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mjc

Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 5)

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Thanks, Peter, that's exactly what I've been looking for. I'm reading the forum every night, beginning on page 1, but I hadn't gotten that far.

However, that kind of a format isn't conducive to being kept up to date, or particular entries challenged. I'm not quite sure what to suggest -- maybe some kind of a moderated Wiki?

Maybe even a spreadsheet would work, if there were some way for multiple people to contribute and edit it.

For example, I defrosted a Morton's Tri-Tip roast (in the microwave) then cut it into quarters so it wouldn't be too thick to SV. The resulting pieces were perhaps 3-4 cm thick. I included some of the Chardonnay sauce from the package.

FoodType Doneness Time Temperature SpecialTechniques Comments

Tri-Tip PinkishRed 1:30 125F Incl. sauce from pkg A little tough

Tri-Tip MorePink 2:30 128F Torched after Still a little tough.

125F was a better degree of doneness, to my taste, but the next time I'm going to try four hours.

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FoodType    Doneness      Time    Temperature    SpecialTechniques      Comments

Tri-Tip          PinkishRed      1:30    125F              Incl. sauce from pkg  A little tough

Tri-Tip          MorePink        2:30    128F              Torched after            Still a little tough. 

125F was a better degree of doneness, to my taste, but the next time I'm going to try four hours.

At these temps, I don't think that 4 hours will provide significant tenderizing -- collagen breakdown happens pretty slowly at low temps.

I have consistently found that an unjaccarded tri-tip needs about 8 to 12 hours at 133F to become tender.

If you jaccard, you can get away with less time BUT you either have to cook at a time/temp combo that will pasteurize OR you need torch it before jaccarding.

I find jaccarded tri-tip cooked at 131F for 6 or 7 hours is pretty much perfect.

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e_gullet:

Duh! The Jaccard! Why didn't I think of that! Why did I buy it, if not to use it!!! And I should have done it after I thawed and cut the roast, before bagging and refreezing it. Head-banging!

But 6 to 7 hours is inconvenient, at least on a work day. It's either 1 to 2 hours, or 12 hours. Maybe somethings are better done in the oven.

Unless....

I could fill up the rice cooker with ice, put the meat in, and set a timer to turn on the controller four hours later.

Either that, or put up with a roast that may be verging on too tender.

Most of the discussion on everything from steaks to brisket and short ribs has focussed on the minimum time for tenderness. But what happens if that time is extended by another 4 hours (Tri-Tip) to 12 or even 24 hours (brisket, etc.)?

Also, I had been cooking to 131F, but after reading some of Nathan's posts, I've decided I like 125 better, at least for steak. What is your doneness preference when you say 131, and is that only for a Tri-Tip?

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e_gullet:

Also, I had been cooking to 131F, but after reading some of Nathan's posts, I've decided I like 125 better, at least for steak.  What is your doneness preference when you say 131, and is that only for a Tri-Tip?

I prefer medium rare (about 125) for meat, but it is not safe to cook meat at that temerature for more than 4 hours. Hence 131 is the lowest practical temperature at which to cook meat for a long time. If I'm just bringing a tender steak up to temp before searing I would go with 123 or so.

As for tri tip, I can't see it being "too tender" even after 24 hours although it will certainly be different.

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I could fill up the rice cooker with ice, put the meat in, and set a timer to turn on the controller four hours later.

Either that, or put up with a roast that may be verging on too tender. 

Most of the discussion on everything from steaks to brisket and short ribs has focussed on the minimum time for tenderness.  But what happens if that time is extended by another 4 hours (Tri-Tip) to 12 or even 24 hours (brisket, etc.)?

Also, I had been cooking to 131F, but after reading some of Nathan's posts, I've decided I like 125 better, at least for steak.  What is your doneness preference when you say 131, and is that only for a Tri-Tip?

For tender steaks like ribeye, I go with 127F to 129F and cook just long enough to bring it up to temp (but there is no harm in leaving it longer as long as you don't leave it there so long that it is in the danger zone). BUT tritip is not a tender steak. Anything that cooks over 4 hours needs to be cooked above 131F if you want to be safe. So you can't really cook to tenderize and have it be on the rare side of medium-rare. 131F and 133F are still in the medium rare range.

(If you are gauging my preferences, when I eat roast beef I like it on the very rare side of medium-rare.)

