My idiotic problem . . .

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by marzoli, Mar 1, 2002.

  1. marzoli

    marzoli

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    Okay, this is gonna sound really lame, so get your laughin overwith!
    I can not cook a beef roast that is tender, and I have discovered that I also can not cook a pork roast that is tender. It shouldn't be this hard:
    I tried a crockpot several times-good cut of meat, but was dry.
    I tried a clay baker in the oven with a pork roast (terrible). The potatoes were good, though.
    I followed directions in several cookbooks.
    I asked my friends.
    I even read McGee on braising.
    My butcher hands me these lovely roasts and says this will be perfect. I followed his directions too. Nope!
    It's either too done or not done enough or just dry and tough.
    I'm about ready to give up on this. It should be a no-brainer. I used to be able to do good roasts. It's been so long since I've cooked regularly that I don't know where to start anymore!
    Can anybody HELP???????
     
  2. svadhisthana

    svadhisthana

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    I'm in the same boat with you. I know to get the proper cut of meat cook it low and slow and to let it rest afterwards yet they always come out tough. Granted, I've only made it a handful of times. My husband and toddler son are the only meat and potato types in the house, I'm a vegetarian and my daughter is very picky about meat. Maybe we should post our recipes and techniques for others to critique. :confused:
     
  3. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    It's kinda hard to explain, how tender is tender? Don't let the meat juices boil. This means long and slow :) Do this experiment, go get a piece of brisket, put some salt and pepper on it, put it in a corningware and toss it in the oven at, say, 300F.
    Check it once in a while. Make sure you note the temp, feel, and texture of the meat when you check it. There's a magical point where it becomes tender enough, but it's kinda hard to explain. You'll have to feel it for yourself.

    Kuan
     
  4. jock

    jock

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    I have a hard time with consistent results in the oven. Whether it's beef, pork, chicken or whatever, one time it will be perfect and another time over/underdone. (The perfect ones are more dumb luck than any skill on my part.)
    I bought one of those remote thermometers you stick in the meat. It has a cable connected to the read out that sits on the stove top so you can monitor the internal temperature. That helped a bit but the results are still inconsistent.
    We are not vegetarians but neither do we eat great slabs of meat on a regular basis. Only now and again. I think that may be part of my problem, I don't practice enough.

    Jock
     
  5. marmalady

    marmalady

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    What cuts of meat are your butcher handing you? Is it a roast meant to be braised, or a roast meant to be 'roasted'? Generally, the tougher cuts of meat are braised, or stewed, in a covered pot, as the long slow cooking time helps break down the tough fibers.

    The better cuts of meat, rib roasts, tenderloins, and the like, are better suited to roasting in an open pan and generally at higher temperatures; and, roasting to a medium rare, which helps conserve the tenderness of the meat.

    My absolute favorite 'braising' pan is an old, blue-spatter ware roaster with a lid. I don't know what it is about that pan (maybe it just has good chi!) but I've done everything in it, and it's come out tender and juicy and succulent. I've tried using All-Clad for the same, and my vote is always with 'old blue'.
     
  6. chiffonade

    chiffonade

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    Some cuts were meant to be cooked long and simmered but others were meant to be cooked rare or medium rare. Pork roasts are lean and we MUST get over this belief that pork has to be cremated to be safe. Pigs these days eat better than we do. They eat corn and grain and do NOT double as garbage disposals anymore. Pork is lean and should be cooked to no more than medium. Beef tenderloin, etc. should not be cooked to past rare. There are cuts that should be long simmered to be edible.

    If a cut is a muscle that gets used frequently, like the leg or shoulder, it gets tough because of the muscle development. These must be long cooked in liquid. If a cut of meat does not get much "use" by the animal, like a loin which rests in the back and gets used for just about nothing, this cut can be cooked to rare or medium. Any further and it's garbage.
     
  7. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    I assumed Marzoli was talking about tough cuts. So how would you guys describe tender? For well done tender, I'd say that the meat has to have some structure, but if you press down on it with your finger the muscles should separate easily from each other or the bone. But it should not shred or be dry at all. And yeah Marzoli, I sure hope you're NOT cooking a Beef Tenderloin to 170 :)

    Kuan
     
  8. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Delia Smith happens to make the best traditional roast beef. I have her book but the recipe is also online. If you don't like the recipe you can modify it to your taste; however, the technique is very well described and should help you.

