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Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 8)

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Has anyone cooked beef shanks? I am wondering if I should treat them like short ribs (56C for 48 hours).

Ideas?

[Moderator note: The original Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Sous Vide: Recipes, Techniques & Equipment (Part 7)]


Edited by Mjx Moderator note added. (log)

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Treated the same as most tough cuts I do 73c for 48 hours produced a tender awesome boned beef shank. Picture was from my first attempt, I've since adjusted for just a more of a medium rare.

4795887864_61099fc342_z.jpg

So my Sous vide magic is off by a crazy 15c. I am not the most tech savvy guy, any of you SVM guys know how to fix?


Edited by ScottyBoy (log)

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PedroG   

. . . . .

So my Sous vide magic is off by a crazy 15c. I am not the most tech savvy guy, any of you SVM guys know how to fix?

Sounds like a sensor failure, so try another sensor. Some sensors survive submersion for years, a few fail after some time, as moisture creeping into the mantle-tube causes a short-circuit. Sensors may last longer if you take them out of the water when not in use.

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Damn, it came with two and I figured I would try that but can't find the other.

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dougal   

. . . . .

So my Sous vide magic is off by a crazy 15c. I am not the most tech savvy guy, any of you SVM guys know how to fix?

Sounds like a sensor failure, so try another sensor. Some sensors survive submersion for years, a few fail after some time, as moisture creeping into the mantle-tube causes a short-circuit. Sensors may last longer if you take them out of the water when not in use.

Sensor is the most likely failure. (And the cheapest part to replace.)

Note that different vintages of SVM take different probes. Its VERY important to get the right one!

If in ANY doubt, email them before ordering a spare.

You should be able to do a "sanity check" on your kit by dialling in blood heat, say 100F or 37C, and once the bath is stable, test it with a clinical thermometer. You'd expect the bath to be somewhere within range ... :huh:

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Treated the same as most tough cuts I do 73c for 48 hours produced a tender awesome boned beef shank. Picture was from my first attempt, I've since adjusted for just a more of a medium rare.

Retarding the ones you made the adjustment to, did you cook them at 73C? I have some incredibly meaty shanks in my freezer from a grass-fed cow I just bought and I sure would love to use them for something other than soup (which is the ONLY thing I know to do with beef shanks). How did you prepare/serve them? Thanks.

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Oh yes yes, I meant that 73c is my final new way of doing them. I bone them out and reserve the bones for stock and heavily salt before sealing. Recently I've taken to charring them on the grill afterwards with veggies and making a simple chimichurri to pour over after carving.

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Treated the same as most tough cuts I do 73c for 48 hours produced a tender awesome boned beef shank. Picture was from my first attempt, I've since adjusted for just a more of a medium rare.

So my Sous vide magic is off by a crazy 15c. I am not the most tech savvy guy, any of you SVM guys know how to fix?

Is that 73C minuse 15C to adjust for the bad sensor or is that actually 73C?

73C (163.4F) seems pretty far from medium let alone medium rare (to me 56C is already moving from medium rare towards medium).

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I think I'm losing my mind from the last couple posts... Ugh, yea all the temps I've been writing down are adjusted for my broken sensor, 53c is the true temp. Thanks for catching me in my temporary madness :wacko:

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dougal   

Slow cookers ("crockpots") are available fairly cheaply. But they are far from ideal.

Generally a bit small and shallow. A deeper bath, allowing the bags to sit vertically, is a better choice.

One advantage that crockpots do have is that their heaters are quite weak. The low wattage means that it is possible to switch them with the relay built into some 'temperature controllers' without frying the relay.

However, relay control via a 'dumb' controller isn't going to give great control.

Better to get a PID controller with autotune and SSR-controlling output, an SSR (Solid State Relay) to do the switching safely and without any fuss (and as frequently as you care to dial in - mine is 'on' for a variable proportion of a 2 second cycle), and ideally your PID will have the option of using a more accurate "PT100" probe, so that's the type you'd choose (do make sure its "fully immersible" - works under water!)

For example, if you went to Auber, you'd likely end up with less cost* than the $90/95, dumber, less accurate, less stable (but simpler) controller suggested by the Gizmodo author. And you'd be able to switch more powerful heaters ... Or to avoid the assembly, go up from Gizmodo's $90/95 to $139 and get the $139 ready-built sous vide controller

* $45 for the PID, $26 for the SSR & heat sink, $16 for the PT100 probe, making $87 total

While the Gizmodo rig could work, you could do much better, either with better components for the same sort of price, or for the DIY-averse, even ready-made and in a nice case for not much more money.


Edited by dougal (log)

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Montreal   

Some more results from the lab.

Veal cheek again at 135F for 24 hours. Good texture but still a fair amount of Callogen.

Next test at 135 F for 36 hours and 48 hours.

Just got the book Sous Vide from Joan Roca and Salvador Brugués.

Cannot wait to explore the book over the weekend.

I will keep you posted on the next results

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nickrey   

Thanks for doing the tests, looking forward to the results. I take it the meat is all from the same source?

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Montreal   

Yes all the Veal Cheek are all from the same farm.

Now that I start looking at the book they suggest that( Veal Cheek) should be done at 68 Celcius for 18 hours... There we go, another test in the pipeline.

Stay tune.

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PedroG   

Dan,

thanks for doing all the tests!

Trying 68°C will be a valuable service to the community to verify the theoretical expectation that above 60°C there should be no collagenase activity and below 70°C there should be poor/slow collagen melting. I never did something of which I expected a poor outcome. Thanks again!