Cooking tri-tip for 12 hrs would be fine. I have done un-jaccarded tri-tip for 12 hours and it came out great. And I think at 131F that there won't be a huge difference between 6 hrs and 12 hrs. for the jaccarded tri-tip. For unjaccarded, I think 12 hrs (meaning anywhere from 10 to 14 or 15 hours) works well, but I personally find 24 hours too long for tri-tip even at 131 or 133F -- just a bit mushy in the mouth -- not bad but for my taste inferior to how it was when cooked for 12 hours (no jaccard).

You could do an experiment and torch then jaccard then cook the tri-tip at 125F for a couple of hours and see how it turns out. The jaccard might be enough for it to be tender even though only being cooked long enough to be brought to temp.

Anyway that is my opinion. Others may feel differently.

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Anyone have a fabulous sous vide technique (time and temp please!) for

making Bernaise sauce?

It's always a pain to be making a meal for guests, and trying to make a

perfect Bernaise at the last minute....

anyone done it?

or even just making the sauce the standard manner, substituting a water bath for the bain marie....if so what temperature for the watre bath?

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I remember reading that jaccarding a steak only made it 1-2% more tender compared with something like 23-76% more tender when allowed to cook for extended periods of time.

I would make bernaise in the classic way then bag it and keep it warm in the water bath at a a safe temp. Sorry I don't know what that temp is.

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Heart Surgeon, for my friend's birthday potluck last week, when I served the 48-hour brisket, I picked up a bottle of Wild Mushroom Finishing Sauce and a bottle of Bordelaise Sauce at Williams-Sonoma, and just dropped them in the warm water bath. People helped themselves to one or the other.

MAYBE I could have done better from scratch, but with a lot more work, and not under the serving circumstances.

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One of my absolute SV favorites is shellfish. Recently, I have made two dishes utilizing squid and lobster.

Salad of Squid and Hearts of Palm - Atlantic Squid, Fresh Hawaiian Hearts of Palm, Asian Pear, Squid Ink Sauce, Pepper Confetti, Mizuna Garnish.

This one is straight from "Under Pressure":

gallery_57905_5970_17492.jpg

I have reservations about saying that this dish is inspired by Thomas Keller, rather it's [almost] exact replica of a plate described and pictured in the "Under Pressure" Fish and Shellfish chapter. However, I added a few touches of my own, and replaced suggested nectarines with Asian Pears.

Squid was cleaned, sliced in ribbons, and cooked sous-vide @65C for 10 hours with thyme, rosemary, coriander, cumin, alspice, ginger and chilies. Original recipe does not suggest alspice and ginger, but I felt it'd be a nice addition.

Fresh hearts of Palm were sliced on a mandoline, pepper confetti was made from sweet baby red, orange and yellow peppers, squid ink sauce made with fresh squid ink, canola oil, mustard an yuzu - the latter being added instead of lemon oil Chef Keller used in his original recipe.

This is a very fresh, refreshing plate, albeit and perhaps not quite as refined as one would expect from Chef Keller, but it takes advantage of extremely fresh and unique ingredients, and capitalizes on the use of sous-vide texture of squid.

The second plate was a bit more of a free-style approach:

"Lobster and Squash, Vanilla Mousseline" - I got the idea during my lunch at "Per Se"

gallery_57905_5970_27208.jpg

Overall, it worked - I especially enjoyed making the "vanilla mousseline". Unfortunately, I was not able to find any red-fleshed squash - which basically ruined the dish for me. Lobster was cooked sous-vide at 59.5C with sweet cream butter, tarragon and spices - quite good.

Please see additional pictures on flickr


"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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Anyone have a fabulous sous vide technique (time and temp please!) for

making Bernaise sauce?

It's always a pain to be making a meal for guests, and trying to make a

perfect Bernaise at the last minute....

anyone done it?

or even just making the sauce the standard manner, substituting a water bath for the bain marie....if so what temperature for the watre bath?

Dear Dr.,

The Vanilla Mousseline this recipe is essentially Bearnaise with vanilla - I would be happy to give you a recipe and detailed technique, if you are interested.

