under blade that is full of tough, connective tissue. This steak is delicious as long as it is cooked correctly and, as we’ve said again and again with these types of cuts, must be cut against the grain once cooked.

The beef industry research project also led to the discovery of the flat iron steak, which is a challenging cut to find from the top section of the chuck shoulder. Flat iron steak is a perfect grilling steak; it is tender and tasty when cooked on an open fire. However, it can easily become tough if overcooked. Similar to many other cuts with lots of connective tissue — like the Denver steak — it should also be sliced against the grain.

The Denver steak and flat iron steak aren’t the only great grilling cuts that come from the chuck. Additionally, the chuck eye steak comes from an area of the chuck that is part of the longissimus dorsi muscle, the same place where the ribeye steak is derived. There is some confusion about whether or not a chuck eye is also a Delmonico steak, but that is a subject for another day.

The most delicious of all the chuck cuts might be a surprise

Although it sounds like it should come entirely from the ribs primal, the best short ribs come from the chuck. The first few ribs of a cow — usually the second through fifth ribs — are where the serratus ventralis muscle is thickest. This area is in the chuck primal section. The meat in this section is often tough, which is why short ribs are best cooked over a long period of time with a good marinade or rub.

Culturally, short ribs have been prominent in East Asian and Middle Eastern cooking traditions. However, they have emerged more recently as a delectable treat in the U.S. and can be cooked in a number of ways.

Chef Yankel describes short ribs as “the kings of the braising cuts.” We love slow cooking them bone-in with a sweet marinade.

“Short ribs are packed with healthy fats and collagen,” Chef Yankel added. “Nothing compares for texture and flavor.”

Many of the chuck cuts mentioned above are featured in our monthly grass-fed beef ButcherBox — if you are a member, you’ve likely experienced some of these steaks and roasts. If you want some more on our favorite cooking methods and recipes for the different cuts of chuck mentioned, check out our recipe page or YouTube channel.

If you aren’t a member and would like to become a ButcherBox member with delicious, thoughtfully-raised grass-fed beef delivered to your door each month, click here.

braised beef braising meat

How to braise beef and why it’s one of the best cooking methods

Whenever I come across braised short ribs on a restaurant menu, I have a hard time passing up the delectable dish. Just thinking about it, I can taste the melt-in-your-mouth, flavorful meat. In all my short rib adventures, I’ve never stopped to wonder how chefs create such divine creations.

The secret, I discovered comes down to braising.

A cooking method mixing high dry heat, low moist heat, and time

Braising is a two-step cooking method that uses both high-heat for a short period and low-heat for a longer period of time. First, it involves browning meat in olive oil, butter, ghee, or some other fat — on high heat — usually by sauteing in a pan. Second, the meat is cooked in a covered dish, in the juices left from the browning and often also with an added liquid such as stock, water, etc.

The second, slow-cooking step is done in a tightly covered pot, like a dutch oven, or, often, in a slow-cooker. This process is also sometimes referred to as “pot roasting.”

Slow-cooking — and, well, the use of a slow-cooker or Crock Pot — helps to add flavor and tenderizes tougher cuts of beef and other meats.

According to The Kitchen Encyclopedia, published in 1911, “Braising is a method much used in France, and is a cross between boiling and baking.” The word itself derives from the French word brasier, which is a form of braise, meaning “live coals.” A brasier or brazier, in French and English, is also another name for a receptacle to burn coal or charcoal. Dutch ovens can also be called brasiers. The origin of the term braising seems to come from a French word for a method using both dry heat and moist heat.

Why braise?

Braising can be done with any meat but is most often done with tough cuts of meat, because tender cuts usually don’t need additional tenderizing or flavor.

Cuts that traditionally have less flavor — say a chuck roast, shoulder steak, chuck pot roast, pork butt, or beef chuck arm — are the best cuts to use and may need richer braising liquids. The best way to add great flavor is with beef broth or chicken stock, as well as spices like rosemary, bay leaves, and other fresh herbs. Moreover, braising done in the style of a pot roast can include aromatic vegetables — carrots, onions, and more — for additional flavor.

How to braise meat

The first step of braising takes about ten minutes, but achieving truly fall-apart-tender meat takes many hours of cooking time. Our in-house ButcherBox Chef Yankel Polak recommends seasoning the meat with salt and black pepper, then searing your meat until you get a nice brown crust. When cooking pork, he likes to use apple cider as a braising liquid that can also help scraping the browned bits of meat left from searing. Chef Yankel also recommends adding tomato paste to your braising liquid for texture and taste. For added flavor and simplicity, he also advises using the same pot to sear and cook, covering the dish after the flavorful liquid and browned meat have simmered.

A long, slow cook is crucial for breaking down the proteins and tenderizing the meat. You’ll need to cook for at least an hour and a half to two hours (depending on the size of your cut of meat) in the oven set to 300 degrees. Cooking on low heat allows the meat to cook slowly as the braising liquid evaporates. It is this process that makes dishes like pulled pork, carnitas, and roasts fork-tender.

Whether cooking pork in the slow cooker or keeping a watchful eye on a roast spending a day in a Dutch oven, meat braising in its juices and spiced-up flavor can turn a simple cut of beef or pork into a truly amazing dish.

You can find some of Chef Yankel’s favorite recipes to braise beef, chicken, or pork here, or watch the video below for more braising techniques.

If you want more from Chef Yankel, check out his recommendations for the best red wine to pair with braised beef and other dishes. 

Our monthly ButcherBox comes often comes with cuts like pork butt and grass-fed beef roasts that are perfect for braising. You can also get these cuts in a custom ButcherBox. If you’re not a member already, you can sign up here.