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Sous Vide Chuck Steak Sour Flavor


FourMat
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Hi Folks,

I have been using the sous vide technique for about 2 years and I have consistently had an issue with cooking chuck steak/roast. A few days ago I cooked a 3 lb chuck roast, 135F for 48 hours, rubbed with dry rub reminiscent of one used for smoking (salt, paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and small amount of brown sugar). I ended up with a beautifully tender piece of meat that rivals prime rib, but the resulting flavor profile is distinctly sour. It doesn't seem to matter how the beef is spiced, it always seems to come out this way. The interior of the meat has a decent beefy flavor, but the liquid is very "tart". Has anyone else run across this issue? Is this just a super concentrated intense beef essence?

I'm not calling it a "problem" per se, but I don't feel that I can use the runoff liquid as au jus because the flavor is so strong, and I'm at a loss as to what else to do with it because a reduction would only intensify it. Can anyone recommend a possibly solution? Any guidance would be appreciated.

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I am using a my own home brew version originally posted on the original Seattle Food Geek DIY Sous Vide construction. This is my second refined build which uses a PT100 temp probe accurate to 0.1 degrees. I have calibrated the probe and have a high confidence level that it is running accurately. (verified with known temp probes).

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as I understand it: you are using the above rub. The inner meat tastes different/better than the exterior.

If this is the case, its probably the rub.

i do SV chuck all the time. and turkey. I use this:

http://www.cfsauer.com/products.asp?id=24

Prime Rib & Roast Seasoning, RUB (00575) (3.5 oz. jar)

$1.40

Now 50% Off!

Reg. $2.80

its my favorite rub for "Roast Beef" taste. oddly do to the rosemary and sage, its outstanding on both white meat and dark meat Turks.

change you rub and try again?

it might be the paprika. if not really 'fresh' I can see that at 48 hrs becoming somewhat sour.

Edited by rotuts (log)
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If you're getting a sour flavor, that suggests that you are growing some kind of bacteria in the bag that produces acid. This could be from the spices or it could be from the surface of the meat. Why don't you try thoroughly searing the outside of the meat before bagging it, and don't use any spices. Then cook as normal and see whether you still get the same result. If you don't have the sourness after doing this, that tells you something.

--

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If you're getting a sour flavor, that suggests that you are growing some kind of bacteria in the bag that produces acid. This could be from the spices or it could be from the surface of the meat. Why don't you try thoroughly searing the outside of the meat before bagging it, and don't use any spices. Then cook as normal and see whether you still get the same result. If you don't have the sourness after doing this, that tells you something.

I agree. Another thing to watch for is gas in the bag, which is a sign that bacteria is present. There should be nothing but solid and liquid in the bag, even after long cooking. If there is a bubble of gas at the top of the bag, you'd be well advised not to eat the contents.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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If you're getting a sour flavor, that suggests that you are growing some kind of bacteria in the bag that produces acid. This could be from the spices or it could be from the surface of the meat. Why don't you try thoroughly searing the outside of the meat before bagging it, and don't use any spices. Then cook as normal and see whether you still get the same result. If you don't have the sourness after doing this, that tells you something.

I agree. Another thing to watch for is gas in the bag, which is a sign that bacteria is present. There should be nothing but solid and liquid in the bag, even after long cooking. If there is a bubble of gas at the top of the bag, you'd be well advised not to eat the contents.

Not to nitpick, but don't some longer cooks, at higher SV temps like 70+ sometimes result in phase change puffing up the bag a little? My briskets almost always have a small bubble in the corner of the bag after 24 hours, but there are no off flavors or odors (of course, I keep the bags weighed down so they remain fully submerged).

Edited by GlowingGhoul (log)
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Ive had small bubbles sometimes. Im fairly sure they were there from the beginning --- sometimes a small amount of air gets trapped in the lower corner area when the meat fills the bag side to side. I try to 'massage' it out before the seal but this does not always seem possible.

flavor and opening aroma's were always fine. this is only a small bubble.

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Well, admittedly I do tend to use paprika a lot on my red meats so that might be the common thread throughout. Next time I will just use plain salt/pepper. I'm still getting used to accounting for a flavor difference in various foods and spices when used sous vide (ie raw garlic)

There wasn't a gas bubble in the bag, and I have it restrained to keep it submerged. The only time I've experienced a gas bubble was when heating to 170F+. I'm pretty conscious of the safety considerations with sous vide, so I don't beleive it was a bacterial issue.

I have done a lot of other dishes, from fish to poultry to sausages to veggies, and I'm a huge believer in the technique. My god, the thanksgiving turkey was incredible.

I have read a lot about but haven't actually searing pre-bagging. I was under the impression that the camelization flavors ended up being negated during the long cooking process. Has anyone else had success with this? I have been searing post sous vide to varying degrees of success, but have never really had an end product that had the depth of flavor that grilling alone produces.

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Not to nitpick, but don't some longer cooks, at higher SV temps like 70+ sometimes result in phase change puffing up the bag a little? My briskets almost always have a small bubble in the corner of the bag after 24 hours, but there are no off flavors or odors (of course, I keep the bags weighed down so they remain fully submerged).

If it's quite small, I guess it's probably OK. But it's one more warning sign. Certainly in combination with an odor, I would not eat it.

[Edited typo.]

Edited by vengroff (log)

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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I think it may be as vengroff says. Once I cooked a a roast that went bad (smell, puffed bag.....). The suggestion I had was to dunk the meat in boiling water for a minute or two to kill any surface pathogens. Since the interior is sterile all you need do is get the ones on the outside. If I have any concern, that is what I do now. Since the rub or spices will diffuse in the cooking liquid excreted by the meat, I don't rub them in, since your hands or board might be a source for bacteria.

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