Personally, I do not see a compelling reason to use sous-vide in Hollandaise-based sauce preparation, or to even hold the said sauces, however, in Creme Anglaise recipe /"Under Pressure" (p.252) Thomas Keller recommends dropping a bag with whipped yolks in 85C bath, reducing temp to 82C and cooking it for 20 minutes.

If I may make a suggestion: adding a touch of xanthan gum would considerably extend holding time of any Hollandaise-based sauce in either home or a restaurant kitchen.


"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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Tonight I picked up a 21 pound shoulder clod, and had the butcher separate it into three sections that I will cut up to suit tomorrow night -- flat-iron steaks, a cross-rib roast, "scrap" (normally used for stew beef and hamburger), and the fat trimmings.

My intention at the moment is to cut the flat iron steaks about 1-1/2" thick, add some dry-rub spice (probably mesquite, or Montreal steak), Jaccard them, and seal them in FoodSaver bags. Then, as required, I would cook them for 24 hours at 131F, per eMonster's suggestion, and sear them again, unless someone has some better recommendations.

(In this particular case, I watched the butcher remove the clod from the Cryovac, and cut up the primal cut after removing the fat. So I think there is a minimal chance that the exterior was contaminated, and hence I'm not afraid to Jaccard the pieces.)

I will probably cut the cross-rib roast into two pieces, somewhere between 3"x3" and 4"x4."

Now, how long to cook it? My inclination is to cook it for the same 24 hours, unless something thinks that would render it too mushy.

Finally, what to do with the "scrap."

I am thinking about cutting some of it 1" cubes, for use in Hungarian goulash, sauerbraten, or beef stew. Has anyone prepared these typically braised dishes sous vide, or have any thoughts?

For another portion of the five or six pounds, I might cut it into 1/4" dice, for making chili. Is it worth cooking this sous vide, before adding the traditional chili ingredients?

Another possibility would be to cut it into strips, for use for fajita steaks. Again, is there any merit at all in cooking this sous vide, prior to cooking the fajita steaks with the onions, etc.?

Finally, my last thought is to grind it for hamburger. I might or might not include some chopped onion, and probably some if not all of the fat trimmings.

Is there anything else that could be done with the beef fat, assuming I'm not into making candles?

Any other ideas or recommendations?

Bob

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Finally, my last thought is to grind it for hamburger.  I might or might not include some chopped onion, and probably some if not all of the fat trimmings.

Is there anything else that could be done with the beef fat, assuming I'm not into making candles?

Any other ideas or recommendations?

Bob

I would save and freeze the portioned trimmings and the fat separately. I would not grind or add any seasoning, especially a fresh, water filled veggie like an onion, unless for immediate consumption.

If you have a meat grinder of any kind, you can make your hamburger as needed, adding fat by weight to get your "85% lean" (or whatever) burger. You can also save the fat to add to other lean inexpensive cut that you might grind as well.

I would like to also ask about the beef fat. Can anyone comment about rendering beef fat? I render chicken fat with onions, and use it for various flavoring purposes. Lard is also usefull, as are bacon drippings - but I never hear about beef fat.

Stu

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I would save and freeze the portioned trimmings and the fat separately. I would not grind or add any seasoning, especially a fresh, water filled veggie like an onion, unless for immediate consumption.

I would instinctively tend to agree with you, but in trying to learn this new craft, I'm trying to separate fact from fiction, questioning assumptions, and asking WHY?

It is convenient to come home, throw a frozen package of two hamburger patties in the rice cooker for an hour or so while I'm doing other things, and not have to "fuss", so having the burgers pre-seasoned would be very convenient.

I can't see anything wrong with adding little BBQ rub and some Worcestershire. Now, if I grind some onion in it before freezing, what will happen?

The cells will probably burst when they freeze, but so what? Will the result become too mushy? If so, I suppose the solution would be to use freeze-dried onions (or a little Lipton onion soup mix) instead.

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My intention at the moment is to cut the flat iron steaks about 1-1/2" thick, add some dry-rub spice (probably mesquite, or Montreal steak), Jaccard them, and seal them in FoodSaver bags.  Then, as required, I would cook them for 24 hours at 131F, per eMonster's suggestion, and sear them again, unless someone has some better recommendations. 

Any other ideas or recommendations?

Bob

Dear Robert ,

If I may - I would strongly discourage you from cooking flat-iron steak the way you have described, and for several reasons.

