Sous Vide Chuck Roast

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This has been my most frequently used protein for sous vide since I got my Sous Vide Supreme, and the reasoning is quite simple. Chuck is cheap, flavorful, marbled, and did I mention cheap? You can turn a $2.99/lb cut of meat into something that you would mistake for prime rib, for a tiny fraction of the cost, and you can do it EASILY!

Just bag with salt, pepper, and whatever MILD seasoning you want (everything intensifies over 48+hours) and wait for the metamorphosis. I like to use some smoked salt, and just a scant 1/8tsp dried thyme and garlic powder. You will of course debag, dry well, and blast on a hot cast iron pan with a blow torch to finalize the crusty details, right?

Braised chuck is great, but medium (140/48hr) or medium rare (130/72hr) is a whole new experience. Try it with eggs, over salad, with mashed potatoes, or my favorite: a French Dip Sandwich.

Now as for which cooking time and temp is better, I would have to say that for just eating straight up with au jus, I prefer the medium rare version. It is luscious and decadent. But for general use, and actually for sandwiches too, I could not tell the difference. This sandwich was done with the 48hour version, and boy was it good.

Which brings me to another point. The jus. You will get a whole lot of accumulated meat juice in the bag over 48+ hours. DON’T WASTE IT! Oh the things you can do with that. Try adding some water and soy sauce to taste, boiling, skimming the protein scum that collects, and using as a basic jus.

You can also get a little fancier, mix the bag juice with some red wine reduction and butter, and use as you see fit. You can even reduce it all the way down to make a super concentrated demi-glace of sorts. Just don’t throw it away. If you are really lazy, just slice the meat and put that liquid all over the slices.

140degrees - decidedly "medium"

One last point I will make is how you butcher the roast. These things are usually pretty big. You want to find one that is as well marbled as possible. But moreover, you want to find one that has a fair amount of meat to either side of the central fatty rift. That rift, and all the other hard fat bits, makes the best burgers ever.

I love fat more than most people. And that hard thick fat does turn very nice and soft after 48+ hours. But the marbling is really what gives the meat its flavor, and I find I appreciate that mass of fat more when its oozing out of a ground burger than when dominating 20% of a slice of meat. Plus H won’t go near it.

So, as you can see in the pic below, I trim the fattiest bits for burgers, and save the nicely marbled stuff for sous vide or braising. It is a win/win that uses the whole roast in the best possible ways. Good luck!

8 comments to Sous Vide Chuck Roast

  • [...] is so amazing. From incredible burgers to sous vide chuck roast, sandwiches, and beyond, it is just a lovely protein to work with – if you know what you’re doing. I finished [...]

  • Mike

    Damn your food looks good! Good job on everything that I’ve seen here! It seriously got me looking into sous vide more.

    • Rob

      Thanks for stopping by Mike! Try the “beer cooler sous vide” method from seriouseats.com if you want to give it a shot on some burgers for next to no investment. Be warned though, once you do that, you may be hooked, and need to buy a unit to experience chuck (this happened to me :) ). Good luck!

  • I’d like some help w/ the au jus – after my sous vide chuck was done, I had lots of beautiful jus. When I boiled the juices (without first straining them) they congealed/coagulated and what was left was a really watery, tasteless broth. I ended up pouring it all over the dog’s food because it seemed worthless – what did I do wrong? I don’t want to waste the next batch.
    Thanks, J.McFerran

    • Rob

      Hey Jennifer – the jus definitely needs to be seasoned if you didn’t bag your roast with any salt or soy sauce. The true beauty of the jus is not in its flavor, but in it’s body. It should be teeming with collagen and give a really smooth, rich and thick mouth-feel. I boil it, strain the protein scum, then add some soy sauce and black pepper to taste, which really kicks up the subtle flavor that it does have while retaining a lot of that body. Let me know how it goes!

  • Nick

    How do you hold at 130/72 hours while still satisfying the food safety people? Danger zone and all?

    • Rob

      According to what I’ve read, anything at 130 past 4 hours is safe. Whereas a higher temp can kill bacteria quicker, it just takes longer at 130..but it still gets it done.

  • KenOC

    Just finished eating this — 48 hrs at 138. Wow! Cooked it fat and all. Added some beef stock, some soy sauce, and pepper to the sauce. Served it with the sauce and horseradish sauce, just like prime rib. Fabulous, wonderful texture and taste. Tomorrow, French dip sandwiches!

    Many thanks for posting this. BTW I’m using a rice cooker and a cheap controller, no need at all for fancy stuff.

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