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Why is my roast beef always tough?


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#1 Dr. Susan

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 02:54 PM

Hi everyone,
I'm pretty new to eGullet and thought I'd see if anyone has advice about a vexing problem I've had for 18 yrs. No matter how hard I try, or what different recipes I use, whether I keep the beef covered or uncovered, bagged or unbagged--it always comes out tough! The only roast I was able to make that came out tender was a standing rib roast. Given the prices of that cut lately, it's out of the ballpark.
I first tried making roast beef from a top round cut on and off, for about 10 years. It always came out tough (though it was invariably quite tasty). Then I did the standing rib roast which came out great but was expensive. I gave up. figuring it wasn't worth it. Then recently my husband (for whom roast beef is a favorite meal) tried making a brisket (1st cut brisket). He even used his mother's recipe and it still came out tough (btw, hers is always tender regardless of the cut).

My husband blamed the shoe-leather consistency of his brisket on lack of quality of the meat. His mom always says,"You can't ruin a good piece of meat." I don't believe this, because out of the many round roasts I made, at least some must have been decent!

What are we doing wrong? Any ideas? Could the size of the roast have any impact? It's just the 2 of us, so we get only 2-3, 4 lb. cuts at the most. Or, do you think it is the meat? If so, any tips on how to pick out a good piece? What temperature (we've been using 350)? How long to cook? We're really at our wits end on this, so any suggestions are appreciated!

#2 Lori in PA

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 03:21 PM

I'm sure you're going to get lots of excellent help from the talented folks here, but can I just say, "Honey, get you a CHUCK roast."
1. Put roast in pot.
2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Smear a little prepared horseradish over the top of it, if you're so inclined.
4. Add water to come up about 2/3 of the way of the top of the meat.
5. Put on the pot lid.
6. Cook at a low simmer on top of the stove or in the oven at about 325 degrees for 3 or more hours.

Probably get bigger roasts. Even though it is only two of you, use leftovers for so many wonderful things or freeze for another meal.
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#3 winesonoma

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 03:26 PM

Your using the wrong cuts of meat. Try Sirloin tip roast or cross rib roast. Brisket is for smoking or corning. Cook the beef rare 125 degrees, rest and slice thin.
Bruce Frigard
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#4 rjwong

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 03:31 PM

Dr. Susan, Welcome to eGullet!

Do you have an oven thermometer? When you turn on the oven to 350 degrees, does the thermometer inside the oven say the same temperature? Do you have a pocket thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat?

How long do you cook the roast beef? How many minutes per pound?

How do you and your husband like your meat? Medium? Medium-rare? Rare?

Pardon the inquisition, Dr. Susan. This 18-year culinary situation must not be easy for you, ehh?
Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

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#5 UnConundrum

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 03:33 PM

Dr. Susan,
IMHO, once you've decided on the cut and quality, the most important thing is taking your time. I do a lot of beef in my smoker, but when I cook indoors, I still keep the temps down to about 225 F, and let it take as long as it takes. Quite frankly, for those tuffer cuts of beef, even lower temps are fine.

Beef has a lot of collagen in it, and that's what makes it tuff. If you cook it fast, the collagen contracts, and squeezes out some of the moisture. On the other hand, if you cook it real slow, the collagen can disolve/melt, and it actually adds to the mouth feel. I believe collagen will start to disolve at around 130 F (from my sous-vide experiences), but stops at about 170. When you smoke a piece of meat, the internal temperature can actually drop slightly, as the chemical reaction that causes the collagen to melt takes place. But, it's best to not rush it, and just give it time.

The down side to the low temps is that it takes much longer to finish the roast.

#6 mizducky

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 03:40 PM

I'm hardly an expert at beef roasting, but I think there's a few different things you could look into:

1. The cut of meat: the rule of thumb is that muscles the steer exercises a whole lot are tougher than those it doesn't. Tougher cuts are generally not suitable for dry-heat methods like roasting, though they are really tasty when cooked by moist-heat methods like braising/pot-roasting. Here's a typical beef cuts chart with some verbiage about different cuts and their suitability for different cooking methods. Note where they say that: "The chuck, brisket, round and shank are the most exercised muscles and hence, the toughest."

2. Roasting technique: my mom always did her roasts in a 350 deg. F oven, but you'll find lots of folks, including many on this board, recommending various formulas for lower and slower roasting. As to timing: most folks here, including myself, cook to a target internal temperature (using either a probe thermometer or instant read thermometer) rather than by the clock. Here's just one description of doing a roast low-and-slow by internal temperature.