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nathanm   

Dan,

thanks for doing all the tests!

Trying 68°C will be a valuable service to the community to verify the theoretical expectation that above 60°C there should be no collagenase activity and below 70°C there should be poor/slow collagen melting. I never did something of which I expected a poor outcome. Thanks again!

The situation is nowhere near that clear.

First, there are many enzymes that affect tenderness. Some of those enzymes denature (and thus stop working) at various temperatures between 40C/104F and 70C/158F. However there do not seem to be any sharp cut offs.

Degrading collagen by enzymes is one of things that occurs, but the primary collagen effect is due to heat and water alone. Collagen does not "melt" in the usual meaning of the term. Instead it undergoes a process which has many names (hydrolysis, denaturation, gelatinization...) when heated with water, which converts it into gelatin.

This process starts at very low temperatures. Exactly how low is a subject of a lot of debate in the scientific literature. It likely starts just above normal animal body temperature, but the rate is very low. Most chemical reaction rates vary exponentially with temperature, so as the temperature gets low the rate becomes so slow that you must be very patient.

Many food science books make ridiculously wrong statements, saying that collagen does not undergo hydrolysis below 60C/140F. That can trivially be shown to be false by sous vide cooking at 55C/130F. You need to do it for a long time (24 to 72 hours), but it surely works, as people on this threat all know.

The 60C/140F number comes from a 1971 scientific paper, which just wasn't patient enough at the low end of the temperature scale. More recent work on collagen has shown that the effect starts at 50C/122F but likely goes even below that (but at a very slow rate).

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Montreal   

I agree with Nathanm.The statement that the calogen is not reacting or very little over 70 C is a myth as I did several experiment on Beef and Pork on temperature ranging from 74 c to 82 C and their was tons of Collagen reaction.

The best meat texture that I had so far are actually on Pork cheek for 12 Hours at 74 Celcius. This is why I might actually like the 68 C for 18 hours on Veal. We shall see

Ultimately converting all the calongen into gelatin might NOT be the Ideal meat texture and taste that someone is looking for. Personal preferences are hard to judge and consequently I think that part of the difficulty with sous vide is that their is so many variable to play with and everyone has it s own opinion on how they like their meat not only from a doness perspective but taste, texture etc...

I so far find that if I convert the most possible Calogen into gelatin in Cheek, the meat is very tender but also stringy and loose. Braising in a pressure cooker would actually give me the same results in a much faster time with similar meat texture. This is why experimenting is so much fun, as I am looking for the same tenderness of braising with a completely different texture and Doneness

As I am using sous vide: I am in constant search of a texture and taste that I could not duplicate any other way.

Thanks for sharing.

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nathanm   

I agree that the key to sous vide is achieving things not possible other ways. Pressure cooking is indeed faster if you don't mind what it does to the meat (grayness etc). Once you go to 70C or above that is pretty much a moot point so pressure cooking is a viable alternative.

Also, there is no one right answer. Short ribs can be good over a wide range of temps and times - you get VERY different results, but depending on what you are looking for it, any of them could be "ideal".

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Treated the same as most tough cuts I do 73c for 48 hours produced a tender awesome boned beef shank. Picture was from my first attempt, I've since adjusted for just a more of a medium rare.

So my Sous vide magic is off by a crazy 15c. I am not the most tech savvy guy, any of you SVM guys know how to fix?

I'd love to try this soon. I'm just wondering if there are any botulism concerns with cooking meat this long at a low temp? And would this 53c/48hr work for 1.5" pieces of beef shank?

Thanks =)

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PedroG   

1. I guess the "53°C" was a typo as 73°C minus the 15°C error yields 58°C.

2. 53°C/127.5°F is the growth limit of Clostridium perfringens, see FOOD PATHOGEN CONTROL DATA SUMMARY . 54.4°C/130°F is the limit for safe long-time cooking. See also FOOD SAFETY HAZARDS AND CONTROLS FOR THE HOME FOOD PREPARER .

3. Cooking at the minimal safe temperature requires reliable thermometer accuracy, see Thermometer calibration.

Treated the same as most tough cuts I do 73c for 48 hours produced a tender awesome boned beef shank. Picture was from my first attempt, I've since adjusted for just a more of a medium rare.

So my Sous vide magic is off by a crazy 15c. I am not the most tech savvy guy, any of you SVM guys know how to fix?

I'd love to try this soon. I'm just wondering if there are any botulism concerns with cooking meat this long at a low temp? And would this 53c/48hr work for 1.5" pieces of beef shank?

Thanks =)

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Speaking of shanks, just put up four lamb shanks at 70C for 48h. Used a rub with ras al hanout and Aleppo pepper, and added a mixture of chicken fat and butter that we had used for dipping artichokes earlier in the evening. Will report back.

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Very happy with the shanks, though I think I'll try 68C next time: the meat was just starting toward a drier texture, making me wonder what a tick or two lower would do. It was tender as the dickens, though...

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nickrey   

Very happy with the shanks, though I think I'll try 68C next time: the meat was just starting toward a drier texture, making me wonder what a tick or two lower would do. It was tender as the dickens, though...

I take it from your description that the collagen softened. Seems this temperature/time and collagen conversion thing gets me more and more confused the more I read and experiment. Roll on Nathan's book I say.

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The collagen definitely softened: the only remaining sinews were at the very base of the shank where the muscles become slender and the tendon connects.

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