Beef Chuck Roll Demo
Jim Poris / February 6th, 2012
As one would expect, Zook Da Meat Man knows his way around Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications (IMPS)/North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP) beef cut 116A. In butcher's parlance—Benny "Zook" Pizzuco's native language—that's the beef chuck roll. Pizzuco is the third to own the vestibule sized Florence Meat Market, founded in Greenwich Village in 1939 by Jack Ubaldi, a legendary New York City butcher. With a tabby cat stalking errant meat scraps on the sawdust strewn floor and pre-war scales still getting heavy workouts from head butchers Florencio Morales and Aristeo Quiñonez, the shop touches New Yorkers' heartstrings for lost neighborhoods. But as quickly as manager Maria Alava introduces you to a woman who knew Ubaldi back in the day, she turns to the phone to take an order for its dry-aged prime beef from photographer Annie Leibovitz. Florence is old enough to be cool anew.
Pizzuco knew how to break down a chuck roll—which runs from the bottom of the cattle's neck to between the fifth and sixth ribs—along its natural seams. But for him, cuts from the chuck roll were destined for stew meat or the grinder for chopped beef. Now, on the heels of its successful marketing of the flatiron steak, petit tender, and ranch steak fabricated from the chuck clod, The Beef Checkoff has identified a number of new cuts from the chuck roll that will be making available for foodservice. Pizzuco took a crack at putting his knife where The Beef Checkoff said it should go, starting with dividing the whole chuck roll (A) along its hard-to-miss seam (B) into the underblade (left) and chuck-eye roll (right) (C).