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Cooking meat in a Pressure Cooker


thampik
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Of late, I have been seeing chefs in the UK advocating the use of pressure cookers to cook cuts of meat that typically need long slow cooking. Inspired to give this a try, I decided to adapt a recipe from Sat Bains (a Michelin 1* chef) for braised shoulder of mutton to use two different cuts of lamb - shoulder and shank.

(It was probably a daft time to try an experiment as this needed to end up as dinner for nephew's birthday tonight, but nothing ventured etc..!)

I seared the shoulder (700g) in the pressure cooker base, added 750ml chicken stock, brought the cooker upto pressure and put the whistle on. At this point, I started getting a twinge of unease - the recipe is for 2 Kg of mutton and needs 45 mins at full pressure, would lamb require the same? - and decided to google. I kept seeing various warnings against overcooking, but was unable to easily find a table that showed cuts of meat, weight and times to use.

After about 10 mins at full pressure, I bailed out and took the pressure cooker off heat and let it cool down. When I opened and checked, the lamb seemed to be more than halfway there. Rather than risk dinner, I decided to finish it off over the hob on a low flame for another 2 1/2 hrs.

Do you use a pressure cooker to cook meat?

Is there a rule of thumb that you use to decide how much time a specific cut of meat requires? How do you adjust this for weight? How much liquid do you use per kg of meat?

Does any/all of this vary according to the type of pressure cooker that you have (mine has a whistle)?

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Hi Thampik --

I just recently got a pressure cooker, and my suggestion is getting one or two pressure cooker cookbooks and using them as a reference for timings. It is hard to generate a rule of thumb because factors like whether the meat is in small chunks of a big piece, and whether it is on the bone or off, will make a big difference. For what its worth, the book I referenced suggests 28 minutes at high pressure plus natural release for lamb shanks. The book is Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass, and has yielded a whole bunch of fantastic recipes. Her book does have tables and charts in it...

In addition, as I understand it the amount of liquid shouldn't depend on the amount of meat, but instead on how long you're going to be cooking it for. I believe one of the books I have says a minimum of 1/2 a cup of liquid per half hour of cooking time. I don't think this should vary much by the type of pressure cooker, though if you have one that vents a fair amount of steam while it cooks (as the old weighted gauge ones do), you may need more liquid...

Emily

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I seared the shoulder (700g) in the pressure cooker base, added 750ml chicken stock, brought the cooker upto pressure and put the whistle on. At this point, I started getting a twinge of unease - the recipe is for 2 Kg of mutton and needs 45 mins at full pressure, would lamb require the same? - and decided to google. I kept seeing various warnings against overcooking, but was unable to easily find a table that showed cuts of meat, weight and times to use.

The biggest danger when braising meat in the pressure cooker is using too much liquid - then you end up boiling it. The meat itself also releases liquid and there is no evaporation - as you probably discovered when you opened your pressure cooker and found probably 1lt of liquid! I always recommend using the minimum amount of liquid (maybe just a touch less) to compensate for the liquid the meat releases.

The worst thing that can happen with meat in the pressure cooker (which does not become tough or dry when overcooked) is that it can be so tender that it falls apart - so you would no longer have a roast.

Is there a rule of thumb that you use to decide how much time a specific cut of meat requires? How do you adjust this for weight?

Yes, and no. Pressure cooking time of meat does not depend on the quantity, but the density (i.e. cut). If you see that the cooking time for lamb roast is 15-20 minutes (as noted in my timing chart http://www.hippressurecooking.com/p/cooking-times.html) the it would still be the same amount of time if you can fit two, or even three lamb roasts in your pressure cooker. What changes, is the pressure cooker's time to reach pressure - being more full means that more contents have to reach the boiling point, to vaporize liquid and have it begin to reach pressure.

You would only have to increase the cooking time if the roast is abnormally large - hence more dense.

How much liquid do you use per kg of meat?

