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Joe Blowe

Sous Vide Chuck Roast: The Topic

26 posts in this topic

Perusing sous vide threads and blog entries here at eG and elsewhere, one is quick to note that chuck roast (also referred to as chuck steak) is usually one of the first cuts of beef prepared by the owner of a new SV rig. No wonder; its fat content and connective tissue makes for a tasty cut!

Please feel free to add notes and results from previous cooks, and tips or suggestions for future preparations.


So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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So, after years of research and bookmarking :rolleyes:, I finally broke down and bought a SideKIC. The next step was to get a smaller cooler than what I already had on hand. (An 8-quart Cambro has also been converted and put to use).

With everything in place, I jumped right in and picked up a 3 lb. chuck roast. As I was excited to get started, I skipped the trimming and removal of silverskin and such. I just lightly coated it with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder, and put it in at 131F/55C for 24 hours.

(I had read that salting meat before a long cook might have a “corning” effect, but it wasn't noticeable.)

At the end of the SV cook, I slid it right under our infrared broiler for 2 minutes per side. It was great! But, there's room for improvement.

Here's my next project: My sister-in-law has volunteered to host Christmas dinner at her place, and the guest list has grown to about 35 people! She's in desperate need of extra mains now, i.e. any type of roast meat, and I said I'd bring three chuck roasts to the party.

  • I'm thinking of taking the temp to 132F and cooking for 48 hours this time. There were some gristly parts on the last roast that could've used a bit more time in the bath. I'll season with some type of rub, less salt.

  • At the end of the cook, chill in an ice bath then refrigerate overnight.

  • Next day, open the bags and reserve liquid to make a jus.

  • Vacuum pack the individual roasts again, this time with salt. Put back in the fridge until drive time.

  • Before leaving the house, fill my larger cooler with 130F water, toss the bagged roasts in, and drive an hour to their house.

  • Upon arrival, fire up their grill and put some color on the roasts. Heat the jus, slice the browned roasts, and arrange in their chafing dish.

It sounds like a great plan on paper, but of course I'm worried about the second vacuum packing and water bath. I know it's pasteurized at this point, but is there any cause for concern? Maybe I should just keep them chilled until arrival, and then bring them up to temp when it's closer to dinner time?


So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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as your studies of "Chuck" continue, you will note that there are several muscles in this lump of meat, and indeed different places or at different times they may not be all the muscle groups.

they behave differently, and indeed taste different.

Ive done 130 x 72 and 130 x 48 +

some of these muscle groups became 'mealy' after 72. some were astonishingly good and tasty and folk tender.

good luck! keep a notebook on your studies and try to define the various muscles included in the "Chuck"

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So, after years of research and bookmarking :rolleyes:, I finally broke down and bought a SideKIC. The next step was to get a smaller cooler than what I already had on hand. (An 8-quart Cambro has also been converted and put to use).

With everything in place, I jumped right in and picked up a 3 lb. chuck roast. As I was excited to get started, I skipped the trimming and removal of silverskin and such. I just lightly coated it with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder, and put it in at 131F/55C for 24 hours.

(I had read that salting meat before a long cook might have a “corning” effect, but it wasn't noticeable.)

At the end of the SV cook, I slid it right under our infrared broiler for 2 minutes per side. It was great! But, there's room for improvement.

Here's my next project: My sister-in-law has volunteered to host Christmas dinner at her place, and the guest list has grown to about 35 people! She's in desperate need of extra mains now, i.e. any type of roast meat, and I said I'd bring three chuck roasts to the party.

  • I'm thinking of taking the temp to 132F and cooking for 48 hours this time. There were some gristly parts on the last roast that could've used a bit more time in the bath. I'll season with some type of rub, less salt.

  • At the end of the cook, chill in an ice bath then refrigerate overnight.

  • Next day, open the bags and reserve liquid to make a jus.

  • Vacuum pack the individual roasts again, this time with salt. Put back in the fridge until drive time.

  • Before leaving the house, fill my larger cooler with 130F water, toss the bagged roasts in, and drive an hour to their house.

  • Upon arrival, fire up their grill and put some color on the roasts. Heat the jus, slice the browned roasts, and arrange in their chafing dish.

It sounds like a great plan on paper, but of course I'm worried about the second vacuum packing and water bath. I know it's pasteurized at this point, but is there any cause for concern? Maybe I should just keep them chilled until arrival, and then bring them up to temp when it's closer to dinner time?

The biggest concern that I would have regarding your plan is the time required to reheat the roasts.

Because you didn't say, let me guess that your roasts are 40 mm thick. Then according to Sous Vide Dash, it would take about 1:30 to chill in an ice bath (shorter if you use my chilled vodka technique), then 4:00 hours to reheat to 131F in a 132F bath. If they are even thicker, the time would increase with the square of the thickness.

