Sirloin Tip Roast Sous Vide

Finally caved to my curiosity on extended time Sous Vide  cooking after a heads-up from long time customer Joe L. during a recent beef delivery.  He extolled the results of 48 cook time on a grass fed Hay Creek sirloin tip roast from my farm. I’d discounted the effect of these long  (over 6 hour) cook times in the erroneous mindset of thinking the internal meat temperature would surely stabilize within that time and why cook longer? The reality is counter- intuitive and miraculous changes take place with extended time at relatively low temperatures: solving the ages-old  problem of creating a moist but tender roast from a relatively lean cut of meat.

I did some quick searching and discovered 2 sources recommending between 17 hours @ 137 deg F and 46 hours @ 134 deg F.  I wanted to test both  “pot roast” and a “leftover” cold cut serving scenarios so applied an herb rub to the roast before bagging ( 1 gallon freezer ziplock) and inserting a half-dozen garlic cloves around the perimeter. Trick for eliminating excess air from bag (prevents floating) is to suck it out with a small-diameter tube like that used for aquarium aeration. Pinch the tube near the corner of the bag while sucking the air out and progressively sealing the zipper.

Some important Sous Vide considerations: Basic Sous Vide is well covered in this video.  Curious to note that cooking in the 134 to 137 degree F  range for hours violates the crude rule-of-thumb advocated by every Dept of Public Health: to minimize food residence time in the 40 deg F to 140 deg F temperature window for avoidance of food safety (microbiological) issues. Consider testing the calibration of your Sous Vide device if you hope to achieve comparable results to others . Despite their tenth degree F resolution, they can easily be inaccurate by 2 whole degree F.  Test by immersing in  boiling water on the stove top and recording  the device’s temp reading.  Boiling point temp must corrected for your local altitude. This is then the “real” temperature which you can then use to offset your device setpoint to compensate for any inaccuracy. The long cook time also pumps a lot of heat and moisture into your house so wrap your vessel with a towel and cover the water surface.

Removed entire bag to refrigerator after 46 hours @134 deg F and cooled 7 hours before draining fluid surrounding roast to a saucepan for finishing as a gravy. Seared exterior of roast in smoking hot frying pan with a couple T-spoons lard to minimize internal temperature increase. Cut and rewarmed slice from the seared exterior and served on boiled potatoes w/ gravy. Amazingly tender, moist and mild flavored. The fluid “juice” in the bag surrounding the cooked roast is loaded with proteins (foams readily on boiling) and quite intensely flavored so does not benefit from much reduction prior to adding thickening agent (flour or starch).

Cold cut slices best served on mild white bread like burger buns accompanied by Dijon mustard. So incredibly tender it isn’t crucial to slice thinly. So delicate in flavor that it gets lost with horseradish and sourdough rye.

Next try will be with roughly half the cook time to regain a little ‘”chew” texture.


 

Organ Meats, Soup Bones, and Oxtail

Recipients of “Quarter”  size beef orders can elect to get 2 packages (meaty) Soup Bones (1-2 pounds each) and 2 packages Liver ( around 1 pound each) with each order for an additional 38 cents per pound Farm Pickup or 50 cents a pound Home Delivery.

“Half” size orders are eligible for double the above quantities, one (1) package oxtail (1-2 pounds) and either a single package of heart (3-4 pounds) or tongue (2-3 pounds).

You must explicitly request which you would like added to your order at least 3 days ahead of delivery date. They are not routinely included. The up-charges are only applied to the weight of the extra items you choose.


 

 

“What the Health” a Mockumentary

Piled -on by real scientists for it’s dubious use of the word “science” the producers have rightly post-labeled this film a mock-umentary. “We was just taken away on a lark”

Dr. (of psychiatry it turns out, NOT medicine, NOT nutrition, NOT genetics, NOT endocrinology, NOTHING which makes him ANY authority) Neal D. Barnard offhandedly negates decades of nutritional advances in this prankster-ish film with the outrageous statement: “Diabetes is not and never was caused by eating a high carbohydrate diet, and it is not caused by eating sugar.” Huh?  What about all the folks on low-carb and keto diets who have lost mountains of weight and “cured” their diabetes?  Sugar is to the  early 21st century as tobacco was to the Mad Men era except we’ve already heard the “It’s Toasted!” line.

Yeah, it would be nice if we could free all the farmed livestock but what would become of them? Sadly, like the “Rabbits: Pets or Meat” segment of Michael Moore’s documentary” Roger and Me” animals/people that have no economic significance to humans/corporations (shut-out Flint, MI workers to G.M.) soon cease to exist. The best way to love cattle is to do your best to support those that provide them a quality life experience and keep eating them to ensure their continuity.


 

Freezer Performance: Seals, Sensors and Alarms

Freezers quietly chug along in a basement or utility area and are easy take for granted – until they unexpectedly fail. This post is about getting a “heads-up” before a major loss.

