Also known as the "poor man's rib-eye," the chuck eye steak comes from the upper shoulder of the cow, the region butchers refer to as the chuck primal. Known for flavorful roasts, chuck cuts generally benefit from low-and-slow cooking methods. But because the chuck eye includes a few inches of the tender longissimus dorsi muscle, the main component of a rib-eye, it can handle the high-heat cooking methods more appropriate for steak.
What Is Chuck Eye Steak?
Tender rib-eyes come from the sixth to twelfth ribs of a cow; butchers cut the chuck eye from the fifth rib. This proximity means the chuck eye steak shares many of the characteristics of a rib-eye. Although chuck eye steaks aren't always available—there are just two per cow—they tend to be a budget-friendly cut of meat when you can find them.
How to Cook Chuck Eye Steak
Cook chuck eye steaks quickly over high heat, as you would a rib-eye or other prime cut. Pay close attention, though—an overcooked chuck eye becomes dry and tough.
Preheat your grill to high and brush the grates with oil. Put the steaks on the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for a medium-rare finish. If you're using a meat thermometer, take it off the grill when it reaches around 135 F. The steak will continue cooking for a final temperature of around 140 to 145 F.
If you like the meat more well-done, add 1 to 2 minutes per side and remove it from heat when reaches 155 F, the standard temperature for medium. Cooking beyond medium is not recommended, or the steak will become tough. Top the steak with a tablespoon of herb butter and serve. You can use this same method with a grill pan on the stove.
What Does Chuck Eye Steak Taste Like?
A chuck eye steak might not be quite as tender as the rib-eye steaks next to it, but it delivers meaty beef flavor. Don't be shy with the salt and pepper. Coat the steak thoroughly on both sides, then let it sit uncovered in the fridge for two hours until a crust develops on the meat. This draws moisture to the surface of the meat and allows for a crispy sear, accentuating the flavor.
If you don't have the time to let the steak sit in the fridge for a couple hours, give it at least 30 minutes at room temperature before you start cooking.
Chuck Eye Steak vs. Chuck Roast
Most butchers cut the long, narrow chuck eye into steaks; the popular Denver steak and the flat-iron steak, both chef favorites, also come from the chuck primal.
The well-used shoulder muscles on a cow more commonly become budget-friendly roasts that savvy cooks choose for pot roasts, stews, and braises. With a higher percentage of both fat and collagen than roasts cut from the round section at the rear of a cow, the chuck roasts turn succulent and flavorful with low-and-slow cooking methods. The higher fat content also makes chuck a common choice for ground beef.
Chuck Eye Steak Recipes
In general, you can substitute a chuck eye steak for a rib-eye in any recipe. Like most steaks, the chuck eye adapts well to the grill, and you can follow general grilling recommendations for the best results.
Where to Buy Chuck Eye Steak
Check with a specialty butcher or an online retailer, or put in a special request at the grocery store meat counter if you don't see chuck eye steaks in the display case. When you do find chuck eye steak, make sure the butcher labeled it properly; regular chuck steaks won't be as tender.
Storing Chuck Eye Steak
Keep packaged chuck eye steak in the coldest portion of your refrigerator for three to five days after you bring it home from the store. You can freeze raw steaks individually wrapped in plastic for three months or longer; for best results and longer storage time, use a vacuum sealer.
Leftover cooked steak stays good for three to four days if you get it into an airtight container and into the refrigerator within two hours.
Nutrition and Benefits of Chuck Eye Steak
Chuck eye steak contains 25 grams of protein per serving, which the United States Department of Agriculture defines as 3.5 ounces of meat. The nearly 20 grams of fat in that portion make this a relatively tender steak but also bumps the calories per serving to 277, quite a bit higher than some of the leaner budget cuts such as sirloin.
Chuck eye steak also delivers hefty doses of vitamins B12 and B6, which contribute to healthy red blood cells, and important minerals such as iron and zinc.