The allure of the first cut chuck shoulder is the variety of muscles in one place. We have broken the shoulder into pieces: rib eye, flat iron, shoulder and cooked separately. We have also found great pleasure cooking the shoulder whole. We cook the first cut chuck shoulders whole in the CVap and Sous Vide for 24 hours at 57°C. The low and long cooking allows for the connective tissue and collagen to break down and be converted into gelatin. The meat remains moist and juicy and the entire shoulder was edible.
We started with a favorite cut of meat, the first cut chuck shoulder. We cold smoked it for 2 hours. Then we seasoned it with salt and black pepper and refrigerated it for 2 days to allow the seasoning to penetrate and the flavors to marry.
We didn't break this shoulder down, we cooked it whole. With the smoked shoulder we wanted to cook it in a conventional oven. After the two days of flavor development we slow roasted the shoulder in 250°F oven with a water pan in the bottom to add additional moisture.
Unfortunately our foray into adapting the cooking to the oven did not work out well. We cooked the shoulder for 6 hours at 250°F. The shoulder ended up roasted and unevenly cooked. The connective tissue in the flat iron had converted to gelatin and was tender. The rib eye was tender and dry. The shoulder muscle was not juicy. The flavor of the smoke and the meat was amazing. We turned the failure into an incredible pressure cooked smoked beef broth.
Next up we will put the cold smoked shoulder through our low temperature process and finish it on the grill. I can't wait to eat the smoked, juicy unctuous meat. That is our bunt. We also need to see how low our oven can go and observe the cooking process. There is a solution, it'll take a few more cooks. Since we love the first cut chuck because of its variety we need to explore cooking the smoked and seasoned parts on their own. And finally we need to grind a cold smoked shoulder into burgers as a delicious opportunity to upgrade our butter burger.