Arm Roast, browned, and ready to go into the oven.
An Arm Roast is similar to a chuck roast, but not as fatty. I bought this roast from a small store in Thornport, about a 20 minute drive from my house. I cannot find an Arm Roast in a regular store anymore as the big grocer's get all of their meats from one large location. These meats come in wrapped, frozen and boxed. TC Market still cuts a lot of their meat and has real butchers. They also often cut up local beef they buy from farmers.
When I used to work in a grocery store (1979-1983), we ordered in hanging sides of beef and the butcher would cut the meat into roasts, steaks, cutlets, and ground their own hamburger from pieces of meat from various parts of the beef. We had cuts that are no longer found in grocery stores- Arm roasts, flank steaks, brisket. We also had meat with bones in it such as above. If you look real close you will see the bone in the middle of my roast above. It got a little burned when I was browning the meat, but it will not affect the taste of the roast. In fact, back in the day, most all cuts of meat came with bones in them and the boneless cuts were a lot more expensive.
The last time I bought a roast from our local grocery store (Kroger), I bought one during their buy one, get one sale. I always make sure there is no more than .10c difference in price so I am not getting ripped off. I bought two chuck steaks that were about 1.5 pounds each. With just Bob and I here most of the time, this is plenty for the two of us.
I've cooked hundreds of roasts in my life, I mean hundreds, and my kids loved having roast for dinner. I know how to cook a roast. When I cooked the two roasts (different times) I'd bought from my local store- they were as tough as rubber. I cooked those babies for 5 hours!!!! a 1.5 pound roast should only have to cook about 1- 1.5 hours to fall apart, and I could not get this meat to tenderize!!!! It was awful. I will no longer buy my beef from my local grocery stores. I get my hamburger from a small Mennonite store, and my other beef from TC Market.
Meats from the local grocery stores come from large CAFO farms and are either given an antibiotic 30 days before slaughter to make the cow gain up to 30% more weight, or they are killed under stressful situations. Both of these scenarios will make meat tough, and no amount of cooking will make them tender. I tend to believe it was an antibiotic added to the feed to make the cow grow larger that caused the roasts I had to be so tough. I do not want to have antibiotics in my meat. I also do not want to pay a premium price for rubberized meats that will not cook up properly. So now I get my beef only from TC Market where I know the meat is not full of antibiotics and most comes from local farmers.
Whether you make an Arm or Chuck Roast, this is good. Remember, chuck roast is usually a bit fattier and there will be more fat in the broth when done cooking.
Lori's Arm Roast
(Same for Chuck Roast)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
1 Arm or Chuck Roast, about 3.5- 4 pounds
1 Tbls of olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Garlic powder or real garlic, sliced and added to meat*
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1-2 bay leaves, optional
Water or beef broth*
3-4 Beef bouillon cubes*
2 Tbls real butter
3 Tbls flour
I always rinse my meats and pat dry.
Place a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven on the stove on medium heat. I often spray some cooking spray on the pan on sides so the meat won't stick. This is up to you.
Put in olive oil and swirl around.
Add meat and brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes on each side.
Once browned, add some water to about half way or so up on sides of beef. Add bouillon cubes to the water, if used.
Turn off heat under skillet.
Salt and pepper the roast.
Place some sliced garlic on roast, and also sliced onions. The onions can be broken up into rings or kept whole. You can also add a bay leaf or two, if desired.
Put on lid and place in center rack of 350 F oven.
Roast for about 2 hours. Check about halfway through to see if it needs more water or broth.
Check for tenderness of roast, a fork should go right into it and you can feel the tenderness. You can allow to cook a bit longer, if needed.
Remove from oven
Take roast out of pan (I usually use two spatulas to try to lift it) and place on a platter.
Remove bay leaves, if used, and throw away or compost.
Pour broth into a small pan. Take off some of the fat, about 2 Tbls, and place in skillet.
Measure out 2 cups of broth, adding water or canned broth, to make 2 cups.
Place skillet over medium heat (use a pot holder as skillet will be hot!).
Melt butter in pan, along with fat, then stir in flour.
Cook for about 1 minute.
Pour broth back into skillet, stirring constantly and bring to a small boil and gravy thickens. Season with some salt and pepper, to taste, and some parsley.
Place roast back in the gravy, if desired.
Serve with mashed potatoes, a vegetable of your choice, and either homemade biscuits or dinner rolls.
*If using broth and not water, you may not want to use the bouillon cubes.
*If using bouillon cubes, try to find a brand such as Herb-Ox Bouillon cubes as they do not use MSG in their products.
*If you do not like garlic, just don't use. Ditto for the onions.