Sous Vide Diary: Chuck Tender Steak

Monday, September 05, 2011

When you think of steaks, you will normally think of sirloin or rib-eye. Or the more expensive tenderloin.

The rest are "the rest." You throw them into a stew or rendang, often cut into smaller pieces.

They are normally cheaper because they are "not tender."

There is a pre-occupation with whether a steak is "tender" and if your knife can easily cut through it, then it must be good.

But, what about the flavour? What about the texture? For a discerning steak-lover, there are many factors he is looking for that characterizes a "good steak", even if he is not able to articulate each of them. In fact, I find tenderloins rather flavorless and this may explain why restaurants serve them with sauces and stuff, all nicely plated up.

Tougher cuts like rump, shin, cheek and chuck are all very flavorful. The French knew this very well and have mastered the art of using and cooking them. When braised and slow-cooked, the flavour permeates the dish. You would have heard of Beef Bourguignon.

The Sous Vide method (pronounced suːˈviːd/) has made it easier to make "steaks" out of cuts that are traditionally braised. I have experimented with it recently - SV it to tenderise. Then pan-sear it briefly for the "Maillard reaction" to brown and caramelize the steak. Enjoy with salt and pepper.   

Personally, I love the way chuck tender steaks turned out with SV. It was SV-ed for 12 hours at 55 °C. It turned out flavorful, beefy and I liked the texture. And with SV it turns out a beautiful pink, to be enjoyed after you have seared the steak for about a minute on each side. There are small layers of fat on the side which adds to the flavour. It is a new experience for me and I enjoyed every bit of it. And even more considering that this is a cheaper cut at $2+ per 100 gm.

Throughout the vacuuming, cooking and searing process, I did not use any marinade. After the pan-searing, I ate it with some seasalt and black pepper. That's all. 

Chuck Tender Steaks from the supermart
Veal Osso Bucco Steaks also turned out well with SV. The marrow is "sinful" but is literally the heart of the meat. It is normally braised and so, it took some getting used to and enjoy it as a seared steak. The meat was firm but tender as the knife cuts through it easily. Per gm, this meat is not expensive at $3+.

Pan-searing the Osso Bucco Veal Steak
Home SV cooking is certainly a new and enjoyable experience thus far. And definitely very useful and it expands my options. 

I will be using it for some local dishes and blog my experience.

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  1. Can't wait to hear about your Sous Vide Pak Cham Kai!

  2. Interesting idea. Will give it a shot :)

  3. Hi Terry

    I was reccomended by Jen to read your blog .. The sous vide method is really great !!
    Thanks :)


  4. That looks like a crime against beef... cooked at way too high temperature, I don't care how tender it is...