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Troubleshooting help requested for sous vide beef


TdeV
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Had an excellent, tender, verrrrry slow cooked beef stew recently, so I thought I'd make it better.

 

Bought bottom round. Cut pieces quite large (1 1/2" x 2 1/2"). Seared them in hot grapeseed oil. Sous vide at 132⁰F for 28 hours.

 

Was tough and chewy.

 

What'd I do wrong?

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If you want medium rare beef stew (which is what you seem headed toward) you will need much longer times (72 hr would probably not be too long) at a temperature below 133°F, and you probably will want to start with a more tender cut. Once you get past insisting that it remain pink in the middle, you can go to a higher temperature and cut the time down. Oso bucco is a tough piece of meat (shank) that braises for a few hours at 200°F or so and represents the other end of the spectrum; fork tender and very flavorful with fully dissolved connective tissue. Between stew made with fillet and oso bucco there are a lot of other time/temp/toughness/texture combinations that are achievable.  I suggest you experiment in the middle of the zone.

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I see I was misreading Douglas Baldwin who says bottom round steak or round roast should be at 130F (140F for medium) for 48-72 hours. I suppose there's no trouble if I put the left overs in the slow cooker?

 

I have a second packet of cut up meat cubes which was cooked along with the first. So I should I cook it for an additional 48 hours, or, start the count from the beginning a cook it for 72 hours?

 

Next time, I should buy different meat? Which cut do you recommend?

Edited by TdeV
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I don't find bottom round to be terribly flavorful (compared to my favorite stew cut, chuck, anyway). But texture-wise you can make it work with the right time/temp combination. I wouldn't be inclined to serve bottom round---or chuck for that matter---rare. I think the texture is better at a medium or even medium well. So I'd take your leftovers and put them in at 140F-145F for another 48 hours.

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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