Cooking meat at low temperature in the oven... no thanks!

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chrisbelgium, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    What about cooking meat at low temperature in the oven? I'm so done with it!

    Look at the picture below. I nicely seared a rack of lamb in a pan, then continued in the oven at 120°C(248°F), using a meat thermometer set at 58°C(136°F). I haven't timed it exactly, but I guess it took around 30 minutes to get there.

    When cut, the meat was warmed through perfectly, but still looked almost raw.

    I can decribe the taste like this; utterly bland and boring, although it had been seasoned well!

    This is my last try-out with oven cooking at low temperature. I had the same experience with pork-loin. I very much prefer to use the oven at 180°C(356°C) or even higher. Only then you get that crispy dark crust and meat full of taste (umami?) and, with just the right  bit of a chew on. I rather give up the tenderness of the meat for a really nice taste.

    What are your experiences with low oven temperatures?

    (In case you want to know, in the picture you're also looking at shiitakes, shiitake flan, potatoes, belgian endive and my favorite addition to lamb: flageolets (the beans, sorry, don't know the english word).

    [​IMG]
     
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    There are certain meats that should not be cooked in a low temp in the oven and rack of lamb is definitely one of those.  It's such a tender meat anyway why would you need it to be any softer?  My rule of thumb is the pricier the meat, the higher the heat.  The lower the price, low slow cooking makes it nice. (I just made that up! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif)

    When it comes to tender cuts like tenderloins, prime rib, rack of lamb etc you want a nice crisp outside and reddish tender inside.  There is only one way to achieve this and that is to sear it before it goes into the oven.  I rub with olive oil, salt pepper and sear on all sides.  Then I season it with other flavorings and continue cooking in the oven.  There is a large portion of the population that believes that you should just place the meat in a very high oven for 15-30 minutes in the beginning to get a sear on the outside and then turn the oven down for the remainder of cooking but I say bahumbug to that!  That's only a poor imitation of a sear.  If you want a good color on the outside just sear it then pop it in the oven. 

    Cheaper cuts of meat like the shoulders of animals need low slow cooking.  For Christmas I made a slow roasted shoulder of lamb, covered and cooked at 325F for 4hours.  It had a beautiful color but I was able to serve it with a spoon it was so tender.  If I were to cook this for 2hrs at 375 it would come out like shoe leather.  So pick your meat and go from there.

    The one exception is prime rib.  There is a school of thought that believes that you must cook prime rib at a very low temperature for a long time.  But this is not so that it tenderizes the meat, this method ensures that you have uniform pink meat throughout.  Personally I prefer searing this cut as well, well done and crisp along the outside and gradually getting pinker and redder in the middle.

    Lastly, a rack of lamb is a special thing.  I cook this cut but searing it on the outside on all sides and then finishing in the oven.  The whole process takes no more than 35min and it comes out perfectly every time.  Sorry you had a bad experience roasting.
     
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  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    My rule of thumb is the pricier the meat, the higher the heat. 

    Great observation, KK, and good rule of thumb. But you can go overboard with it. Following it exactly, around here we'd have to cook lamb at about 700F. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
     
  4. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Chris, could you post your recipe for the shiitake flan? Thanx!
     
  5. buckeye_hunter

    buckeye_hunter

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    As further proof of point, I am sharing a picture of a ribeye roast that I prepared in my Big Green Egg for Christmas.  It had been seasoned and aged in my butcher's cooler for a few weeks prior to cooking and actually lost over 10% of its weight. ( I wonder if the same would work for me...)

    With a full charge of natural hardwood lump charcoal...and another small amount ignited in a charcoal chimney...with top and bottom dampers opened to the max...I emptied the burning coals into the belly of the beast, closed the lid, and let nature and science to themselves!

    After a few minutes the BGE was in full glory, creating temps in excess of 650.  After a quick gut-check, I threw the roast directly on the coals and closed the lid.  After 30 minutes, I slowly opened the grill.  Flames surrounded the meat and it was incorporated into the fire.  (BTW,  I felt like a real MAN!)  I knew that my grilling utensils were not long enough to reach the depths of the furnace.  I had already resigned myself to reaching into the furnace to recapture the ribeye raost, which now looked like a size 14 EEE boot whose steel toe would be needed for positive identification.   After another quick gut-check, and armed with my long leather grilling mitts I reached into the inferno and quickly flipped the meat and closed the grill.  Mission accomplished! 

    Temps still in the 600-700 range.

    After another 20-30 minutes, I pulled the roast out of the grill and, with the lingering scent of singed hair in the air, closed down the dampers and added the grill rack to continue the process.

