Your Guide to Beef Cuts: Shoulder

Your Guide to Beef Cuts: Shoulder

If you love that rich, beefy flavor, meat from the shoulder—also known as the chuck—is a great way to go. Shoulder cuts are budget-friendly, making them ideal for everyday family meals.

Shoulder cuts include:

  • Top Blade – A tender cut, often labeled flat iron steak or blade steak. When gristly parts are removed before packaging, these steaks are great for the grill.
  • Shoulder Center – This part of the shoulder is divided into roasts and steaks. Shoulder roast should be cooked low and slow so it doesn’t dry out. Steak cuts might be labeled as shoulder steaks, arm steaks or ranch steaks and benefit from marinating before grilling for better flavor and tenderizing. This cut is also packaged after being mechanically tenderized and sold as cube steak or Swiss steak, or sliced and packaged as meat for fajitas or stir-fry.

When choosing shoulder cuts, as with all beef cuts, look for meat that is bright red in color (note that some shoulder cuts are naturally a paler red than others). The meat should be firm and cold to the touch with nice marbling for great flavor. The amount of meat you’ll want to buy will vary greatly based on the recipe you’re following, the number of people you’re serving, and how many side dishes will accompany the meat. Ask at the Meat counter for guidance. A good rule of thumb is 1⁄2 lb. per person.

Cooking times for shoulder cuts will vary depending on the recipe, but the internal temperatures listed below should be helpful. Use a meat thermometer (preferably digital) to check meat for your preferred doneness:

  • 145°F - Medium-rare
  • 160°F - Medium
  • 175°F - Well-done

Shoulder cuts are so versatile that we encourage you to try them out as roasts or steaks, or in stews and dishes like barbacoa, beef burgundy, soups and stir-fry. The possibilities are almost endless; there’s something for everyone, for every day of the week, and for every budget.

Ready to test your knowledge and skills? Check out one of our favorite braised beef recipes below and shop the ingredients to get started!

Your Guide to Beef Cuts: Shoulder

Your Guide to Beef Cuts: Shoulder

If you love that rich, beefy flavor, meat from the shoulder—also known as the chuck—is a great way to go. Shoulder cuts are budget-friendly, making them ideal for everyday family meals.

Shoulder cuts include:

  • Top Blade – A tender cut, often labeled flat iron steak or blade steak. When gristly parts are removed before packaging, these steaks are great for the grill.
  • Shoulder Center – This part of the shoulder is divided into roasts and steaks. Shoulder roast should be cooked low and slow so it doesn’t dry out. Steak cuts might be labeled as shoulder steaks, arm steaks or ranch steaks and benefit from marinating before grilling for better flavor and tenderizing. This cut is also packaged after being mechanically tenderized and sold as cube steak or Swiss steak, or sliced and packaged as meat for fajitas or stir-fry.

When choosing shoulder cuts, as with all beef cuts, look for meat that is bright red in color (note that some shoulder cuts are naturally a paler red than others). The meat should be firm and cold to the touch with nice marbling for great flavor. The amount of meat you’ll want to buy will vary greatly based on the recipe you’re following, the number of people you’re serving, and how many side dishes will accompany the meat. Ask at the Meat counter for guidance. A good rule of thumb is 1⁄2 lb. per person.

Cooking times for shoulder cuts will vary depending on the recipe, but the internal temperatures listed below should be helpful. Use a meat thermometer (preferably digital) to check meat for your preferred doneness:

  • 145°F - Medium-rare
  • 160°F - Medium
  • 175°F - Well-done

Shoulder cuts are so versatile that we encourage you to try them out as roasts or steaks, or in stews and dishes like barbacoa, beef burgundy, soups and stir-fry. The possibilities are almost endless; there’s something for everyone, for every day of the week, and for every budget.

Ready to test your knowledge and skills? Check out one of our favorite braised beef recipes below and shop the ingredients to get started!

Brasato al Barolo (Braised Beef)

Barolo is an iconic red wine from Italy that is used to help create a flavorful sauce used in this deliciously mouthwatering beef dish.
BeefShoulderRecipe_Crop

Ingredients:

  • 21⁄4 lbs. boneless beef shoulder •11⁄2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3⁄4 tsp. black pepper, divided •1⁄4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 carrots, 2 finely diced and 2 quartered, divided
  • 4 ribs celery, 2 finely diced and 2 quartered, divided •3 onions, 1 finely diced and 2 cut into wedges, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Barolo or other Italian red wine
  • 4 1⁄2 cups beef stock, divided
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 6 small potatoes, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1⁄4 cup light rum, optional
BeefShoulderRecipe_Crop

Ingredients:

  • 21⁄4 lbs. boneless beef shoulder •11⁄2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3⁄4 tsp. black pepper, divided •1⁄4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 carrots, 2 finely diced and 2 quartered, divided
  • 4 ribs celery, 2 finely diced and 2 quartered, divided •3 onions, 1 finely diced and 2 cut into wedges, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Barolo or other Italian red wine
  • 4 1⁄2 cups beef stock, divided
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 6 small potatoes, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1⁄4 cup light rum, optional

Prep Time: 45 min. | Cook Time: 1 hr. 35 min. | Total Time: 2 hrs. 20 min. | Serves: 4 | Difficulty: Medium

Directions

Step 1.

Preheat oven to 300F.

Step 2.

Prepare beef with kitchen twine; wrap beef in 3-4 sections of twine, securing each piece of twine in a simple knot.

Step 3.

Season beef with 1 teaspoon salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper. In a large 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Add beef and cook until browned on all sides, transfer to a plate and set aside.

Step 4.

Add diced carrots, diced celery, diced onion and garlic to Dutch oven. Cook until tender. Add red wine and bring to a boil. Reduce until almost evaporated. Add 1⁄2 cup beef stock and reduce until almost evaporated.

Step 5.

Return beef to pot and add remaining 4 cups beef stock, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and rosemary. Bring to a boil, then cover and transfer to oven. Bake 11⁄2 hours, until internal temperature reaches 145F.

Step 6.

Meanwhile, in a 4-quart pot over medium heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Add quartered carrots, quartered celery, wedged onion and potatoes. Season with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes, then set aside.

Step 7.

Remove beef from oven and transfer beef to a plate. Pour remaining mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan. Discard strained solids, including diced vegetables. Set saucepan over medium-high heat and add rum. Cook until sauce is thickened.

Step 8.

Slice beef and serve with vegetables. Spoon sauce over beef.

Step 9.

Refrigerate leftovers.

For even more inspiration, visit our Meat page.