3. Resting the meat after it comes out of the oven: not only keeps all the internal juices from draining out prematurely, but I find it also improves tenderness.

4. Carving the meat: carving across the grain rather than with it, can make an amazing amount of difference in tenderness of the cut slices, as I've discovered to my chagrin (sometimes I can be really dense when trying to figure out which way the grain goes--must be hereditary, as my dad had this same problem, and always had to take an experimental slice or two before he figured out which side of the roast was the "right" one :smile: ).

I'm sure a bunch of other meat mavens will chime in, and correct anything I've got wrong here, but there's my two cents.

#7 Dr. Susan

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 03:42 PM

Dr. Susan, Welcome to eGullet!

Do you have an oven thermometer? When you turn on the oven to 350 degrees, does the thermometer inside the oven say the same temperature? Do you have a pocket thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat?

How long do you cook the roast beef? How many minutes per pound?

How do you and your husband like your meat? Medium? Medium-rare? Rare?

Pardon the inquisition, Dr. Susan. This 18-year culinary situation must not be easy for you, ehh?

View Post

Hi RJ.
Thank you, I've enjoyed eGullet in the time I've been here.
To answer your questions (and I understand the need for them!): We have an old oven without an inside thermometer. I do have a pocket thermometer that I've used for turkey successfully, but I've never tried it for roast beef.
Most recently, my husband cooked the beef about 30 minutes/lb. at 325.
He likes it medium to well-done, I like it medium to medium rare.

#8 rlibkind

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 03:46 PM

Unless you've got got a good rotary slicer, any cut other than prime rib will make a less than tender roast beef. However, an eye of round or top sirloin cooked no more than medium rare, sliced just shy of paper thin on a commercial deli slicer, can taste wonderfully beefy. Cut it thicker, however, and it's shoe leather. The lesser cuts work only if you are careful not to overcook: no more than medium rare or, once again, you've got shoe leather. Prime rib is the only roasting beef that's at all palatable when cooked beyond medium rare thanks to its high fat content (some would contend anything beyond medium rare is unpalatable, but that's a matter of taste); the other cuts are quite lean with little marbling and are therefore tougher.

I haven't tried winesonoma's cross rib suggestion, but it's similar to prime rib (different ribs) so it might be more forgiving than eye round or top sirloin. It's price will probably fall somewhere inbetween

If you can't afford the prime rib (I certainly can't, at least on a frequent basis) and don't have access to a commercial slicer, follow Lori's advice and just do pot roast. I just cooked a chuck roast this afternoon I purchased from Harry Ochs at the Reading Terminal Market; it's now sitting the fridge and will be very gently reheated for Sunday dinner tomorrow. After initial browning, pot roast is no fuss, but provides big beef satisfaction. I also varies cook it atop the stove, covered, over a very low flame. The key is to avoid "boiling" the meat; rather, you want to slowly braise with only occasional delicate bubbles. I'd also probably use less liquid than Lori's recipe. Mark Bittman offers a good basic pot roast recipe in his "How To Cook Everything". He also has an interesting Pot Roast with Cranberries which I haven't yet tried, but it's a far cry from roast beef.
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#9 jackal10

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 03:54 PM

For meat other than the very tender cuts (and that is about only rib or filet) you are cooking a lot too hot and short. Its so hot the meat muscles contract and and not long enough for the collagen to dissolve. No wonder its shoe leather.

You need to set your oven to about 150F - plate warming temperature - and check with a thermometer in a pan of water..
Cook the beef, about 7 hours or more to an internal temperature of 140F - a little more for well done or a little less, say 132F for rare.

The science is given in http://forums.egulle...showtopic=40548

Edited by jackal10, 10 December 2005 - 03:57 PM.


#10 winesonoma

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 04:08 PM

Cross rib is relativity cheap $3.25 lb., only drawback is a layer of silver-skin running down the middle. I don't serve it to guests but it makes great sandwiches as I cook and eat for one most of the time. Remember Rare, rare,rare.
Bruce Frigard
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#11 Jmahl

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 04:11 PM

These folks have it right, low and slow - also try aging your cut in the frig for three or four days or longer if you dare. That's what dry aging is. It tends to tenderize by bacterial action. Adds flavor.