So I think it might be better to delay the start of your cooking to two days before Christmas (if you really believe that 48 hours is required -- I've always been happy with 24 hours for chuck), then throw them (still hot) in your cooler filled with 132 water, and drive to your sister-in-law's.

Then you can pour off the jus, dry the meat, and sear the roasts under the broiler per your original plan.

Alternatively, cook the roasts sous vide, sear them, and then slice them into smaller portions and package and chill them. Then the various slices can be reheated much more quickly. Maybe this wouldn't be quite a sexy as slicing a huge roast in front of everyone, but it would be a lot easier to serve 35 people.

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So I think it might be better to delay the start of your cooking to two days before Christmas (if you really believe that 48 hours is required -- I've always been happy with 24 hours for chuck), then throw them (still hot) in your cooler filled with 132 water, and drive to your sister-in-law's.

[...]

Alternatively, cook the roasts sous vide, sear them, and then slice them into smaller portions and package and chill them. Then the various slices can be reheated much more quickly. Maybe this wouldn't be quite a sexy as slicing a huge roast in front of everyone, but it would be a lot easier to serve 35 people.

I like the idea of cooking until departure, but I was concerned about the drop in temp over the ensuing hour-long drive (or two, if we make stops). If I pull the roasts out of the transport cooler and see the water temp was in the 120s, would there be cause for concern?

The other option occurred to me last night, but I did get caught up in the idea of "unveiling" SV roasts to the crowd and transforming them before their very eyes! However, usually everyone is either uninterested or distracted, and they just want food NOW! I'll make my life easy and go with that!

Question regarding initial cook temp: Any perceptible differences between 131 and 132 over the course of 36 to 48 hours?


So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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FWIW I usually do not talk about the cooking method to guests. Most don't care and the one who does usually asks questions I'd rather not answer. Like stuff about safety/new-fangled technique etc etc.

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I'm as usual at this hour confused:

who is the guest? guests cant post?

???

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...

Question regarding initial cook temp: Any perceptible differences between 131 and 132 over the course of 36 to 48 hours?

For a large group of people with varying tastes and not much experience with sous vide cooked food, I'd be cooking at around 57C (135F) rather than 55C.

I also agree with Bob. You've already pasteurised the meat after cooking and you will not be over four hours below 55C on your trip. Plus you avoid chilling and reheating.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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Question regarding initial cook temp: Any perceptible differences between 131 and 132 over the course of 36 to 48 hours?

I cook mine @ 132F for 24-26 hours. It comes out tender with the texture of a good prime rib. I use choice grade chuck roast. That is the sweet spot for my SV setup. I found anything over 26 hours and it starts to go from tender to mushy. I would imagine 48 hours in my setup would turn to mush.

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Thanks for the bump -- I forgot to report back!

It just so happens that I did 26 hours at 132F. I also did a post-sear, sliced and trimmed, and made a jus. There were no leftovers that night!

I do plan on coming back to this thread, once my new gear is up and running...

P.S. Today is my 10 year anniversary on eGullet. I may not be the most active poster, but I've learned a lot and use this website as my default reference guide. Thanks to everyone!


So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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What's the best bet for getting choice grade chuck roast? An experience with buck-a-pound chicken cooked too low gave me quite the upset stomach, so I'd rather not take additional risks cooking at just 132.

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What's the best bet for getting choice grade chuck roast? An experience with buck-a-pound chicken cooked too low gave me quite the upset stomach, so I'd rather not take additional risks cooking at just 132.

You can get choice grade at any supermarket. It will always say "choice" on the package. I get mine at wegmans since its always 3.69/lb there and they come vacuum packed. There boneless chicken breast are always 1.99/lb and come 12 portions individualy vacuum packed. There pork butts are always 1.29/lb....love that place. Now there more popular beef cuts are kinda pricey.

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If a little voice in your head wonders whether the sous vide movement and raw food movements are converging, listen. This may be blasphemy, and read to those who know as an uneducated palate, but I'm finding that higher temperatures taste better sous vide than they ever would by conventional means.

One should treat the sous vide tables as safety guidelines only, and rediscover what tastes best by extensive experiment. Painting the territory above 132 F as cowardice serving yahoo guests is really stacking the deck against an objective appraisal.

Of course, I love the more challenging cuts, like hanger steak.


Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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I have done chuck roast sous vide two ways so far.( 24 hours @132F and 24 hours @160F ) one was steak/prime rib like texture and the other shredded beef texture.

 

I am looking for something inbetween where it can easily be pulled apart but still slices nicely on the meat slicer. I also want most of the fat rendered and collagen gelatinous. I know this is a tall order but i figure someone here on egullet has found this happy medium via sous vide.

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I know you're looking for an experienced answer but why not split the difference and try 145 or play it safe and shoot for low 140s for 24hrs

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I know you're looking for an experienced answer but why not split the difference and try 145 or play it safe and shoot for low 140s for 24hrs

I would have just "wing'd it" a year ago, but for some crazy reason, chuck roast has gone up to $5.99/lb. This cut is no longer a poor mans sous vide prime rib. I can get ribeye for $6.99/lb. Its crazy.