    Here's the method for a Standing Rib Roast:

    "Preheat the oven at 475 degrees F (...) place the meat just above the centre in the oven and give it 20 minutes' cooking at the initial temperature; after that turn the heat down to 375°F and cook it for 15 minutes to the pound for rare, adding another 15 minutes for medium rare and another 30 minutes for well done. While the beef is cooking, lift it out of the oven from time to time, tilt the tin and baste the meat really well with its own juices – this ensures that the flavour that is concentrated in the fat keeps permeating the meat, and at the same time the fat keeps everything moist and succulent. While you're basting close the oven door in order not to lose heat. When the beef is cooked, remove it from the oven, transfer it to a board and allow it to stand in a warm place for up to an hour, loosely covered with foil, before carving – to let all the precious juices that have bubbled up to the surface seep back into the flesh. Also, as the meat relaxes it will be easier to carve.

    Just click right here for Delia's recipe.

    I discovered however that her timing could be way off depending on your oven. Follow this guide (Madeleine Kamman):

    Remove the roast from the oven when the thermometer inserted at the heart of the eye muscle registers

    for rare: 120 degrees F (final temperature after resting is 130 degrees F); or

    for medium-rare: 125 degrees F (final temperature after resting is 135 degrees F); the USDA required temperature for medium-rare is 145 degrees F.

    I always cover the meat with aluminum foil to keep it warm while it rests.

    3 ribs will serve about 6 while 4 ribs will serve about 8 portions

    I hope this helps you achieve the perfect roast beef. :rolleyes:
     
  9. kimmie

    kimmie

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    For roast beef, ask the butcher to order for you IMPS No. 103 rib primal and tell him the number of portions you need.

    The above method can also be executed with:
    • Rump roast, always available in any butcher shop
    • True eye of the round roast
    • Sirloin butt roast boneless--IMPS No. 182
    Last, buy an expensive festive rib roast oven-ready from a good butcher only.
     
  10. shawtycat

    shawtycat

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    I was told to cook it until it was almost done. Since it will still be cooking while resting.

    That's just my two cents.
     
  11. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Re Chiffonades description of the pig's diet- A year ago, I helped cater a 'pig roast' with a local catering group; well, they brought the pig into the kitchen to prep it, and it looked anorexic!! Skinniest pig I ever saw!

    And a story re 'well done tenderloin'; a chef I did some banquet work for over Christmas was cleaning out the fridge, had 3 pieces of chateaubriand he wasn't going to use, so gave them to me. Well, I'm the only meat eater in my house, and I gave one to my son's home health aide to take home for her family. She came back a few days later, saying, 'oh, that beef was so good - I slow cooked it in the crockpot with some gravy'!!!:eek: I really, really, really tried to keep a straight face!
     
  12. campchef

    campchef

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    I've taught some home cooks different techniques, but the one that seems to work as a starter for them is to use a "roasting bag". I saw my mother use them for turkey years ago, searched them out to try on BRT fresh hams, and inside rounds. You may have to search for the really big bags, but they are out there. Make sure you have some liquid in the bag, and the roast will baste itself as it cooks. After doing a few with this method, you can usually get the hang of the timing, and do the same method in a roasting pan. I still like to use them for the fresh hams, my favorite.
    Another story about tenderloins. I was doing a party for 125 serving filet mignon. I had about 50 come back to make them "well done", and one came back with the instructions to "burn it through". I felt like sending out hamburgers to those folks to see if they would know the difference!
     
  13. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    Hi folks , No need to complicate things . When you cook you take the temperature of food and change it . One of the biggest mistakes made by people roasting meat is to overcook it and dry it out . Also using to high of a temperature . Cook your meat till its just done , Roast beef 120 , pork roast 130 . Let the meat rest before carving . Serve with au jus or gravy . Dont cook your meat at to high of a temperature , 350 or under is ok . The slower and longer the better ( alto shams rock ) .
     
  14. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Mazola.....you have incredible pig farmers all around you in Cape...Mo. is known as a pork state....find a small sustainable farmer that raises 5-6 piggies at a pop and buy 1/2 a pig. YOU'll have a blast!!! There is good pork out there guys, just have to look alittle for it.

    Beef, well we have beef too, actually I know of a few that wanna sell at the market. One is grassfed and not especially tender, loads of flavor. The other is fat-free beef and a whole different animal.

    Come on up and visit, I'll hook you up to farmers in your area.
     