I have used a rack on a plate in a paper bag. Have your meat cutter wrap and tie the roast with clean white beef fat. Have him weight it before tying on the fat.

before roasting bring to room temp. perhaps 2 to 3 hrs. brown in oil in pan before placing in oven.

An instant read termometer is a necessity. I look for 110 - 120 then take out and let rest for a while covered with foil.

Slice thin - enjoy
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#12 Dr. Susan

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 04:45 PM

These folks have it right, low and slow - also try aging your cut in the frig for three or four days or longer if you dare. That's what dry aging is.  It tends to tenderize by bacterial action.  Adds flavor.

I have used a rack on a plate in a paper bag.  Have your meat cutter wrap and tie the roast with clean white beef fat.  Have him weight it before tying on the fat.

before roasting bring to room temp. perhaps 2 to 3 hrs. brown in oil in pan before placing in oven. 

An instant read termometer is a necessity. I look for 110 - 120 then take out and let rest for a while covered with foil.

Slice thin - enjoy

View Post

Okay...I realize I may be revealing my ignorance of the topic--but, couldn't cooking at the low temperatures, as you and others suggest, increase the risk of bacteria=>food poisoning? What's the minimum safe temperature? I am not a risk taker at all when it comes to this sort of thing...so what you're saying about leaving it at room temperature 2-3 hrs and aging it makes me very nervous. Please explain why I don't need to worry about this.

#13 Jmahl

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 05:04 PM

[

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[/quote]
Okay...I realize I may be revealing my ignorance of the topic--but, couldn't cooking at the low temperatures, as you and others suggest, increase the risk of bacteria=>food poisoning? What's the minimum safe temperature? I am not a risk taker at all when it comes to this sort of thing...so what you're saying about leaving it at room temperature 2-3 hrs and aging it makes me very nervous. Please explain why I don't need to worry about this.

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[/quote]

Sorry if I miss lead you. What I ment was allow to come to room temp. Not to stay out at room temp. To my mind the greatest risk of food poisoning is cross contamination. Such as using a knife on raw chicken and then something else. also not sanitizing work areas. Being careless with sink cloths. - After washing and rinsing try blitzing your sink sponge and cloths in the micro. There will be no life forms -- after nuking.

Of course there is always some risk when eating rare meat. Its the trade one makes. I think the best guide is your nose. If it smells bad it is. If I remember correctly the Feds want us to cook all meat to 170 degees. At 170 its going to be tough.

If that's a concern then pot roast is the way to go.
The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

#14 Behemoth

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 07:17 PM

Your main concern would be surface bacteria -- in which case searing the outside of the meat before cooking in a very slow oven would do the trick. Check out Paula Wolfert's Slow Mediterranean Kitchen book, she employs this technique quite a bit. (And the ones I have tried out so far have been amazing.)

