Square-Cut Chuck Primal

Also Known As: Chuck Flat, Chuck Meat Square

Primal Cut

This large primal comes from the shoulder area and yields cuts known for their rich, beefy flavor. Features roasts ideal for slow-cooking as well as more tender, grill-ready cuts such as the Flat Iron Steak.

Chuck primal cut diagram (Beef)

More about Square-Cut Chuck Primal

Sub-Primal Cuts

Top Blade, Bottom Blade, Beef Ribs, Neck, Shoulder, Chuck Filet, Chuck Steak, Ground Beef.


Located at the front of the chest and front top of the cow, the chuck has a nice equal balance of fat and meat making it ideal for ground beef products.

Ideal size

  • The Shoulder and Neck are usually as a whole roast weighing 5 lbs. or turned into ground beef.
  • Beef Ribs weigh about 5- 10 lbs. and are attached to form a rack.- Blade is cut into flat iron steaks which are 1 to 2 lbs. and 2 inches in thickness.
  • Chuck Steak and Chuck Filet are usually cut in the size or 12 ounces steak portions.

Fat Content

  • Fat content of The shoulder and neck is not measured because is usually turned into ground beef, however these cuts are considered a lean cut.
  • Beef Ribs are considered a lean cut and have an average of 12% fat content.
  • Flat iron steaks are not a lean cut and contain on average 17% fat content.
  • Chuck steak contain an average of 23% fat content.

Best Cooking Methods

  • The Shoulder and Neck are best when cooked in an oven with liquid for long periods of time on low temperatures otherwise known as braising.
  • Beef Ribs are best when they are coated in a dry or wet rub and sometimes a marinade. Then smoked over an indirect heat smoker on low temperature for long periods of time.
  • Blade or Flat Iron Steaks have a lot of fat marbling and are usually known as a butcher steak because this is the best cut in the cow, usually, the butcher keeps this cut for himself. These are treated just like any other steak with or with seasoning and grilled over direct heat.
  • Chuck Steak and Chuck filet are usually tenderized and pounded out then coated in egg and breading to create chicken fried steaks or roulade. The excess meat is usually used as ground beef.

Preparation Methods

  • The Shoulder and Neck need a heavy seasoning or rub before braising or pressure cooking.
  • Beef Ribs can be boiled on the stove for an hour before smoking or grilling to help in breaking down the meat structure, creating a more tender end product. A marinade will also help to tenderize the meat and bring more flavor to the ribs.
  • Blade does not need any prepping at all. Just grill it.
  • Chuck Steak and Chuck Filet need to be tenderized with a meat mallet before cooking. This helps break down the meat making it easier to chew. The thinner the better without breaking the meat is always best.

We should choose this type

  • The Shoulder and Neck are best treated as a roast or pot roast for family dinner.
  • Beef Ribs are great for any backyard barbecue.
  • Blade is a very sought out after steak and highly coveted since there is hardly any at all on each cow. This is definitely a special occasion steak that is hard to get your hands on.
  • Chuck Steak and Chuck filet are best when used to make chicken fried steak or using as a ground beef in any recipe. This is a very cheap cut which is commonly used every day.

Type of Grill/Smoker when BBQing

  • The Shoulder and Neck: Conventional oven.
  • Beef Ribs: Indirect heat smoker and charcoal grill.
  • Blade: Direct heat grill or open flame grill.
  • Chuck Steak and Chuck Filet: Conventional oven, skillet, direct heat grill.

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