First, flat-iron is a steak cut, and as such it simply does not need that long of a cooking time, just like fillet mingnon does not need to be braised in conventional cooking;

Secondly, you are about to put a piece of protein in a vacuum bag at 55C/131F, and bathe it for 24 hours, essentially creating a perfect medium for harmful anaerobic bacteria ( Thomas Keller in "Under Pressure" specifies that any protein held at temps below 60C for longer than 4 hours is to be discarded, as it is presumed contaminated - more in agreement I can not be, both as a physician, and as a cook).

My suggestion is to cook flat-iron steaks at desired temp/doneness ( my preference is medium rare @61-63C), for about 20-45 minutes, depending on the thickness, and flash brown the steaks in clarified butter, just prior to service.


Edited by MikeTMD (log)

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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Hi Michael,

I am confused as to your advice here - specifically the food safety aspect.

In Douglas Baldwin's excellent article:

Douglas Baldwin - A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking

He recommends cooking Flat Iron steak at 131F (55C) for 24 hours.

Both he and Nathan have stated many times that the requirement to cook meat at >60C is a myth and that the pathogens which could harm us are either neutralised or sufficiently reduced to no longer be a threat when the meat is cooked for an extended period.

If I understand it correctly - cooking meat at "dangerously low" temperatures is OK for up to 4 hours, but when going over 4 hours it needs to be by a wide margin (eg 24 hours). My further understanding is that this is OK for immediate consumption but extra precautions need to be taken for SV & Hold use.

I have some beef short ribs in the tank at 56C at the moment and by dinner time tonight they will have been in there for 48 hours.

Are you suggesting I am doing something dangerous?

Is all of the low temp / long time advice on this forum incorrect?

I need to know before I feed the family tonight.

Maybe Nathan or Douglas could comment.

Regards,

Peter.

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Mike, I do appreciate your suggestions/advice.

However, right now, I am torn between someone (eMonster) who has apparently tried this technique, vs. your concerns, which apparently have not been tested, due, perhaps understandably, to your concerns.

My personal observations to date are that cuts like chuck (which OUGHT to include flat-iron, since it is part of the same general section of meat), are relatively tough cuts of meat that require extended time to dissolve the collagen. Now, I may be completely wrong in this regard, and if so, I will certainly report that fact. If I ruin a single steak -- oh well, so be it.

Now, I can't agree that 61- 63C is medium rare, at least to my taste. It is medium, or worse. I think that 55C is medium rare, and 51C is verging on rare, and delicious. So there is no way that I am going to cook something to 61-63C (except maybe pork, because my wife doesn't like "pink".)

Now, as to the question of whether 24 hours at 55C is safe or not, I have seen the sometimes contentious exchanges between you and others on this list. Frankly, with all due respect to Thomas Keller, he is admittedly a great chef, and we certainly owe a lot to him, but it is not a microbiologist, and I doubt that he could compute a D60 reduction if his life depended on it. I hope I'm not insulting him.

Nathan Myvold and Douglas Baldwin, on the other hand, have a strong mathematical background, and CAN in fact interpret the existing scientific reports and even the FDA recommendations, and to date, I trust their time-temperature charts and statistics.

I am not disputing your credentials as a physician, but I don't know your speciality or your particular expertise in this field. I don't mean to insult you, but you could be a podiatrist, or a orthopedic surgeon, or a psychiatrist or speech pathologist, and in which case you might not know very much more about microbiology than I learned as a physicist and a former EMT.

For that reason, it if you can cite specific scientific reports to support your contention, I will be happy to try to independently evaluate them. At the moment, I am not inclined to accept your contention at face value.

Now, if I show up dead the day after tomorrow after eating the 24-hour flat-iron steak, my descendants will no doubt apologize to you on my behalf! :-)

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I am confused as to your advice here - specifically the food safety aspect.

In Douglas Baldwin's excellent article:

Douglas Baldwin - A Practical Guide to Sous Vide Cooking

He recommends cooking Flat Iron steak at 131F (55C) for 24 hours.

Both he and Nathan have stated many times that the requirement to cook meat at >60C is a myth and that the pathogens which could harm us are either neutralised or sufficiently reduced to no longer be a threat when the meat is cooked for an extended period.

