BEEF! How To Soften Tough Beef Cuts While Cooking?

Joined Jan 23, 2011
Hey guys! Look, I've been cooking Beef Stew this past few months. The flavor and appearance was good... But it's tough like a gum :(

May you guys gimme some tips to make it softer?

Thank you guys in advance :)
Joined Jan 23, 2011
Good Day Chef,

It's Beef and Mushroom.. I am searing the beef before simmering it.

What more should I do Chef Pete?



Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
What cut of beef?

Generally a stew cut tenderizes between 180-190 degrees F internal temperature. You want to take your time getting there so the connective tissue (collagen) that is tough, liquefies. As the collagen breaks down, it becomes tender. And what may have seemed dry and tough at 170 will be tender and moist at 190.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Elzon, welcome to Chef Talk. It's kind of hard to tell where you are going wrong without the full recipe you are following.  Here are a few guesses though:  1.  make sure you are cooking it long enough.  I really cook a stew for any less than 2  hours and often 3 or more.  2.  make sure it is at a simmer, not a boil which can dry out your meat and make it rubbery.  3.  make sure you are using the proper cuts.  I used to have a friend that thought that to make a good stew you needed good meat, meaning he used to use steak (NY Strip, sirloin, ribeye).  These do not really make the best stews as they don't have enough marbling or connective tissue to stand up to long slow cooking.  Instead I often use "chuck" which, IMHO is the best cut for general stew making.
Joined Jan 23, 2011
Thank you very much Sir Pete, All of my questions are answered! This Forum is GGRREEAATT!

Ohh I see, not all meats are compatible to other recipes.

I think my problem is I cooked my stew fast and undone. As you say, you cook your stew for 2 or more hours.

While me, its just less an hour. :(

Thanks again Mr. Pete!

Joined Oct 3, 2010
Yes it looks like you just need to cook it longer, low an slow. Also prefer chuck myself for those dishes and chili, carne guisda stuff.
Joined Sep 18, 2008
Well, being a little slow at getting back, not much to add./img/vbsmilies/smilies/laser.gifthe answers covered the question.
Joined Jan 23, 2011
about two hours mate and the meat just falls apart slowly mate i cook about 30kg diced beef every second day for about 2 hours 30  take your time
Joined Feb 1, 2007
As others have indicated, low and slow is the secret of stewing and potting. That and the choice of meat.

Less than an hour won't make it, no matter what the cut. So that's your major problem for sure.

By and large, you want what used to be the "cheap" cuts for stewing. Chuck is, as others have pointed out, ideal. Another is bottom round---although not as fatty as chuck it still tenderizes very nicely. In fact, I used some tonight for a Boef Bourgignon and it came out terrific.

Next time you make a stew, try this. Instead of cooking it on the stovetop, pop it in the oven at about 250 degrees. Leave it in there until the meat is tender---which could be anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 hours. But remember; at very low temps you cannot overcook it. After oven stewing you'll have a better idea of how low the stovetop should be.

The upside to all this is that there's a very shallow learning curve. Soon as you make the first stew correctly you'll never have this problem again.
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