We used to think of chuck roast as nothing more than stew meat. That all changed when we first cooked the meat sous vide. Now that $7 roast can be transformed into a prime cut of beef.
For this recipe, we did a very basic salt and pepper rub to let the taste of the meat shine. And boy it shines. But if we want to take our chuck roast straight to Flavortown, we like to use our favorite seasoning blend, Meat Church, to kick the flavor up a notch.
Trussing the Roast
To ensure the chuck roast is aesthetically pleasing, you want to truss the chuck roast with butchers twine. Not only will trussing help maintaining a nice round shape as the roast cooks, it will also help the beef cook evenly.
To truss the roast, start by cutting about 12 inches (or more for larger roasts) of butchers twine. Next, at about two inches in from the edge, wrap the string around the roast. Tie a knot at the top and cut the string.Keep trussing the roast every two-inches until the entire roast is tied.
An essential part of cooking sous vide is putting ingredients in an air-tight bag or container. The two most common techniques to package your ingredients are vacuum sealing and using the water displacement method.
A vacuum sealer removes all the air and seals the contents of a plastic bag through a vacuum. Ensuring the food is airtight and properly sealed prevents the bag from floating, which can result in uneven cooking. If you are in the market for a vacuum sealer, I’d recommend the Anova sealer.
The displacement method is a technique where you first place your food and marinades in a sous vide bag, submerge the bag in a container of water, and allow the pressure to force all the air out of the bag.
Both of these methods work for this recipe, so use whichever you feel more comfortable with!
Chuck Roast Time and Temperature
Through loads of experimentation, we’ve found that cooking the chuck roast at 136F for 48 hours is the perfect combo. Leaving the roast in for 48 hours breaks down the connective tissue (collagen), which results in an extremely tender meat. Also, cooking the chuck roast at a temperature of 136F is the sweet spot for that perfect edge to edge rosy color.
Note that this time and temperature combo is for beef you can slice and serve. There is also the option to make shredded beef with chuck roast.
For other time and temperature options, check out our cooking guide here.
Can You Sous Vide Frozen Chuck Roast?
The quick answer is, absolutely! Cooking frozen foods sous vide is an ultra convenient, safe way to prepare your protein. Just take the food directly from the fridge, repackage it (unless you know the bag is sous vide safe) and let the sous vide work its magic.
Generally the only thing you’ll need to adjust is the cook time. However, since we are already cooking the beef chuck roast sous vide for 48 hours there is no need to add on any additional time.
Best Way to Sear After Sous Vide
Searing is by far the most important step in cooking sous vide. If want your food to look like it is Michelin star quality, you are going to have to get a rich sear on it. Failing to do so will make your dinner guests wonder why they let you cook again.
If you want an amazing sear, you’ve got to:
1. Pat the meat completely dry with a paper towel
2. Season generously with salt or seasoning of your choice
3. Sear at extremely high temperatures.
At this point you want to determine the best searing method. For chuck roast, we suggest pan searing, grilling or using a searing torch. The trick is getting the pan, grill or torch extremely hot, then searing for 1 to 2 minutes on each side. This results in a quick, high-quality sear without overcooking the steak.
Sous Vide Machine – This one is obvious. To cook sous vide, you’re going to need a device to precisely regulate the temperature of the bath water. The two best sous vide machines in the game right now are the Anova Precision Cooker and the Breville Joule.
The main difference between the two is that with the Anova you can control the device both manually and with a mobile device, and with the Joule you can only control the device by using your mobile device. Either way, both sous vide machines are top class and you can’t go wrong with either choice.
12-quart Container – Although you can use a basic stockpot for your sous vide cooking needs, I highly recommend buying a large plastic container. They are inexpensive and spacious, so you won’t have to worry about cooking a big roast in a small pot. I recommend a 12 quart Rubbermaid container, as it is BPA free, sturdy, and large enough for just about anything you will be cooking.
Container Lid – If you are going to buy a plastic container, I highly suggest buying a compatible lid for it. When you sous vide for a long duration, the heat of the water causes evaporation. With a lid, it eliminates a majority of the evaporation so you can cook for 48 hours care-free.
Cast Iron Skillet – If you are looking to take your searing game to the next level, we recommend investing in a cast iron skillet. By using a cast iron in this recipe, you’ll achieve a deep sear on the protein. Cast irons are also extremely handy for searing just about any and all sous vide meat. Lodge offers the best quality and price, which is why it is our favorite cast iron brand.
Check out our full list of recommended gear here.
Sous Vide Chuck Roast
- 2-3 lb Chuck Roast
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper to taste
Set sous vide machine to 57.5C/136F.
Salt and pepper the chuck roast to taste. Put the roast in a freezer bag with crushed garlic, and remove the air through a vacuum sealer or the displacement method. Drop chuck roast in the bath for 48 hours.
Remove bag from bath. Take chuck roast out of the bag, pat dry and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat pan on high and add oil. Sear for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
Slice and serve chuck roast with aus jus or your favorite sauce and enjoy!