  15. pongi

    pongi

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    Just my 2 cents!
    I can't speak about pork because I don't like it and never make pork roasts...but, as for beef, these are some rules that, on my experience, work great:

    1)The main reason why roasts end up too dry (apart from the wrong choice of the cut) is that they tend to loose their juices during cooking. So, independently from the cooking technique required from your dish (braising or baking), you must brown in advance your meat piece in a pan, over a very brisk heat, for few minutes. This way, you'll get a thin crust on the surface of the meat, locking all the juices inside.
    This preliminary procedure is useful also if you're making a baked meat, in example a roastbeef. Once is browned, you can put the roast in the hot oven and finish to cook it.
    I usually brown my roasts only with oil, never with butter or other fats, and never add other ingredients in this phase, or they will burn due to the high temperature. Afterwards I lower the heat and add the flavoring ingredients (herbs, vegetables and so on) or deglaze with wine if required.

    2) If you're cooking a meat piece that is supposed to be cooked completely (I mean it must not remain undercooked inside), braising is an easier technique than baking. It requires a shorter cooking time, so it's less likely that your meat ends up too dry, and you can control it better, turning the piece or adding liquids if necessary. Baking meat requires a good experience because the cooking time varies a lot depending on the meat type, size and the oven you have.

    3)Never add salt when the meat is still uncooked! Salt attracts the juices out of the meat, drying it. Usually I don't salt the meat at all and season only the sauce, or salt only the surface of the roast when it's almost completely done.

    Hope all the advices you got from the guys here will help you...otherwise you can forget the mammalians and cook wonderful turkey and chicken roasts without all those troubles!;)

    Pongi
     
  16. marzoli

    marzoli

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    Thanks for all your suggestions!
    As for the cut of meat: the beef roasts were either chuck or arm--the pork was just greasy, but I was assured that it would be falling apart tender (not at all!). I don't know what cut it was except that it was not loin.
    I think after reading all your comments that I am overcooking. The butcher I go to is a private business, not a grocery store butcher. He always tells me to long, slow cook the beef roast in the crockpot on low for 8-10 hours.
    As for the pork roast, I had this idea of using this clay baker to do it so that I could have lots of leftover roast to use later for Mexican food. I asked the lady who was working at the meat shop that day and she gave me a roast with some fat--said she uses that cut because it gets so tender. I put it in the clay baker at the temp it called for in its recipe book (475) for 90 minutes. Part of it was still bloody--not a good sign for me. I don't know if the clay baker is the problem or if I'm just missing the part of the brain that can cook a decent roast of either pork or beef. It just seems like I should be able to do it--I used to be able to, but I don't remember how I did it. I like the crockpot because I work, but so far nothing has been tender in this particular one.
    I know they sell the cooking bag at the store where I shop, so I will try that. I remember using one a long time ago.
    Oh well, enough whining!
    Thanks for your help.
    Oh, yeah, Shroomgirl, my husband has promised me a visit to your farmer's market this summer. I think it will actually happen this time. I will look for you.
     
  17. marzoli

    marzoli

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    Thanks for all the help! I'll try again til I get it right.
     
  18. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    475* way way too hot.....
     
  19. marzoli

    marzoli

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    I wondered about that, but the clay roaster said 475 so that's what I did. What temp should it be? I soaked the pot according directions. Is the clay roaster just a bad pot to do roast in? I was looking for something to use instead of a crockpot.
    Thanks for the info.
     
  20. marmalady

    marmalady

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    Absolutely agree with Shroom re temperature - for braises and stews, low and slow;) is the way to go!!I've put briskets and pork shoulders in at 250 for 5-6-7 hours; just put em in and forget em!

    I don't think you need any kind of clay pot, or crockpot; a heavy dutch-oven pot with a lid is good. Season the meat, then brown in some oil on top of the stove, add some liquid - water, stock, wine, beer, tomato sauce, whatever, cover and put in the oven. Your nose will tell you and your taste buds, too; my mouth starts watering when that wonderful smell starts wafting through the house. You don't have to fuss with it or baste it; just check about every hour or so that there's still a little liquid in the pot; I think for a braise, you want the liquid to come about 1/3 of the way up the meat.

    Another thing I do when I make 'faux' barbeque pork, is to put the pork shoulder on a rack over a sheet pan or brownie pan. Pour about 1/2 inch water in the pan, and some liquid smoke. Then cover the whole thing lightly with foil, and roast at about 275 for 4-5 hours. Tender, falling off the bone, moist, smokey flavor (I know Peachcreek is going to kill me!!).