If I understand it correctly - cooking meat at "dangerously low" temperatures is OK for up to 4 hours, but when going over 4 hours it needs to be by a wide margin (eg 24 hours).  My further understanding is that this is OK for immediate consumption but extra precautions need to be taken for SV & Hold use.

I have some beef short ribs in the tank at 56C at  the moment and by dinner time tonight they will have been in there for 48 hours.

Are you suggesting I am doing something dangerous?

Is all of the low temp / long time advice on this forum incorrect?

I need to know before I feed the family tonight.

Maybe Nathan or Douglas could comment.

Regards,

Peter.

Dear Peter,

Thank you for your reply.

For the record, I truly respect the work and research by both nathanm and Douglas Baldwin.

Also, I wouldn't go as far as as universally rejecting all low temp/long time advice - there are certain applications that from my standpoint are perfectly acceptable.

That said, my approach to SV is primarily utilitarian - I routinely ( in fact - daily) apply SV in my cooking, mostly for proteins and use it because of the qulity, texture and most important - taste of final product. Also, I have enormous respect for Chef Keller, and would take his kitchen-tested and well proven instructions over even the most accurate hypothetical calculations.

The point of cooking a steak-type cut SV, in my opinion is to achieve perfectly uniform temperature ( i.e. degree of doneness) throughout the protein, and, as a consequence to avoid overcooking. Why cook a steak for 24 hours , when all one needs is 20-30 minutes of SV cooking in a medium (water) just a few degrees warmer? "Steak" cuts do not have a lot of collagen we need dissolved, unlike short ribs or shanks, nor there is abundant fat to be rendered out.

You mentioned you are planning to cook for your family - personally, I would do for my family ( esp. if there are children involved) exactly what Chef Keller does for his guests, and avoid a risk of anaerobic contamination ( to which, again, children are more susceptible) altogether.

There are many participants in this thread, and there are many opinions - all of which deserve respect. My suggestions to you are based on first-hand SV experience and common industry standards, but whether to accept those is your individual choice, of course.


Edited by MikeTMD (log)

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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Mike, I do appreciate your suggestions/advice.

However, right now, I am torn between someone  (eMonster) who has apparently tried this technique, vs. your concerns, which apparently have not been tested, due, perhaps understandably, to your concerns.

My personal observations to date are that cuts like chuck (which OUGHT to include flat-iron, since it is part of the same general section of meat), are relatively tough cuts of meat that require extended time to dissolve the collagen.  Now, I may be completely wrong in this regard, and if so, I will certainly report that fact.  If I ruin a single steak -- oh well, so be it.

Now, I can't agree that 61- 63C is medium rare, at least to my taste.  It is medium, or worse.  I think that 55C is medium rare, and 51C is verging on rare, and delicious.  So there is no way that I am going to cook something to 61-63C (except maybe pork, because my wife doesn't like "pink".)

Now, as to the question of whether 24 hours at 55C is safe or not, I have seen the sometimes contentious exchanges between you and others on this list.  Frankly, with all due respect to Thomas Keller, he is admittedly a great chef, and we certainly owe a lot to him, but it is not a microbiologist, and I doubt that he could compute a D60 reduction if his life depended on it.  I hope I'm not insulting him.

Nathan Myvold and Douglas Baldwin, on the other hand, have a strong mathematical background, and CAN in fact interpret the existing scientific reports and even the FDA recommendations, and to date, I trust their time-temperature charts and statistics.

I am not disputing your credentials as a physician, but I don't know your speciality or your particular expertise in this field.  I don't mean to insult you, but you could be a podiatrist, or a orthopedic surgeon, or a psychiatrist or speech pathologist, and in which case you might not know very much more about microbiology than I learned as a physicist and a former EMT. 

For that reason, it if you can cite specific scientific reports to support your contention, I will be happy to try to independently evaluate them.  At the moment, I am not inclined to accept your contention at face value.

Now, if I show up dead the day after tomorrow after eating the 24-hour flat-iron steak, my descendants will no doubt apologize to you on my behalf! :-)

Dear Robert,

First and foremost - I hope we never have to deal with the latter scenario.

Secondly, microbiology is an integral ( and lengthy) part of MedSchool curriculum, and as such, I hope, deserves at least some of your respect.

I am away form home right now, but I will make the sources and studies available to you very shortly.

