Cooking meat in a warming drawer

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by Mark., Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Mark.

    Mark.

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    Hi everyone! I’m experimenting a bit with (very) slow cooking in a warming drawer and have a very basic question:
    - What is better, to sear the meat on a pan and then cook it in a warming drawer, or vice-versa?
    I’m asking this as I’ve seen recipes in both options, but wouldn’t like to screw up and waste a pricyish piece of meat :)
     
  2. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Reverse sear is typically the best option regardless of the slow cooking method.

    But, I have to ask....why are you using a warming drawer to cook a piece of meat? Are you trying to get fired? :)
     
  3. Mark.

    Mark.

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    Nooo, I’m experimenting at home :) The meat cooks pretty tender in the drawer. Takes around 5-6 hours for tenderloin of beef, 3-4 hours for a big chicken breast at 80 degrees C.
    Could you elaborate more on reverse sear? I’m not sure I’m getting it right.
     
  4. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    Reverse sear is simply cooking the over indirect heat and then finishing it over direct heat (pan sear or flames) to get the sear on the outside.
     
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  5. Mark.

    Mark.

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    Thanks for the explanation! Will try it this way.
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    This doesnt sound particularly food safe.

    Safety isn't just about final temeprature killing off the baddies, but also the toxic byproducts the baddies can generate in the time it wasn't at food safe temps.

    Sous vide maintains safety because a water bath transfers heat much faster than air as in the warming drawer. 3-4 hours for a chicken breast is just scary, most of that being in the danger zone.
     
  7. rick alan

    rick alan

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    There is another way I understand produces the most uniform results. You freeze, sear, slow cook, then finish with a torch. This possibly works better seared on the grill, but not sure.
     
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  8. rick alan

    rick alan

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    How about blanching for 30sec in boiling water to start?
     
  9. Mark.

    Mark.

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    Exactly, I did have the same concern, but then I thought why e.g. Miele releases recipe books dedicated to cooking in their warming drawers (which they don't call that anymore - it's Sous Vide drawers now) and get some famous chefs to come up with recipes, post them online, etc? The company and everyone involved would definitely be liable in case anything would happen to any customer in the world and their lawyers definitely consulted them on this.
    Thus I researched this to my ability and the conclusion of many scientific articles I've read is that it takes around 4 seconds for all bacteria to die in 160 degrees Fahrenheit and the cooking temperature in the drawer is 176 (or 80 Celsius). Which is done for hours.
    So far, after a few attempts, I haven't poisoned anyone and hope not to in the future :)
     
  10. Mark.

    Mark.

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    That's an interesting idea! Stupid question, but I just need to clarify: is defrosting involved, or you somehow sear a frosted chunk of meat prior to slow cooking it? :)
     
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    From my understanding with chicken, it's not about surface bacteria only. Rather the whole bird is saturated with problematic life forms arguably from our commercialized raising methods. I'm not aware of research establishing free range/organic as actually safer in that regard.

    Pasteurization is a process of time and temperature. In sous vide, chicken pasteurizes at 140 F for 36 minutes measured at the center of the bird (from memory, corrections welcomed). So that happens within the safe food handling time temp window as it takes about 30 minutes to hit that temp and finishes cooking safely during the pasteurization time. There isnt enough time for dangerous growth.

    That is not the case in the warming drawer. And as I mentioned, its not just about bacteria presence, but the toxins they produce before you kill them.

    As an example, most humans can and do eat C. botulinin freely. The bacteria is harmless in humans with an active gut. But the toxin it produces is deadly if it is in conditions to produce it.
     
  12. Mark.

    Mark.

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    Ok, now you've got me worried. I'll come back to continue this discussion after searching for more info. Thanks!
     
  13. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I took look at the recipe book. The recipe for a chicken breast involved searing the breast first for about 3 minutes and then placing it in the drawer for 20 minutes to finish while working on the sauce.

    I admit that was the only recipe that I looked at, but it certainly wasn't close to 3-4 hours.
     
  14. rick alan

    rick alan

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    It's frozen when you sear it. To work, well perfectly, in a pan you need both sides perfectly flat, your pan also. For the steak pressing between two pieces of 1/4" glass would work great here.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  15. Iceman

    Iceman

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    I don't get this thought at all. Who the hey wants to slow-cook beef tenderloin? Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't beef tenderloin's alias "fillet"? Seriously? Secondly ... what kinda benefits come from slow-cooking chicken? Both of these ideas should just be put away I'm thinking.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
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  16. Mark.

    Mark.

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    That was a different recipe I mentioned for the chicken and the time has prolonged a bit in my case as the chicken breast I had at the time was of the size and thickness of almost the whole chicken :)
     
  17. Mark.

    Mark.

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    Well, I do not agree with you on this - experimenting, looking for different flavours and methods should not be discouraged. Otherwise we’d still be eating raw meat or cook everything on a stick above fire.
     
  18. sgsvirgil

    sgsvirgil

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    I think you have the right dance card, but, the wrong dance floor.

    Always try to look for new and innovative ways to create new flavors and new methods. However, do so within the bounds of food safety. There are some pros and some very experienced home cooks in here telling you that the warming drawer is not a good idea precisely because of the health risks presented by the food spending such a long time in the temperature danger zone. A person can get very sick, even die, from eating food that was not prepared safely and properly.

    If you insist that the food drawer thing is a good idea, which it isn't, at least read up on food safety techniques and the chemistry involved with proper food safety such as acidity and how it impacts bacteria growth and so on. That way you will at least have the knowledge to do the food draw experimentation somewhat safely.

    Who knows? You may figure out a way to build a better mousetrap. But, at least you won't get yourself or someone else sick, or worse. :)

    Cheers! :)
     
  19. PoorlyChef

    PoorlyChef

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    I've had salmonella poising twice and both times it was the worst sick I've ever been. Each time it started with bubbles growing in my stomach until everything exploded. For the next 10 hours I was throwing up every 15 minutes and when I was all out of fluids, I dry heaved every 15 minutes. After about 10 hours of that I sat on the pot every half hour until I was completely drained of all waste products. After 24 hours of all this fun, I felt like I was beaten with a stick all over my body for the next two days.. In hind sight I should have went to the hospital. Luckily for me I was in my 30's and at full health and strength. I handled the poultry (first time) and the egg (second time) properly and still got sick..
     
  20. Mark.

    Mark.

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    Thanks for a well argumented opinion and recommendations - I will definitely keep that in mind! Yet now I’m even more confused on how Miele so lightheartedly promotes cooking in their drawers, if it is a potential health hazard :/