    With just a few adjustments to the dampers, the BGE slowly made its way to a pretty constant 325 and after 2 more hours the internal temp was nearing 130.  I took it in and put it in my roaster for the trip to my mother's in anticipation of oooohs and ahhhhhs.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Things were not quite ready at mom's when I arrived so I have a few glasses of wine and let the roast rest.

    I regret to this day that I did not have the capacity of mind to take a picture of the meat after I sliced it.  It was a thing of beauty!  Wonderful med-rare beef surrounded by a 1/8" crust of 100% burnt flavor!

    ...I agree, save the low and slow for braising!
     
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  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I do prime rib at 250 and finish with a sear for crusting. Works great.
     
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  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    buckeye, we want to see the inside!  It's the inside that counts!
     
  8. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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     Good one!!  Haha, don't raise the temp according to price, but you know what I mean. 
     
  9. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    KKV; "...When it comes to tender cuts like tenderloins, prime rib, rack of lamb etc you want a nice crisp outside and reddish tender inside..."

    We're on exactly the same page!

    BuckeyeHunter; very impressive! Also good to know; I recently watched one of our 3 michelinstar cooks in his kitchen. He has 3 small of those green eggs lined up to give cooked meat a very last boost at high temperature, just before plating. He added that they did so with nearly all meat that left the kitchen! It's all about taste, isn't it?

    KYH, here you go for the flan;

    Panfry diced mushrooms untill almost all liquid is gone. Add finely chopped shallot and garlic and fry. S&P and chopped parcely. Leave to cool.

    (You can make these flans with all kinds of veggies, but they have to be softened first (panfried, steamed etc.). You can use pureed veggies too like celeriac, carrots etc.)

    Warm 1 dl milk and 2 dl cream. I added 1/2 crumbled chickenstock cube. Taste for extra seasoning!!

    Beat 2 eggs and 2 eggyolks. Mix with the creammixture. Fill ramequins with veggies, around halffull. Pour creammixture on it.

    For more density, take 4 whole eggs. I should have done so, they were a little too soft.

    Put ramequins in an oventray. Fill oventray with hot water untill halfway the height of the ramequins. I put the ramequins first on a double layer of bakingpaper to avoid them browning at the base. Bake in the oven at 160°C for 30-45 minutes.

    Leave to cool somewhat, cut around the edges to loosen and quickly turn around on the plates. BTW, when using nice ramequins you can put them on the plate without having to get them out. Much easier!  
     
  10. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Thanks, Chris.

    What does dl stand for. I'm sure I can find a conversion figure for it once I know what it means.
     
  11. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    dl = deciliter = 1/10 liter = 100 ml

    1 deciliter = 3.3814 fluid ounces
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    In all my years in the business, and after cooking thousands of prime ribs, I would never neither cook one or serve one that looked like this. Sorry
     
  13. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Thanks Pete.
     
  14. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Why is that?  The thermometer barely says 130 internal.  You know what they say, if you don't have anything nice to say...
     
     
  15. gobblygook

    gobblygook

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    Just a guess here, but the layer of carbon surrounding the roast would need to be removed.  If I'm not mistaken, cooking meat to that level of overcooked is carcinogenic.  If you have to trim all of that off, then you have no "crust" on the outside any longer.  Again, I'm just spit-balling, but I cringed when I read placing the meat directly on the coals and opening up an inferno. 
     
  16. buckeye_hunter

    buckeye_hunter

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    If everyone were the same, it would be an awfully boring world.

    All at the table loved the meat, and no, we did not carve off the crust (which may have been closer to 1/16th of an inch).

    I, too, have heard of the studies regarding the dangers of overcooked meat and would not recommend it every day.  I may have done more to threaten my health by sitting in front of my laptop reading the responses and typing this reply. 

    I just wish I had taken a pic of the meat after slicing it...
     
  17. asoefatida

    asoefatida

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    I would be all over it like a fat boy on a jelly donut. Nice bh!  I do something similar with my Prime Rib
     
  18. jblade

    jblade

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    Sounds like a good rule of thumb, I will remember that!
     
  19. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Thanks Pete, I saw this question only this morning.
     
  20. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Koukouvagia . Different strokes for different folks is correct, but as I have always said I AM NOT  in a home cooking enviorment. In a commercial setting I could not serve this even just based on eye appeal. My customers would complain and go elsewhere. Home is different , a totally different mind set and thought process. We are not cooking for ourselves,or  catering to our own  likes and dislikes .We are cooking for the general public (our customers) and tend to listen to them. Its not that I am saying something not nice about anyone or anything.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010