Most freezes are NOT equipped with an actual internal temperature readout device or alarm. If yours has none then by all means at LEAST get one like this that has a wired sensor run thru the door seal and an external battery powered readout and audio alarm. You can use it both to adjust the freezer temp setting to the zero to 10 below F range best for beef storage and get an alarm should the freezer or power circuit fail.

Freezer “door seals” are a major performance concern. Accordion pleats and magnetic attraction allow the seal to compress and extend to close gaps of varying size. They are by no means a perfect “hermetic” seal and only slow down the leakage of internal cold/heavy/dry air OUT to be replaced by warm/light/wet room air leaking IN. This is why frost forms on the internal walls and coils. Frost represents the condensation and freezing of room air humidity (water vapor) on these cold surfaces. The more leakage the quicker it forms. Make sure your door seals are undamaged without excess crud in the pleats (particularly along the bottom seal of an upright style freezer) and are not age-hardened. Dirt and crud accumulation in the pleats restrict seal compression, slowly making that portion of the seal less compliant.

Chest freezers are less vulnerable to air leakage because the seal is all at a single elevation with a uniform internal air pressure behind it. Their seal pleats are oriented horizontally and don’t collect crud. Upright freezer seals are faced with a pressure differential between top and bottom due to the tall column of warmer-top and colder-bottom air they are holding in. The bottom seal tends to collect crud from inside the freezer box. Uprights are prone to leak OUT at bottom and pull IN at top.


 

Box Intro Price Special $6.95

sirloin works well too
Grilled Steak Salad w/Chile/Brown Sugar Rub: NYT Cooking. I used sirloin instead.

Box size (nominally 33 pounds) grass-fed beef packages specially priced at $6.95 per pound with discounted home delivery for a limited time. That’s  over 50 cents per pound off normal pricing! First-time customers only. See “Beef Packages & Pricing” for” Box” cut makeup. Limit one (1)  box per order/delivery address. Only PayPal (not mailed check) deposits received while this post is active will be eligible. Special flat total delivery charge of $7.00 per order/address. See “How to Order” on menu.  For Mpls/St Paul area home delivery on Nov 22  and Fargo area home delivery on Dec 15.


 

Availability and Delivery

Quarters , halves and  boxes newly available for  fall 2018 farm pick-up or Minneapolis/St Paul or Fargo metro delivery. Check the freezer and see if you need to replenish. Outdoor grilling season still has a few legs and indoor oven roasting and braising aromas in the air. See Osso Buco

Next Fargo delivery  Dec 15

Next Minneapolis & Saint Paul delivery Nov 22


 

Lisbon-Style Vinegar BBQ Sauce for Pork

If you’ve got a quality, slow-BBQ’d  cut with a delicate smoke for making pulled- pork this sauce is the way to go. Forget the gloppy, sugary, branded trash entirely. Doubles as a dressing for slaw! Add sparingly (1/2 to 1 Tablespoon per pound) to shredded pork and also serve on the side  as a dip for the sandwich.


 

Altered Reality of Fasting

I’ve completed two 72 hour fast episodes now- separated by 90 days- due to prompting from my low-30’s daughter Amanda. The idea was daunting for someone accustomed to regular meals but it turns out the normal , healthy human body is remarkably adept at managing energy intake and usage. For me the most difficult part was skipping that first mealtime. After that hunger was really no issue and increased mental acuity and an accelerated sense of the passage of time were remarkable. I spend considerable time cooking so had expected the time normally spent preparing and consuming meals to drag by while fasting. Not so at all!

I used a low-carb electrolyte replacement powder in water and went on with my everyday farm activities with seemingly more than normal intensity.  Sleeping thru the night was improved. Skipping the first meal was easier if another activity was planned to displace it.

Relevant links:    lifestyle.engineeering               healthline


 

Osso Buco Milanese

Thinking ahead a bit to cooler fall weather this trusty recipe comes to mind.  All ingredient except the shanks (use 2″ thick shank sections from your haycreek fractional beef orders) and saffron can be found at the Walmart but the results are world-class. Other than skipping saffron the only modification I use -to accommodate beef rather than veal shanks-is to double braising time to 3 hours in a covered pan in the oven at 325 F. Enlist aroma-motivated guests/family to stir the broth into the Arborio rice -the hardest part of the whole prep.


 

Grilled Steak Salad

This NYT Cooking recipe is actually pretty simple to put together and provides an opportunity to grill-up some rub/marinated steak. Sirloin worked great for me. Note that this recipe incorporates  all the separate flavors that make up common “Chili Powder” (chile, cumin, garlic, oregano, salt) so it may not be worth special-sourcing “Ancho Chile Powder”.

A lighter meal for hot weather. Great flavor combination.