I am one of those people who stands there in the meat aisle examining each pack of bacon or each piece of chuck shoulder in order to find the one that best meets my taste. When it comes to bacon I am looking for the ones that are mostly meat and when it comes to a chuck should I am looking for something that is nicely marbled. The slow roasted chuck shoulder is an old favorite. I give in a hard sear in bacon fat, on both sides, cover it, and slide it in a 250°F oven. Depending on the size of the piece it cooks anywhere from 4-6 hours, which is fine if I'm at home puttering. When it's done I pull it out of the oven and leave it covered on the stove, resting in its own juices, until I'm ready to carve it up. I like to season it at least 8 hours and up to three days in advance. I give it a heavy dusting of salt and leave it on a rack set over a sheet pan in the refrigerator. If it's in there on the longer side, I may cover it loosely with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out too much. This roast is so easy and versatile that I always end up coming back to it. The juices you see here are all from the meat. You can slice it and serve it with potatoes or grits. You can shred it, mix it with salsa, and turn it into tacos. You can use almost any regional seasoning before searing and turn it into a delicious dinner of almost any ethnicity. It's my favorite all purpose technique, only requiring a nice piece of meat, preferably on sale, and delivered with a clear conscience. What could be easier and more delicious than that?
January 21, 2005