Skip to main content
Ask the Test Cooks
Ask Matthew: Is Beef Blade Steak the Same as an Arm Roast?
This series answers all of your cooking questions. And yes, by all we mean the wild, silly, and "stupid" ones, too.
10-18-2018
Matthew Fairman

Before Matthew Fairman joined Cook's Country as a test cook, he cooked in many restaurants and taught college literature and writing. When he’s not pitching a new take on fried rice to his editors or whispering to his slow cookers, Matthew is usually scaling plastic mountains at the climbing gym or running food experiments on his wife, Lauren, and cat, Daisy. One day, he hopes to pay for climbing trips by selling fried rice from a food truck to hungry people stumbling out of bars after last call.

Have a food-related question? Shoot Matthew a message at askthetestcooks@americastestkitchen.com

Is blade cut the same as an arm roast? Every butcher I have talked to here does not know what a blade roast/steak is.

Dear Home Cook,

First off, thanks for the question. Second, arm roast!? That's a new one to me. (*Walks over to ask executive food editor and guru of all things meat Bryan Roof. He hasn’t heard of it either. Conducts brief, exhaustive Google search.*) Well, no, they’re not the same. Kind of close, though. I, for one, don’t like to think of my beef as having arms. There’s just something icky about it, for lack of a better term.

But in all seriousness, it looks like arm roast is a specific cut of the chuck or shoulder. The blade steak also comes from the shoulder, but it’s a different specific cut within the shoulder. Sometimes it feels like there are as many different cuts of beef as there are butchers. So I like to refer to this handy-dandy Cook’s Country guide, "Getting to Know: Beef Steaks." The people over at Certified Angus Beef also have a pretty extensive, easy-to-read map of the beef cuts.

Blade Steak
A view of blade steak. Note: The more gristle there is in beef, the harder it is to chew.

In both of those guides, you’ll find blade steak and see that it has a very distinctive look, with a line of gristle that runs through the center of the meat, which makes it a poor choice for serving whole. With some trimming, though, it’s tender, has tons of beefy flavor, and makes a great choice for stir-fries, if you can find it. If the chuck arm roast were sliced similarly thin, it might work for a stir-fry, but I couldn’t vouch for it. We do like another common cut of beef for stir-fries, however: flank steak. When cut lengthwise into thirds and sliced thin against the grain, it makes a nicely uniform slice of beef that’s great for stir-frying. We chose it for the recent Cook’s Country recipe for Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry.

TAKEAWAY: Blade steak and arm roast are both cuts from the shoulder of beef, but they are not the same.

Good night (and good luck),

  • Matthew Fairman
More Advice

Everything You Need to Start Stir-Frying at Home

All you need is the right equipment and a good recipe to make great stiry-fry at home.

The Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book

"Carnivores with an obsession for perfection will likely have found their new bible in this comprehensive collection." – Publishers Weekly

Have a food-related question? Let me know in the comments or shoot Matthew a direct message at askthetestcooks@americastestkitchen.com

Comments