The Absolute Best Cut Of Meat For Making Italian Beef Brasato

Beef brasato, referred to as brasato al barolo when made with red wine, is an Italian-style braised beef often paired with polenta. The dish hails from Northern Italy, and brasato literally translates from Italian to braised meat in English. Some of the best types of meat for braising are tough cuts that become tender during the slow-cooking process, and the rich Italian dish also hinges on a particular cut. To find out the best cut to seek out at the butcher, we turned to Jasper J. Mirabile Jr., owner and chef at Jasper's Restaurant and host of the radio show "Live! From Jasper's Kitchen."

"For me, there is only the chuck roast," Mirabile says. "It has to be one of the best cuts of meat. The marbling is just unbelievable and when it breaks down it makes for an ideal and tender piece of meat." We'd certainly agree with Mirabile, as there are many recipes that refer to the dish specifically as Italian-style braised chuck roast. For more context, chuck roast is cut from the shoulder area of a cow and is therefore tough, so the large piece of meat works perfectly for this braised Italian recipe.

A long, slow braise is essential to tender Italian beef brasato

While chuck roast is one of the best cuts of meat to make Italian beef brasato, a slow braise is the ideal cooking method for the dish. "Long and slow braising is essential. I cannot repeat this enough," chef Mirabile explains. "Each cut of meat will vary slightly, but after caramelizing the meat, it's crucial to braise it slowly in a flavorful broth made of tomatoes, wine, and natural stock." In addition to Mirabile's expertise, consider other tips for braising meat, such as using a properly sized pot with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid.

You'll have to be quite patient for the meat to become tender and soak up the flavors from the other ingredients traditionally found in the recipe like red wine, stock, and aromatics like garlic. Depending on the recipe, it can take 2 hours to just cook the meat, and over 24 hours if you opt to marinate it beforehand. If you can't get your hands on a chuck roast per Mirabile's guidance, other acceptable cuts are brisket, rump roast, beef short ribs, and even oxtail. To make a complete Italian feast, consider these 20 Italian dishes everyone should try, including the polenta that makes a perfect side.