A chuck primal cut is derived from a forequarter and is more or less a cow shoulder. It is the largest primal cut and includes bone segments from an arm, blade, thoracic vertebrae and from the first five ribs. Of the nine primal cuts, the chuck primal cut has the most seam fat.

Retail cuts from a run-of-the-mill chuck primal cut are generally tough and correspondingly, are sought for their being more lean and for having more robust flavors. However and as noted below, a higher quality chuck primal can source a few retail cuts tender enough for roasting.

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