That said - are we trying to share SV cooking experience and tips, and make our food taste better? As such, and I base that statement on daily SV cooking experience: there is no advantage to cooking a steak for 24 hours - it's simply unnecessary, for the reasons I described above. However, if you come across a published recipe by a professional Chef in the course of your independent evaluation - please post it, it would be interesting to try it.


Edited by MikeTMD (log)

"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

***************************************

My flickr collection

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The point of cooking a steak-type cut SV, in my opinion is to achieve perfectly uniform temperature ( i.e. degree of doneness) throughout the protein, and, as a consequence to avoid overcooking. Why cook a steak for 24 hours , when all one needs is 20-30 minutes of SV cooking in a medium (water) just a few degrees warmer? "Steak" cuts do not have a lot of collagen we need dissolved, unlike short ribs or shanks, nor there is abundant fat to be rendered out.

I will let Nathan and Doug Baldwin speak about the food safety issues as they have done the research that many of us rely on.

As for this 'steak-type cut' business. Not all things that are called steaks are tender. Cuts like filet and rib-eye are tender cuts that need no additional tenderizing (in fact, in my opinion cooking them overlong results in mushy meat). However, not all cuts that have the word "steak" in them are tender. Tri-tip, flat-iron steak and chuck are cuts that are flavorful but not tender.

If you cook chuck to medium-rare as you would a ribeye, you will have a tired jaw by the time you finish eating. Despite having the word 'steak' in its name, chuck "steak" is a tough cut that in my opinion benefits from the tenderizing effects of temperature over extended periods of time. The amount of tenderizing depends on how tough the cut it. Flat-iron steak cooked for 24 hours (per Doug Baldwin's suggestion) has to my taste a really nice texture that it doesn't have when it is pan fried as one might cook a more tender cut like filet or ribeye.

It doesn't sound like you have ever eaten these cuts cooked for the length of time that we are discussing -- so, it doesn't seem that you are in a good position to judge the resulting taste and texture.

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Mike, that's fair enough.

Tonight we had some Tip-Tip (Morton's Chardonnay marinated) that was cooked for 12 hours. Whereas my previous trials with 1.5 and 2.5 hours at 131F showed that the meat was still tough, 12 hours was perhaps too much -- the meat was almost falling-apart tender (perhaps because of the marinade), although my wife loved it.

If in fact 24 hours for flat-iron is too much, I will certainly report that fact.

As to the micro-biology aspects, I will wait for your references.

Bob

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The point of cooking a steak-type cut SV, in my opinion is to achieve perfectly uniform temperature ( i.e. degree of doneness) throughout the protein, and, as a consequence to avoid overcooking. Why cook a steak for 24 hours , when all one needs is 20-30 minutes of SV cooking in a medium (water) just a few degrees warmer? "Steak" cuts do not have a lot of collagen we need dissolved, unlike short ribs or shanks, nor there is abundant fat to be rendered out.

.... Tri-tip, flat-iron steak and chuck are cuts that are flavorful but not tender.

If you cook chuck to medium-rare as you would a ribeye, you will have a tired jaw by the time you finish eating. Despite having the word 'steak' in its name, chuck "steak" is a tough cut that in my opinion benefits from the tenderizing effects of temperature over extended periods of time. The amount of tenderizing depends on how tough the cut it. Flat-iron steak cooked for 24 hours (per Doug Baldwin's suggestion) has to my taste a really nice texture that it doesn't have when it is pan fried as one might cook a more tender cut like filet or ribeye.

.....

It's hard to argue personal taste matters - flat-iron steaks to me do not need additional tenderizing, but it's clearly a matter of individual preference.


"It's not from my kitchen, it's from my heart"

Michael T.

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In light of recent posts, I'd better write this up just in case tonight's dinner kills me!

To start with - given the international conspiracy to call all meat parts by different names I have no idea what I cooked and ate tonight in terms familiar to the majority of the forum readers. Regrettably I took no photographs so the best I can do is try to describe the cut as it was when bought from the butcher:

I cooked what I may call 'beef short ribs", but given some descriptions I'm not sure we're all talking about the same bit of cow/steer.

Assuming that the strips of meat were sitting on their rib side they were about 12 inches long, 2 inches wide and a varying amount high (from about 1" to 2.5"). They were cut across the ribs and there was about 7 or 8 bone pieces per chunk of meat.

