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What Is Mock Tender Roast?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Discover the versatility of the mock tender roast, a cut of beef that demands careful preparation to unlock its potential. Sourced from the chuck primal, an area extending from the neck to the fifth rib, this cut is often mistaken for being naturally tender. 

However, the mock tender roast, also known as chuck steak, chuck tender steak, or shoulder tender, requires specific cooking methods to achieve its best texture.

Whether sold as a steak or roast, its preparation is key to enjoyment. By understanding what is mock tender roast and how to cook it, you can transform this economical choice into a succulent meal.

Most chuck steak cuts like the mock tender roast are known for excellent flavor. Unfortunately, you may miss the flavor if you have to chew a tough piece of meat. For this reason, this cut is often prepared by braising or stewing the meat using moist cooking methods that help to soften the meat and make it easier to chew. Marinating the meat in advance, especially if the mock tender roast is cut into kabobs, can also help break down some of the toughness.

Chuck cuts tend to be less expensive on average than other more tender sections of beef. It can therefore be worth it to go to the extra trouble of braising or stewing, since you’ll usually save money on price per pound. One particularly popular way of preparing the mock tender roast is using the cut to make pot roast, which is baked in liquids or occasionally prepared on the stove. Some recipes still advocate marinating the meat prior to baking, or seasoning the meat for a few hours before cooking it.

Many chefs recommend using wine or any other acidic substance to help produce some breakdown of the fibrous tissue in this beef cut. Red wine is a particularly good pairing for braising, stewing or for pot roasts. If you don’t care for wine, you can use other acids, like a small amount of vinegar to create a more tender roast.

If you’re buying mock tender roast from the butcher store, you can request that the roast be cut thin or halved if you’d rather cook the roast as a steak. One way to prepare thinner cuts is to marinate them, preferably overnight, and then grill them. If they are served in very thin slices, the steak variant is usually easier to eat. Seasonings and marinade can easily substitute this cut for other more expensive cuts like tri-tip.

FAQ on Mock Tender Roast

What is a mock tender roast?

A mock tender roast, also known as chuck tender roast, is a cut of beef from the chuck or shoulder area of the cow. Despite its name, it is not naturally tender and requires proper cooking methods, such as braising or slow cooking, to break down the connective tissues. This cut is often mistaken for a tenderloin due to its similar shape but is much less expensive, making it a budget-friendly option for those seeking a beef roast.

How should you cook a mock tender roast to ensure tenderness?

To achieve tenderness with a mock tender roast, it's best to cook it using low and slow methods. Braising is ideal, which involves searing the meat first to develop flavor and then cooking it slowly in a covered pot with a small amount of liquid. This process can take several hours, but the result is a tender and flavorful roast. Slow cookers are also an excellent option for cooking this cut of beef.

Can you grill or roast mock tender roast like other tender cuts?

Grilling or roasting mock tender roast like more naturally tender cuts is not recommended, as it can result in a tough and chewy texture. This cut contains more connective tissue, which requires slow cooking methods to break down properly. If you prefer these cooking methods, it's best to marinate the meat for an extended period and consider using a meat tenderizer to help soften the fibers before cooking.

What are some good seasonings or marinades for mock tender roast?

Mock tender roast pairs well with robust seasonings and marinades that can penetrate the dense meat. Good options include garlic, rosemary, thyme, and red wine for marinades. For a simple seasoning, salt, pepper, and a blend of your favorite dried herbs can enhance the flavor. Acidic components in marinades, such as vinegar or citrus juice, can also help tenderize the meat.

Is mock tender roast a good choice for health-conscious diets?

Mock tender roast can be a suitable choice for health-conscious diets, as it is a lean cut of beef with moderate fat content. According to the USDA, a 3-ounce serving of cooked, lean beef provides about 22 grams of protein and can be part of a balanced diet. However, it's important to consider the cooking method and additional ingredients used in preparation to maintain its health benefits.

(USDA source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172231/nutrients) Please note that the provided USDA link leads to a general database where you can search for specific cuts of beef and their nutritional content. The exact values can vary based on the cut and preparation.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By marmar0802 — On Sep 14, 2013

I make this all the time as a pot roast. It's better than a pot roast. I take a packet of McCormick's Au Jus and a packet of McCormick's beef stew dry mix and dissolve both of them in warm water - just mix them in a two cup measuring cup to dissolve. Put the roast on a rack in a large six to eight quart pot and pour the mixture over the top. Cut up some onions and put on top. Cut up potatoes and carrots and put them in. Then fill the pot with water all the way over the top of everything.

Cook it, covered, in a 375 degree oven for five to six hours. It will be fork tender when done. It pulls apart just like pulled pork. You can use the juice (it's not thick) to put over potatoes, carrots and meat. You can also use the leftover meat for roast beef sandwiches on potato rolls (pull it apart) or for tacos or burritos. The leftover juice (strained) makes a great stock for soup also.

By anon318788 — On Feb 09, 2013

I fixed one of these last week in the manner described on the package. It tasted about like dog food smells. We could not eat it and I would never try another one.

By wander — On May 31, 2011

Can anyone else share some great uses for mock tender roasts? I am a bit of a novice cooking enthusiast and always looking for new cuts of meats to use and fun recipes to try.

I have found a recipe that calls for chopping the mock tender roast up and using it as a key ingredient in stew, alongside tomato and basil. Do you think that this cut of meat offers a rich enough flavor with this kind of preparation? Also, how do I know if I overcook it?

I try to follow recipe directions as closely as possible, but sometimes find it difficult to judge when meat is done just right.

By letshearit — On May 30, 2011

If you are interested in using a mock tender roast to make a good meal, I would suggest trying it as a pot roast. I find that cooking it this way really helps to keep the meat soft, and also has an amazing flavor when you are finished.

All you do is take a roast pan, add about an inch of water and lay the meat in it. Toss in sliced potatoes, onions, carrots, celery and add in some salt, pepper and garlic to taste.

Put this roast in the oven and cook it at about 325 degrees for 1 to 2 hours. Check it periodically to see if the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
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