The amount of liquid, depends on the cooking method you want to use: Steam Roast (with a trivet), Braise, Stew and Boil each need progressively more liquid to cover the meat in varying degrees.

Does any/all of this vary according to the type of pressure cooker that you have (mine has a whistle)?

Yes, the "whistling" or weight-modifyed valve pressure cookers usually need more liquid than the modern spring-valve pressure cookers because they maintain pressure by releasing vapor. But there is no need for a fancy calculation. Just check your user manual to see the minimum amount of liquid required for your size and model of pressure cooker to reach pressure.

I also wrote an article on how to achieve "maximum velocity flavorage" with your meat using the pressure cooker. Here are my suggestions (at the top of the instructional recipe):

http://www.hippressurecooking.com/2011/02/lemon-and-olive-ligurian-pressure.html

I hope you find them useful!

L

hip pressure cooking - making pressure cooking hip, one recipe at a time!

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  • 4 years later...

I dont want to start another thread on pressure cooking beef so im just going to ask this here, hopefully someone has tried this. I remember watching a episode of MvF and the guy would take thin sliced roast beef and basicly stew it in the roast beefs drippings and juices. Im wondering how skipping the roasting part, and just taking raw tender beef like tenderloin and slicing it very thin (partially frozen) and marinating it for a few hours then pressure cooking it in some beef stock and some of the marinade. How long would it take? Something tender but not fall apart into pulp.

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I'm thinking beef would be better browned...but try it and report back.  Though myself, I would not put tenderloin in the pressure cooker.

 

By the way, I'm having some pressure cooked and braised ribs tonight.

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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I'm thinking beef would be better browned...but try it and report back.  Though myself, I would not put tenderloin in the pressure cooker.

 

By the way, I'm having some pressure cooked and braised ribs tonight.

Tenderloin was just something i had in my freezer that needed to get used up. I went with 5 minutes high pressure. I'll be honest, i prefer hot beef sandwiches with processed deli medium rare roast beef. Something about that "stretchy" texture. Sorry i cant think of a better word.

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not under pressure, but 

 

""  deli medium rare roast beef  ""

 

SV is fantastic for deli replacements of very kind.

I have made SV medium rare roast beef many times. Sliced very thin on my hobart. Still never has that "stretchy" pull to it.

Its obviously due to being processed, and i dont care, i like the taste and texture.

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I know exactly what you mean.

 

however, sirloin tips  ( on sale of course ) 131 x 6 wtih seasonings sliced thin is about as beefy as it gets for me !

 

$ 3.49 is my strike price.   Penzy's ( original, not cloned ) Chicago Steak  and Sauer's Prime Rib seasoning make the

 

the killer stuff.

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As a general rule of thumb I'd divide braising time by 3 to achieve the at-high-pressure cooking time.

 

So, skinless chicken breasts can pressure cook in about 5 minutes, thighs in about 10-11 minutes, brisket/pork belly in an hour, etc etc.

 

Better to undershoot and finish with an open pot than to cook it to death.

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On the original post -- I regularly pressure cook beef short ribs and beef oxtail.  I totally would pressure-cook lamb shanks, although I have not done so.  I do the beef braise cuts for about 45 minutes; my machine is an ancient luddite Presto.  I love it; for most of my adult life,  it was my sole "gadget", and I came to view it as indispensable for me -- a person with a full-time non-cooking job, and a need for full meals at both lunch and dinner.   

 

I use a comparatively small amount of liquid, and obvs any sauce is finished at the end.  I cautiously agree on the small amount of liquid, but having had the experience of too small an amount of liquid, and a near-explosion (oxtails, I don't really know what happened, but I was afraid, very afraid; it smelled like  . . . burning, or something; and then the pressure release valve blew.)  Sigh.  We all survived, and went vegetarian that night.   

 

On the tenderloin -- wow.  I like the stretchy-texture too, and didn't think it came from pressure cooking.  Interesting.  

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