(Note deference to US folk who can't yet understand metric measures which we moved to about 40 years ago!)

Hope that makes some sense - if it does can somebody tell me what that is called in USA terms? (Many of my cookbooks call for things I can't even find definitive descriptions for on the net!)

I cut each of the pieces into 2 (between the bones) bagged and vacuumed them separately after tossing them around in a bowl with EVOO, sea salt (maybe the same as Kosher salt - but here in Australia we have very few Rabbis to prove it!) and black pepper.

Next was to put them into the Tiger/SVM contraption at 56C and leave them there for 48 hours.

I have cooked this cut of meat before and the only way to make it good (despite it's good flavour) is to braise it with lots of other ingredients for several hours.

Having no idea what to do with potentially tender rib meat I decided to do nothing complex so that I could taste the outcome of the first experiment.

I baked some potatoes, onions and pumpkin in large chunks for about 1 hour at 180C (350F).

When the vegetables were nearly done - I removed the ribs from the bath and seared them with a blow torch.

I then added them to the roasting pan and turned on the fan-force and roasted them with the vegetables for about 5 minutes.

Net result - amazing!

The flavour was similar to the complex taste you only normally get from a tough cut of meat, but the texture was about as good as a rib-eye or fillet steak!

SWMBO was impressed! (For those who've never seen "Rumpole of the Bailey", SWMBO means: "She Who Must Be Obeyed").

BTW - SWMBO takes some impressing - I already have an order to do this again - even though I've not begun to attempt any elaborate recipes based on the technique.

Now I'm after hints as to how to "dress-up" such a dish....

Cheers,

PB

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These were certainly the equivalent of what we call short ribs in the US. I now cook them exactly the way you described and no longer do the long braise. No worries, mate. You will live to cook many more ribs. If you feel the need to dress them up I would suggest a red wine reduction.


Ruth Friedman

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Well, I didn't see the part in Under Pressure where it says meat has to be cooked to 60C. It is very hard to believe that the book does say that because French Laundry and Per Se surely don't follow that rule.

So I am skeptical that this is the case. But, if it does say that then it is just flat wrong. You don't need to take my word, or Douglas' word for it - it's in the FDA and USDA documents.

Last month I met in person with FDA and USDA scientists in Washington DC to discuss these matters at length. Plus I have read all of the technical information about it in the scientific literautre, and at least a dozen books on the topic.

The unfortunate fact is that most of the food safety information that chefs and the public are taught are wrong. This situation persists primarily because in traditional cooking people don't worry about it very much - when you grill a steak everbody assumes it will be OK. When you cook the same steak sous vide, it is such a weird situation (like cooking for 24 hours at 55C) that it begs the question.

Another factor is that various authorities propose lots of safety factors - so instead of telling home chefs the the truth, they exaggerate what is required "just to be safe" - assuming that the home chef is incompetent, doesn't have a thermometer etc.

Many people have such a strong belief that the food safety things they were told are wrong that they have a hard time accepting what the actual scientific truth is. This leads to the strange situation where they can't accept the truth.

A lot of posts on this thread document that - people will make their first post and say "but this can't be safe!", or express a similar fear.

Saying that flat iron is a "steak cut" like fillet mignon is a bit weird for my personal taste. Try cooking flat iron side by side with fillet mignon and see what it's like!

Flat iron steak is a relatively tough piece of meat if cooked for a short period, and is relatively cheap as a result (often less than half or even a third the cost of fillet mignon). If served as steak after quick cooking it is usually served sliced thin across the grain to make it possible to eat, and even then it is chewy. I have never seen a restaurant serve a quick-cooked flat iron steak whole (i.e. so the diner has to do all the cutting), the way steaks are typically served. Instead it is usually served cut up into slices and fanned on the plate. People would send it back otherwise.

But hey, everybody has their own taste, so by all means cook it they way you prefer it!

To my taste when cooked sous vide for 24 hours at 131F/55C it is a fantastic piece of meat. You can go longer if you like (I have done up to 48 hours), or if the beef source you have is particularly tough. You can go less - I have tried wagyu flat iron at 12 hours.

Flat iron steak has a relatively high collagen content which is why it is tough, but that collagen then gives a unctious mouth feel when converted to gelatin by the long slow cooking.


Nathan

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Nathan, is the book close to publication?


“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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