#15 project

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 11:15 PM

Dr. Susan,
<br><br>
Welcome to eG!
<br><br>
Yup, can sympathize on problems cooking beef.
<br><br>
I would offer five pieces of advice:
<br><br>
(1) <b>Oven Temperature.</b> You very much do want to know the
temperature inside your oven. Generally cannot trust the
temperature indications on the dial on an oven temperature
control. So, to know the real actual temperature, you need to
measure the temperature, with a thermometer, inside the oven.
Since a thermometer might fail, you should have and use more
than one. If you use, say, three thermometers inside the oven
and all three agree, then you know the temperature inside your
oven. This is just what I do.
<br><br>
So, I would suggest that you buy some inexpensive oven
thermometers, that is, thermometers intended to be placed
inside the oven on an oven rack. In my oven, the thermometers
are all inexpensive, not electronic, bought from a shrink
wrapped card hanging on a hook in a gadget section of a
grocery store. So far, all three of these thermometers always
read the same. Once my oven is at a steady cooking
temperature, usually the dial on my oven thermostat reads 75 F
lower than the thermometers inside my oven. To keep these
thermometers from falling through the slots in the oven rack,
I have them resting on a folded sheet of aluminum foil.
<br><br>
(2) <b>Meat Internal Temperature.</b> Still more important than oven
temperature, whenever cooking a 'roast' or other large piece
of meat, you very much need to know the temperature inside the
meat. This temperature is by far the most important single
piece of information for getting good results in roasting.
<br><br>
A thermometer designed to measure temperature inside a piece
of meat is commonly called a "meat thermometer". I have
several and would suggest that you do also.
<br><br>
Likely my best meat thermometer I got some decades ago. It is
from Taylor and is glass with a red liquid inside and a
stainless steel scale attached to the outside. This
thermometer can be left stuck in the meat while the meat cooks
inside the oven.
<br><br>
To clean this thermometer, I let it stand and soak in a glass
of soapy water. A day later, I clean with a soft brush,
rinse, dry, wrap in a protective towel, secure the towel with
a twist tie, and store in a gadget drawer. This thermometer
has worked beautifully for decades, for chickens, turkeys,
pork shoulders, eye of round roasts, beef rib roasts, etc.
<br><br>
Since this glass thermometer indicates new temperatures
slowly, I also have some meat thermometers that indicate new
temperatures quickly. These, however, cannot be left in a hot
oven.
<br><br>
My standard such 'rapid reading' thermometer says 'ACU RITE'
on the dial. There is a shaft about 5 inches long with
diameter smaller than a pencil, larger than a lead in a
pencil, and about the same as a soda straw. One end of the
shaft is pointed, for inserting into meat. The other end has
a dial and scale in a metal housing about the size and
thickness of two 50 cent pieces stacked.
<br><br>
So, when I'm warming soup, I give it a stir to make the
temperature uniform, use this thermometer to measure the
temperature, and regard the soup as hot enough and safe enough
at 170 F.
<br><br>
To clean this thermometer, I just clean the shaft. I try not
to let the end with the dial get wet.
<br><br>
This thermometer was inexpensive, likely also bought from a
shrink wrapped card, and is not electronic.
<br><br>
I also have another model which has a digital display but
needs a small battery.
<br><br>
Typically a meat thermometer is easy to insert into the meat
except possibly for the surface of the meat. So, to let the
thermometer easily puncture the surface, cut a slit. To get
an accurate reading of the temperature of the meat, usual
advice is to avoid having the thermometer contact a bone.
<br><br>
For my fake version of Memphis pork BBQ, I cook fresh 'picnic'
pork shoulder to an internal temperature of 180 F.
<br><br>
(3) <b>Beef Round Roast.</b> Beef round is not easy to work with.
This meat is basically the main muscle that on a human would
be the back of the thigh. This is likely the largest and one
of the hardest working muscles on a cow. So, this muscle is
high in collagen and low in fat. More fat could help make the
meat tender and juicy. For the collagen, have to 'melt' that
or it will leave the meat tough. The standard way to melt
collagen is to cook slowly. Once such a piece of meat is
cooked, slicing thinly across the grain can help make the
result much more tender.
<br><br>
With beef round, I've had some successes but some failures.
The failures were close to what you reported -- hard, dry,
brittle and not tender, juicy, or 'succulent'. The failures
were all from trying to make beef stew from chunks of beef
bottom round roast, a topic I would leave for the second
semester of Beef 101.
<br><br>
The easiest way I was successful with beef round was to buy
eye of round roast, the whole thing. Some old notes from a
typical trial have eye of round roast raw weight 6.28 pounds,
roasted in shallow open roasting pan in a Brown-n-Bag (brand
name of a plastic bag intended for oven roasting) at 325 F for
2 hours and 23 minutes to internal temperature of 168 F, final
weight 63.5 ounces, loss 26.9%. My notes say that I liked the
doneness from the 168 F internal temperature. When the roast
cooled, I sliced it thinly for roast beef sandwiches. They
were good sandwiches; the meat was plenty tender, moist, and
flavorful. I stacked the thin slices of meat on rye bread,
added some brown mustard, wrapped, and carried to work for
lunch.
<br><br>
Corned eye of round is sometimes available in grocery stores;
I've had good results with that also.
<br><br>
For roasting a whole beef bottom round roast, there is a Julia
and Jacques TV episode where Julia made beef stew of chuck
roast and Jacques roasted a whole beef bottom round roast.
<br><br>
Good ways to handle top round include Sauerbraten and Swiss
Steak. Some special steps in preparation are needed, but the
results can be terrific.
<br><br>
(4) <b>Beef Rib Roast.</b> For rib roast, here are some notes from a
successful effort: We bought a rib roast with three ribs,
including the "first rib", with the rib bones attached (not
cut away), and raw weight 8.11 pounds. We placed the roast in
a shallow stainless steel roasting pan covered with aluminum
foil; the orientation of the roast was fat side up; we placed
the glass meat thermometer in essentially the center of the
meat; we roasted (uncovered, no water added) at 325 F; after 3
hours 45 minutes, meat internal temperature was 150 F; after 4
hours 15 minutes, 161 F; after 4 hours 39 minutes, 171 F; we
kept the roast in a warm oven with meat internal temperature
between 165 F and 171 F for another 1 hour 20 minutes before
carving and then carved and served. It was good.
<br><br>
(5) <b>Chuck Pot Roast.</b> If I had to cook a beef dish for a beef
lover right away, terrific and nearly fool proof, then I would
do a pot roast with a round bone chuck roast. Such a pot
roast was the first roast I ever tried to cook, and my track
record is, no matter what I did, the results were good!
<br><br>
So, put the roast in a roasting pot, add water-based liquid to
a depth of about half that of the meat, cover the pot, place
in an oven at about 325 F, declare the roasting done when the
bone is loose, the meat is nearly falling apart, the meat
internal temperature is, I'm guessing, 180 F, the kitchen and
the whole house smell good, and everyone in the house has to
be forcibly constrained not to open the oven and dig in!
<br><br>
For my first effort, for the liquid, I used a can of
Campbell's Condensed Mushroom Soup, straight from the can, no
water added. I just put the soup on top of the roast, likely
with some salt and pepper, covered, roasted, and ate. It was
good.
<br><br>
During the roasting, juices from the meat form some terrific
gravy. Since this liquid will include a lot of melted fat,
may want to pour liquid into a container and spoon off the
excess fat.
<br><br>
Standard additional advice includes: (1) At the beginning, in
the roasting pot, brown the meat in oil. Then the "browned
bits" can help the flavor of the final gravy. (2) Some people
dust the roast with flour before browning. This flour can
also brown and can serve to thicken the gravy. Here, however,
it is easy to get TOO MUCH flour which can cause problems for
the dish. So, I suggest avoiding this flour. If at the end,
want a 'sauce', then pour off the liquid, strain it, spoon off
the fat, make a roux of flour and butter, and use the roux to
thicken the liquid. (3) For the liquid included (say, to a
depth half way up the side of the meat) at beginning of the
roasting, can use beef stock and dry red wine. Might toss in
some garlic, tomato paste, and herbs. For the herbs, the
usual suspects are thyme, bay leaf, and parsley. Nearly any
reasonable proportions will give a good result. (4) About half
way through the roasting, can toss in some chunks of carrot
and celery and some white boiler onions. Near the end of the
roasting, toss in some chunks of potato. Then, will have some
carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes to serve with the roast.
Again, nearly any reasonable proportions will give a good
result. So, put the roast on a serving platter, arrange the
vegetables around, pour over some of the sauce, and pass the
rest of the sauce in a bowl.
<br><br>
There is a lot of fat in chuck roast. During the cooking, a
lot -- likely nearly all -- of the fat melts into the liquid.
This melted fat is easy to separate. With such separation,
the resulting meat as eaten can be reasonably low in fat.
<br><br>
Any meat left over used as beef hash can be too good for
mortal morals!

