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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. So onward to sirloin tip sous vide:

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.  This excellent source on the science of sous vide protein cooking indicates “These temperatures are not quite right: it is well known that food pathogens can only multiply between −1.3 °C/29.7 °F and 52.3 °C/126.1 °F…..”   Consider testing the calibration of your Sous Vide device if you hope to achieve comparable results to others and avoid food poisoning.. 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.

Update: Repeated process as above but for reduced time of 24 hours with goal of using for thin-sliced cold sandwich cuts. Result was much similar to a uniformly-cooked rare to medium-rare cut with good moisture and tenderness in the muscle fiber and a more “true” beef flavor but with little tenderizing transformation of the connective tissue. I actually prefer this to the prior 46 hour cook for cold-cut use with the only drawback being the more resilient connective tissue making thin-slicing with even a sharp knife difficult to control.


 

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Recipes Roasts

Homemade Pastrami

Pastrami is to beef brisket as bacon is to pork belly. The “Michael Symon’s Carnivor” recipe (on which I based this) uses a hybrid cook of dry smoke to 150 deg F internal followed by enclosing the brisket in a covered pan w/water (steam) cook to finish. I considered it a waste to cut short great smoke conditions for cheesy steaming so used apple wood chunks (for smoke) in an indirect heat Kamado grill setup with a cup of water in the drip pan (early steam) and allowed the grilling temperature to slowly increase from 225 deg F to 275 over 4-5 hours, removing the brisket at 180 deg F internal, foil wrapping and “resting” 1.5 hours in a towel-lined insulated “cooler”. My indirect Kamado set-up elevates the meat rack 3 inches with a 14 inch flat aluminum pizza pan “heat deflector”, 1/2 inch air gap and 12 inch deep dish pizza “drip pan” between the coals and the meat- blocking radiant heat transfer.

The result is firm, a bit on the dry side, and intensely smoky-salty flavorful. I sliced by hand (chef’s knife) so could only control to around 1/8 inch thickness. Firm enough to go half that thickness with a power rotary slicer. Steaming it prior to some uses might be desirable. Portioned slices into freezer gauge ziplock bags for future test of Symon’s “Fat Doug Burger”.

The 3 -day wet brine for a 5 pound brisket calls for 1 gallon water, 1.5 cups salt, 1/2 cup sugar, 8 tsp curing salt ( I used Tender Quick), 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup honey, 2 tbsp minced garlic and 1 tbsp Pickling Spice (next paragraph). Bring all to a simmer, cool, pour over brisket in non-reactive container , weight to submerge and refrigerate for 3 days.

Pickling Spice makes 1/4 cup (more than enough for a 5 pound brisket) and calls for 1 tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tbsp mustard seed, 1 tbsp coriander seed, 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 tsp allspice, 1 1/2 tsp mace, 1 1/2 tsp whole cloves, 1 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 small cinnamon stick and 10 bay leaves.

Remove brisket from brine, rinse in water and dry with paper towels before coating in a coarsely ground blend of a tbsp each toasted black peppercorns and whole coriander. Place in preheated smoker or grill setup and monitor internal temperature to desired done-ness. Steam or not: it’s your call.

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Recipes Roasts

Lisa’s Lazy Pot Roast in Clay

I’ve made this recipe a million times- mostly in cheap, oversized enamel roasting pans- whose loose fitting covers promote excessive dehydration. Thought I’d give my new Romertopf clay cooker a spin on this ol’ favorite. I’m sure any heavy, closely sized (roast should just fit) casserole or dutch oven with a tight lid would work as well. Adjust total roasting time for smaller/larger roast weights. My 2.7# Chuck was overdone to point of falling off bone though not dried out at 3 hours. Don’t be dismayed by the dark appearance of the roast exterior; it’s the rub! I don’t mess with the intricate “sauce” steps: just adjust the final broth addition so the natural pan sauce is of desirable consistency. I only added a quarter cup. The softened onions serve to bind the juices and preclude the need for reduction or thickeners. Let cool a bit in covered cooker before slicing or chunking to serve. Serve with potatoes/carrots etc cooked separately.

