I was checking out some of my usual suspects on the blogging circuit yesterday when I stumbled upon a post at Musings of a Housewife. Jo-Lynne was lamenting only having bolar roasts left from her bulk beef purchase.
I had never heard of a bolar roast so I did some internet sleuthing. Do you remember when we talked about how Boston butts are a pig’s shoulder? Well, the bolar roast also has a random history.
The bolar roast isn’t a widely recognized cut, so there may be some variations depending on where you purchase your roasts. It seems as though all bolar roasts are large and generally from the shoulder or chuck region of the cow. As with other cuts from the shoulder region, you’ll have the best luck with a slow wet cooking style; think pot roasting or braising. These low heat methods melt the fat slowly, preventing the meat from drying out, and it dissolves some of the tough proteins in the connective tissue.
When determining if your recipe is suitable for cooking a bolar roast, look for the mention of comparable cuts: bottom round roast, shoulder roast, and bread and butter roasts. My personal favorite is wine braised shoulder roast, mostly because leftovers are fantastic on hoagies with cheddar. The leftovers could also easily translate into a sort of shepherd’s pie, pasties (I have got to get a recipe for these posted), or even just as an addition to vegetable soup.
You could also put the roast in the crockpot with some salsa. The combination of the low, slow cooking method and the acidity of the salsa will ensure the meat is tender. Shred with forks and use in chimichangas, tacos, burritos . . . you get the idea.
I have read that it’s possible to cut shoulder roasts across the grain very thinly and then broil or stir fry. Just keep in mind you run the risk of meat that’s a bit chewy. In other words, don’t experiment if company is coming.
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