What would be the right food and wine to go with
R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

#16 jackal10

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 01:34 AM

The inside of the meat is effectively sterile. The outside you can sear.
The FDA reccomendations are at http://www.cfsan.fda...fc01-3.html#3-4.
Table 3-401.11 B2 is what you want, and specifies 112 minutes at 130F to 12 minutes at 140F

#17 jgm

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 07:21 AM

I don't know if we're talking about two different things... but we essentially braise our beef, sometimes even in a crockpot. The secret with this method, is long and slow. Obviously, by this method, you're not going to get the rare beef Winesonoma loves. If it's rare you want, a long slow braise won't produce it. But we throw a roast in a pot (in summer a slow cooker to keep down heat in the kitchen) along with about 1/2 to 1 cup of water, a few herbs, and the usual salt and pepper. Our beef usually braises for 6 to 8 hours, and at that length of time, is always tender.

#18 Dr. Susan

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 07:36 AM

Dr. Susan,
<br><br>
Welcome to eG!
<br><br>
Yup, can sympathize on problems cooking beef.
<br><br>
I would offer five pieces of advice:

View Post

Wow, thanks project for an awesome post. You certainly cover the bases and provide lots of food for thought, yuk yuk. My husband is just about to make a Home Depot run for other stuff, so I asked him to check out the oven thermometer choices.
Also glad to hear I'm not the only one who has had trouble cooking roast beef! From what you, Lori, rlibkind and others are saying, chuck is a good choice--though I feel armed to start anew with some of the cuts you and others have mentioned.

