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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.
By Published Oct. 18, 2018

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.

— Wanda E., Recipe: Sesame Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry for Two

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.

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