 

If i buy an entire chuck roll i can get it at $3.99/lb so i am thinking of cutting the roll into 3 inch thick roasts and sous vide them for thin slicing on the meat slicer for open faced roast beef sandwiches and hot beef sandwiches..ect..ect.

 

So im just looking for a sure fire sous vide recipe. I mean, isnt that the point of sous vide cooking?

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Something to be said for experimentation.

 

For $12 you can get three lbs of meat and test 1 lb at 135, 140 and 145 F each. Or whatever you choose.

 

Brining may help for higher temps

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Something to be said for experimentation.

 

For $12 you can get three lbs of meat and test 1 lb at 135, 140 and 145 F each. Or whatever you choose.

 

Brining may help for higher temps

From experience, pork shoulder (butt) cooked for 24 hours @145F does not render fat and break down collagen. So i am hesitant at that temp, aleast in ther 24 hour time frame. I am also a bit concerned that parts of the chuck roast would have a saw dust mealy texture for longer then 24 hour cooking times.

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the only thing I can add is Ive had trouble w consistent results > 24 hours w beef chuck 'roast'   some roasts had mealy muscle groups > 24 hours

 

and some did not.  I think the quality and age of the meat in this category is quite variable.   i gave up doing whole chuck roasts SV due to this and went for

 

individual muscle groups, one at a time.

 

this does not answer your question, but I like the idea you are sticking with 24 are your time.

 

personally I like the 'steak' taste better than the 'pull apart' texture.

 

again, Id like to hear about what you end up doing and your review

 

pics if you got 'em are always nice

 

best of luck

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Wow, $6/lb sounds like poor-man's prime rib to me.

 

In response to Rotus finding the chuck inconsistent from part to the other, it can be helpful to specify the chuck-eye. that way you're mostly getting the prime-ribish muscle and not the other (myriad and assorted) ones.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

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true

 

but even chuck-eye seems to vary from counter to counter and case to case

 

one just has to learn to look at the meat in the meat case.  each piece varies from it'd neighbor  

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Wow, $6/lb sounds like poor-man's prime rib to me.

 

In response to Rotus finding the chuck inconsistent from part to the other, it can be helpful to specify the chuck-eye. that way you're mostly getting the prime-ribish muscle and not the other (myriad and assorted) ones.

Not when choice grade ribeye cost $6-$7/lb on sale and goes on sale a lot. Choice grade Chuck roasts rarely goes on sale. Maybe choice grade is beneath you, but not everybody can afford prime grade.

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I don't see this as Beneath nor Above

 

I see this as a target price and then you work with that.

 

I personally do my best to buy by 'sale' simply because it been a long while since I looked in really good CookBook

 

which I owed, and make a specific RX and went to get those ingredients

 

this is not good nor bad.

 

now I get 'whats on sale ' and work with that

 

I can think, just for me, better things to do with that difference of $$

 

and indeed it's just Id rather not support  ConAgra nor AgraCon.  this is not political.

 

I do really believe, if you are into Beef

 

Costco or in my area   BJ's is the way to go

 

BJ's does not seem to have the 'prime' beef Costo has

 

but I can go there ' from time to time'

 

less said about that the better.

 

Sooooo

 

it you need reams of TP and other papery stuff

 

and there is  Costco near you

 

That's what Id do

 

why ?  

 

lots of time to think of more interning stuff.

 

BTW  I think Costco and BJ's have gallon drums of Mayo Helman's !

 

no worries

 

I might have more than a gallon on my floor right now

 

single serving size :  One Quart.

 

 


Edited by rotuts (log)

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Not when choice grade ribeye cost $6-$7/lb on sale and goes on sale a lot. Choice grade Chuck roasts rarely goes on sale. Maybe choice grade is beneath you, but not everybody can afford prime grade.

 

Still a lot cheaper than anything I see. Must be a totally different economy. I'd be rather suspicious of anything called prime rib in the developed world being sold for $6/lb, regardless of the nominal grade. 

 

If I saw nice looking chuck for $6/lb, I'd happily sous-vide it. And I'd 100% think of it as poor-man's prime rib. 

 

Another angle on the prime rib: imagine what you'd have to do to raise a steer so cheaply that you could sell the most desirable parts for $7/lb. The thought makes me extremely uncomfortable.

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To your original question, unfortunately I can't think of anything better than winging it and splitting the difference. I checked the tough-cut texture tables in the MC books, and they don't have anything on chuck.

 

And I'm not sure what kind of flaky or pull-apart texture would work on a meat slicer. I've never used one, but my impression has been that slicers are generally paired with tougher, more cohesive cuts—the final tenderness comes from the thin, across-the-grain cutting. Not sure how well a slicer would do on something that readily flakes apart, either from a slicing or eating perspective. 

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