#19 Dr. Susan

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 07:43 AM

The inside of the meat is effectively sterile. The outside you can sear.
The FDA reccomendations are at http://www.cfsan.fda...fc01-3.html#3-4.
Table 3-401.11 B2 is what you want, and specifies 112 minutes at 130F to 12 minutes at 140F

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ooh, great site to satisfy our bacteria concerns, thanks. It's on my favorites list now. My husband is way more paranoid about this stuff than I am...but then again, his stomach is much more sensitive and protests when he eats vs. store-brand chicken vs. Purdue wingettes.

#20 budrichard

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 11:56 AM

I'm surprised that the USDA grade of meat was not listed as the most important factor. Purchase a Prime Chuck roast and a Select Chuck roast, cook them the same and experience the difference. If the meat was Select or below to begin with, all the slow cooking is not going to make it a tender piece of meat. Be aware that Choice also varies considerably and you have to find a store that sells top quality Choice to make a good roast. Choice is genereally very good for roasts and you don't always need Prime. -Dick

#21 Pam R

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 02:04 PM

on another thread about cooking brisket, we discussed the fact that briskets aren't generally graded at all. briskets are NOT a prime cut of meat. but you can get melt-in-your-mouth results if cooked properly.

I'm also for the long, slow cooking - but not quite as long and slow of some of the previous posts. I slather my brisket with a paste made from olive oil, garlic and spices, wrap the sucker in foil and into a 275-300 oven for a few hours. a pot roast may require longer to cook due to the shape of the roast.

for rare to medium rare I only use rib roasts. there are only a few choices when dealing with kosher meat, and none of the other cuts make a good rare roast.

#22 rooftop1000

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 03:31 PM

The inside of the meat is effectively sterile. The outside you can sear.
The FDA reccomendations are at http://www.cfsan.fda...fc01-3.html#3-4.
Table 3-401.11 B2 is what you want, and specifies 112 minutes at 130F to 12 minutes at 140F

View Post

ooh, great site to satisfy our bacteria concerns, thanks. It's on my favorites list now. My husband is way more paranoid about this stuff than I am...but then again, his stomach is much more sensitive and protests when he eats vs. store-brand chicken vs. Purdue wingettes.

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The only beef I ever worry about is ground beef because it is essentially inside out, and I never did like rare burgers....steak on the otherhand should be just barely warm in the center and any roast beef thats not pink better be sauerbratten.

:biggrin:

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#23 ChefCrash

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 07:11 PM

A few days ago I made a 4 lb Eye of Round roast. Rubbed with mashed garlic and corn oil and seasoned with dried Rosemary, Thyme, black pepper and Kosher salt. Baked at 325 F on a rack in a pan with a little water in the bottom (water not touching meat). took it out when center measured 140 F about 3 hours. Sliced 1/8"It was great as usual. It has the texture of roast beef you buy at the deli section of the super market. In other words, we don't expect this type of roast beef to fall apart like a pot roast does.

After reading the Science of the Kitchen:Introduction, by Jack Lang I was intrigued. I decided to try something new. I know that most of the roast beef we get at the deli is "boiled in a bag round". I bought a 3 lb Bottom Round roast.

It measured 4" across the top (fat side) in thickness, and 5" in height and 9" in length.

Here it's seasoned as mentioned above.

Posted Image



Browned it one minute on each sides.

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Put it in a oven bag, submerged in water to purge most of the air. Inserted an instant read thermometer in the center and used a zip tie to seal the bag around the stem of the thermometer. I was surprised to see the internal temp. after prep and searing was 80 F in the center.

Posted Image


I had preheated a 6 qt pot full of water to 165 F. Place a saucer upside down in the bottom. I placed the bag in the water which soon cooled to 159 F. after 15 minutes it dropped to 152 F and remained there with the burner set to low.

I folded the top of the bag over the edge of the pot to minimise evaporation.

Posted Image

Internal temp reached 140 F at 90 minutes and 150 F after 2 hours 45 minutes, the bag is also trying to float I weighed it down.


Now what? how long should I keep it there? Help?