Lisa’s Lazy Pot Roast

Prep Time: 20 minutesCook Time: 180 minutesTotal Time: minutesServing Size: 6 From “The Complete Meat Cookbook” Aidells and Kelly

Ingredients

  •  1 tsp dried thyme
  •  1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  •  1 tbsp paprika
  •  1 tbsp kosher salt
  •  1 teaspoon Freshly ground pepper
  •  4 lb boneless beef chuck pot roast or beef brisket trimmed of excess fat
  •  2 tbsp vegetable oil
  •  1/2 cup water or beef or chicken stock or more if needed
  •  5 cups thinly sliced onion
  •  6 whole Garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
  •  1 pinch salt
  •  1 pinch Freshly ground pepper

Preparation

  • Flavor Step – Combine the herbs, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the meat thoroughly with the mixture. You can cook the roast immediately, but it will taste better if it sits for an hour or two at room temperature or overnight in a zipper-lock bag or, well wrapped, in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large, heavy casserole or a Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, about 7 minutes. Remove and set aside. Pour off any fat from the pan and deglaze the pan with the water or stock, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon or spatula. Put the roast back in the pan, cover it with the sliced onions and garlic, cover, and bake for 1 hour.
  • Remove the cover, turn the roast over so that it is on top of the onions, and continue to cook, uncovered, for another hour, adding more liquid if needed. Stir the onions around after about 30 minutes so they can brown more evenly.
  • Replace the cover and continue to cook for 1 hour more, or until the meat is fork-tender; brisket will take a little longer than chuck. Remove the meat from the pot and let it rest, covered loosely with foil, while you prepare the sauce. (At this point, you may refrigerate the pot roast for later reheating. Refrigerate the cooking liquid separately. To serve later, remove any congealed fat from the cooking liquid and strain it before using it to reheat the meat gently.)
  • To serve, strain and defat the sauce. Taste for salt and pepper. Cut the meat into thick slices or separate it into chunks. Spoon some sauce and onions over each serving.


 

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Recipes Roasts

Sous Vide Chuck Roast

There’s loads of roast prejudice out there, prob’ly stemming from the tough, overcooked, dry-seeming “pot roasts” we were forced to eat as children. Sous Vide method will erase this prejudice from your minds with both tender and moist results from the lowliest of roasts: the chuck.

Equipment is no longer expensive or hard to obtain. My unit retails for less than $50 and is used with a home-insulated 8 quart stock pot (with worn-out teflon hardcoat interior) sitting on a silicone hot pad. I added an o-ring between the upper body and lower shroud to tighten-up the fit and prevent the stirring impeller from ticking against the shroud interior. Now it works great.

I’d already tried a Sous Vide Sirloin Tip and posted here. Chuck seemed the ultimate test with more fat and connective tissue to deal with. Rubbed a 2.7 pound Hay Creek chuck roast with 2 tsp salt, a tsp each of rosemary and thyme, and placed 6 cloves garlic around the roast in a gallon ziplock freezer bag. Placed partially closed bag vertically in pot and sucked out air via a small diameter tube (assisted by water pressure) while closing zipper. Set unit for 135 deg F with a target time of 24 to 36 hours. Removed after 26 hours, drained juices for gravy, and seared exterior of roast using cast iron skillet in 500 deg F oven for 8 minutes with one turn.

Incredibly moist, tender outcome. Still some fat and cartilage present at this cook time but bulk of roast so tender it could be used cold thin-sliced for sandwich cuts. Juices rich and make a highly savory gravy.


 

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Julias’ Boeuf Bourguignon

I had no concept of the origins of this popular 60’s beef recipe. Recently made my way thru the film “Julia & Julia”, sort of a parallel story of Julia Child’s , “JC”,(Meryl Streep) cooking experiences culminating in her TV show and cookbook and Julia Powell’s , “JP”(Amy Adams) retracing JC’s recipes in the book “My Year of Cooking Dangerously”. Recalled attempting to watch it before but was turned off by something annoying: maybe Amy Adams wide-eyed, naive approach but more likely husband’s (Chris Messina) aggressive enveloping of her recreations with Blue Planet marine invertebrate extensile lips – along with much non-verbal noise. Meryl – as always – amazing.

The revelation of JC’s greatness is made to JP in her recreation of “Boeuf Bourguignon” Much is made of this in the film and I was intrigued enough to find the recipe and try it out. I was sure of having made it before, prob’ly from Joy of Cooking , but didn’t recall any greatness.

Pretty much followed the recipe using 45 oz of deboned Hay Creek chuck roast, subbing chunked white onions for pearl, and skipping the sauce sieving.

Resulting tender-crisp, still earthy flavored mushrooms are quite distinct from other interpretations of this recipe and make all the difference. It’s worth a try!

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Recipes Roasts

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.


 

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Recipes Roasts

Osso Buco Milanese

Late winter annual sauna party weekend coming up (w/kids & crew) and this trusty recipe comes to mind.  All ingredient except the shanks (use 2″ thick shank sections from your Hay Creek 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 for risotto-the hardest part of the whole prep.


