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With the powers of sous vide, you can turn the toughest cuts to the most tender.

Chuck, known to be tough, is usually ground up or unwanted, making it a cheaper cut of beer. Thanks to the power of sous vide, you can transform even the toughest cut to the most tender. Our friends at ChefSteps wrote in this week with this recipe for what could be the most affordable party feast. As with any holiday meal, this recipe is a little more hands-on. A bit of trussing, toasting herbs, pre-searing and finishing in the oven is involved, but it’ll be well worth it. Hey, you could also use the money you didn’t spend on a prime rib on a nice bottle of vino to pair!

Flavor-Packed, Feast-Worthy Chuck Roast

18 hours, mostly inactive; serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • Beef chuck roast, about 6-8 pounds
  • Cooking oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Black pepper, as needed
  • Rosemary, about 3 sprigs, as needed
  • Garlic, crushed, about 5 cloves, as needed
  • 30 grams herbs, fresh, such as thyme or rosemary
  • 15 grams black peppercorns, whole
  • 40 grams salt, Maldon flake, or other coarse salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 liter stock, beef, about 1 pint

Equipment

  • Butcher’s twine
  • Sous vide
  • Sous vide bags
  • High-quality plastic wrap
  • Whisk
  • Brush
  • Thermocouple thermometer (optional)
  • Fine-mesh sieve (optional)

Directions

  1. Using a sharp knife, remove all of the tough stuff from your roast. If you end up separating parts of the roast while trimming, worry not. Just arrange pieces together to form a roast shape, and truss together. In any case, trussing will help your meat maintain a nice shape as it cooks, ensuring a gorgeous presentation. Start by cutting about 6–8 evenly sized pieces of twine that are long enough to wrap around your roast. Position these below the roast at even intervals. Starting in the middle, tie the strings around your roast as demonstrated in the video above.
  2. Heat your Joule or sous vide according to how done you’d like your beef:
    Medium-rare and real rosy: 129 °F / 54 °C
    Still rocking some rosy hues: 133 °F / 56 °C
    Medium: 136 °F / 58 °C
    Medium-well: 144 °F / 62 °C
    Well-done, if you must: 162 °F / 72 °C
  3. Presear the roast to build flavor. Heat a heavy pan over medium-high heat, and add oil. Season your roast with salt and pepper. Once the pan is surface-of-the-sun hot, add the roast and sear on each side for roughly two minutes per side—enough to get a good crust going.
  4. Remove the meat and add garlic and some rosemary to the hot pan to toast them and release flavors. Allow your meat, herbs, and aromatics to cool for a few minutes.
  5. Transfer meat, herbs, and garlic to the bag.
  6. Pop the bagged roast into a pot with Joule, and cover with plastic wrap or another tight-fitting lid to avoid water evaporation.
  7. Let that roast do its thing for 18 hours while you go deck the halls with boughs of holly. If you get caught up in the merrymaking, no big deal—after an extra 6 hours, your roast will come out the same, and leaving it in for up to 48 hours will make it even more tender.
  8. Start making the herb rub about an hour or so before you are ready to finish the meat. Pick rosemary and thyme, chop finely, and set aside. Grind your peppercorns. The finer you grind, the spicier your roast will taste, because more pepper will stick to the meat. Combine herbs and ground peppercorns with salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  9. With a whisk, beat egg whites to create a velvety foam. It’s important to create a uniform texture because it will make the eggs much easier to work with later on.
  10. Remove roast from the bag and transfer to an oven-safe platter or baking tray. (Don’t discard juices and other goodies from the bag; we’re gonna make sauce with those.) Use a brush to coat the meat with the egg wash—this will help your herb rub stick. With your fingers, sprinkle on rub until you have an even crust.
  11. Heat a pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, pour in the juices, garlic, and rosemary from the bag, and reduce until almost no liquid remains. Once the garlic and herbs start browning, add beef stock and let the whole thing simmer until the thickness is to your liking. Strain, and feel free to add extra herb rub or seasonings of your choice. Then remove the sauce from heat and set aside for serving.
  12. Heat the oven to 475 °F / 250 °C (with convection on if you have it). Roast that good-looking chuck for about 10–15 minutes to create a good crust. Ovens vary, so keep an eye on the meat—if you have a thermocouple probe, stick it about a half-inch below the roast’s surface to monitor the temp.
  13. When the roast is all ready, remove it from the oven. Use a carving knife to slice thinly.
  14. Drench with delicious, beefy sauce, and serve to your super-lucky guests.

ChefSteps comprises a team of award-winning chefs, filmmakers, scientists, designers and engineers focused on revolutionizing the way people cook by inspiring creativity and encouraging expertise in the kitchen. You can also get access to all of ChefSteps’ Premium content — including paid classes and dozens of recipes available only to Premium members for a onetime fee of $39. Classes include Sous Vide: Beyond the BasicsFluid GelsFrench Macarons and more!