#24 KatieLoeb

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 09:36 PM

My no fail method that has served me well with roast beast is to trim up the roast (take most of the fat layer off the outside), rub it with meat tenderizer and whatever spices I wish to season it with that day and place it on a V-rack in a roasting pan. I place 1 can of beef broth in the bottom of the roasting pan with any aromatic vegetables I may wish to. I place a meat thermometer into the roast and place the pan in a pre-heated blazing hot 475 degree oven for 15 minutes to sear the outside of the meat. I then lower the temperature to 375 degrees and roast the meat until the thermometer says 130-135 degrees internal temperature. I baste the meat every 15-20 minutes while it's cooking with the broth and drippings in the pan. I add some water if the broth has evaporated too much.

That's it. Works every time and I have perfectly medium rare roast beef. I make gravy out of the pan drippings deglazed with more stock, red wine or whatever I have handy. I'll run the drippings and yummy bits through the blender with the pan vegetables if I want a thicker, more flavorful gravy.

Unfailingly works for me.

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#25 eatrustic

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 10:07 PM

Katie : What is the cut of beef you use? And does using meat tenderizer the same day really make a difference for such a thick cut or is it just wishfull thinking?

At this moment (inspired this thread) I have a 3 lb. Chuck Roast simmering in the oven that was browned first and then surrounded with sauteed onions, fresh fennel, roma tomatoes, garlic, a touch of red wine and enough water to bring it to the 2/3 mark.
I will probably save it for tomorrow, as with anything braised it's always better the next day. This will make a dynamite pasta as leftovers!

I had not realized that the Chuck Roast cut is the same as for beef short ribs.

#26 ChefCrash

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 12:06 AM

Well..

The bag (roast) was removed out of the bath after 6 hours 45 minutes.

Can already see a lot of liquid had escaped the meat. Total weight still 3 lbs.

Posted Image

Looks good. Lots of liquid lost though.

Posted Image

Here shows the roast weighing 2lb 3.75 oz.

Posted Image


Liquid lost 11 oz.

Posted Image

This waaaaay... contradicts what was said in the http://forums.egulle...showtopic=40548 thread.

What gives?

The roast is cooling in the fridge. Will make sandwiches tomorrow.

Edited by ChefCrash, 12 December 2005 - 12:20 AM.


#27 KatieLoeb

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 01:10 AM

Katie : What is the cut of beef you use? And does using meat tenderizer the same day really make a difference for such a thick cut or is it just  wishfull thinking?

At this moment (inspired this thread) I have a 3 lb. Chuck Roast simmering in the oven that was browned first and then surrounded with sauteed onions, fresh fennel, roma tomatoes, garlic, a touch of red wine and enough water to bring it to the 2/3 mark.
I will probably save it for tomorrow, as with anything braised it's always better the next day. This will make a dynamite pasta as leftovers!

I had not realized that the Chuck Roast cut is the same as for beef short ribs.

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I usually use an Eye Round or Bottom Round roast. I put the tenderizer and seasonings on the meat when it comes out of the fridge and then let it sit for about 30 minutes until I bung it into the blazing oven. Seems to work just fine. Sometimes if the meat looks a bit stringy or tough I'll poke it all over a bit with a fork to get the seasonings down into it. If it's really lean I'll sometimes give it a light spritz with some olive oil out of my Misto canister so it doesn't dry out completely. Usually the basting takes care of that though.

I dunno. I suppose it seems deceptively simple but this method always seems to work for me. I've even made roast beef as "company" dinner and folks have always seemed to like it.

Katie M. Loeb
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#28 jackal10

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 02:03 AM

Chefcrash:
Great pictures!

The problem is the temperature. If you want the meat to retain moisture and stay reasonably pink don't take cook it so hot. It really should be arounf 130F( v.rare), and not over 140F (medium) depending just how raw you like it.

Edited by jackal10, 12 December 2005 - 02:05 AM.


#29 Marlene

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 05:32 AM

For roasting beef, your cuts should be prime rib or sirloin. All others should be slow cooked including brisket.

When roasting, I always keep the temperature lower; 325 for regular oven, 300 for convection. I pull the roast at 118 - 120 for rare and 125 for med and let it stand for 15 minutes or so.

For the tougher cuts, marinading before cooking can certainly help, but the low and slow cooking of three to four hours in some braising liquid (not covered, but coming about 1/4 to 1/2 the way up makes for a very tender piece of beef.
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#30 project

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 08:11 PM

ChefCrash,
<br><br>
Nice work and documentation.
<br><br>
I have a conjecture that would say that you should have let
the meat cool in the bag with the liquid, that, as the meat
cooled, it would absorb a significant amount of this liquid
and, when sliced and eaten, be more juicy.

What would be the right food and wine to go with
R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?