 

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Recipes Roasts

Cold Smoked Rump

Smoke-roasted a small rump roast  using reverse searing (250 F then 500 F) process (Chris Grove) in Kamado grill setup with heat deflector and drip pan. Rubbed a day ahead w/simple blend of 2t salt, 2t brwn sugar, 1t onion powder , 1t garlic powder, 1t blk pepper, and 2t mustard powder.  Smoke-roasted @ 250 F to 120 F internal then removed roast from grill and converted to direct heat and opened vents to target the 400-500 F range. Put roast back on too soon (hungry) and internal hit 130 F before searing achieved. Carved a piece off w/o allowing sufficient rest time (hungry) and found it unexceptional in flavor (bland)  and texture (chewy).  Refrigerated in plasticware.

Couple days later in the heat and humidity-when cooking wasn’t appealing- put together a salad of cut greens(arugula and more) from the CSA high tunnel, topped with Ama Blu Cheese dressing. Occurred to me that the cold leftover beef might be a good combo so cut off some thin slices across the grain to go with the salad and a slice of sourdough rye bread. The beef came off completely different cold! Quite appealing with a clean, smoky flavor and firm but tender texture.

Next time I’ll leave the roast off while ramping-up the temp to sear. I’ll also foil-wrap the roast upon removing @ 130 F internal and equilabrate an hour or so in an small, insulated container before testing a warm slice:)


 

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Recipes Roasts

Red Wine/Juniper Beef Stew

Prob’ly last stew recipe of the season what with warmer weather on hand. Great for cool, rainy days. Very flavorful sauce goes a long way with boiled new potatoes and fresh parsley.

I used a Hay Creek chuck roast and Almaden box “Merlot” wine. Skipped the fussy, seemingly low-impact steps like #3. Used dried herbs, simply dumped in. Definitely use the juniper berries! They are  around $1/ ounce in dried form on Amazon if none are harvestable in your yard. A lot of cooking time but not much work. Worthwhile.

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Recipes Roasts

Beer-Braised Beef and Onion Recipe Review

Excellent NYT recipe. Chunked-up Hay Creek grass-fed beef chuck roast holds it’s own in the intensely flavorful sauce. Fat Tire “Belgian Style Ale ” worked well in the recipe and as an accompaniment. I used dried parsley and thyme and chopped-up bay leaves coarsely with knife and left them in with the beef. Sourdough bread went well with; thinking maybe a sourdough rye would work even better. Dijon good  too!

Update: Nice with Artisan Sourdough Rye . Divine with pan-fried garlicky red potato slices.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, more for garnish
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika, more for garnish
  • 4 pounds boneless beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 4 Spanish or very large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley, plus chopped parsley, for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef or chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup beer, preferably Belgian-style or brown ale
  •  Flaky sea salt, for garnish
  •  Dijon-style mustard, preferably extra-hot, for serving

PREPARATION

  1. In a large bowl, combine salt, pepper, bay leaves and paprika. Toss meat to coat, then cover, refrigerate and marinate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a large (8-quart) Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat butter and oil over medium-high until shimmering. Working in batches, brown beef on two sides until dark and crusty, transferring to a bowl when browned (reserve bay leaves). As you cook, add more oil and adjust heat if necessary to prevent burning.
  3. When all the meat is browned, add onions to the empty pot and return the heat to medium-high if you lowered it. Cook, stirring and scraping up the brown coating on the bottom of the pan as the onions release their liquid.
  4. Continue cooking until onions are deeply golden brown and soft, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Meanwhile, make a bouquet garni by tying thyme, parsley and reserved bay leaves together with kitchen string (or just throw them in the pot and warn your guests not to eat them).
  6. Push the onions to the sides, then add tomato paste, coriander and cinnamon to the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring, 1 minute, until paste is darkened and fragrant. Stir in flour, cook another minute, then add stock, beer, 1 cup water and bouquet garni. Return beef and any juices in the bowl to the pot, bring to a simmer, then cover and transfer to oven. Cook until beef is tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, turning it over halfway through.
  7. If the sauce seems thin, remove the meat with a slotted spoon; cover with foil to keep warm. Return pot with liquid to stove and simmer until thickened to taste, 5 to 10 minutes. Return the meat to pot and stir to heat through. Serve from the pot or a platter. Garnish with chopped parsley, flaky sea salt, pepper and paprika. Serve with mustard on the side.

Tip

  • To make this in an electric pressure cooker, reduce stock to 1 cup and cook at high pressure for 35 minutes. If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 5 to 7 hours.