Will a tough cut of meat always get tender with braising?

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Joined Sep 5, 2008
I wonder, when braising a tough cut of meat, does it always end up tender after a while (say 3 or 4 hours), or do some really tough cut, or certain quality of meat never really go tender?
 
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Anything will become tender given enough time, and then go seemingly almost "over-tender" and dry given too much longer. The trick is identifying sweet spots of cuts of meat and finding ones which overlap well enough. Oxtail and shin is divine in 6 hours of no pre-sear, half-submerged braising
 
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Cool thanks. I guess different muscles yield different amounts of tenderness. I was braising a large cut of beef that was made of at least two large different muscles, one of them got really tender and the other one was just okay, not tough but not super tender, a little on the dry side.

When I get mixed stew beef meat (who knows from what cuts the pieces come from), some pieces get super tender and others are again a bit tougher and drier.
 
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I never buy stew meat for the exact reason that you mentioned. I cut up my own, well actually for a second reason as well and that is because I am cheap.

If I buy stew meat, I get meat from different muscles with different cooking times plus I am paying for someone else labor. Okay, now I thought of a third reason and that is because my dog gets no snackies if I buy pre-cut.

I recently bought pork shoulder for $0.99 a pound and got 3 meals out it. Country style ribs, a stew, and a pasta dish. I love the challenge of finding an inexpensive protein and then using my skillset to produce a flavorful meal. Cooking a filet mignon doesn't present much a challenge (so I get no self-pats on the back), plus it dents my wallet, and my dog gets no snackies.
 
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Pot roast is one where you need to hit the window. Go too far and the collagen or whatever around the fibers breaks down too much, fluids get released and you are left with stringy and dry mouth feel.
 
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Uh, tried braising a {previously frozen} raccoon leg.. many, many years ago.
After 3-4 hours of "braising", it was tough/solid..so in it went.. to the pressure [email protected] ..after an hour..it was still tough as a truck tire! Really! Could not stick a fork into it!
House stunk like nobody's business & the dog went absolutely wild! (no, did not feed it to her)
Ah, experiments.. that should never, ever.. be repeated! :rolleyes
 
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With long cooking you need to test it often. I find some over cooked re-toughen and some get livery. french fries french fries - did you separate the two muscles before braising? Some silver skin and tendon never seem to break down.
 
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Yeah that what it seems to me too, but sometimes it's hard to identify what I'm getting from the store. :(
Yeah that what it seems to me too, but sometimes it's hard to identify what I'm getting from the store. :(
your local butcher is always the answer. its a profession seeing a resurgence that should get every scrap of support it can, and you can form a much deeper connection to your food (a luxury which i personally equate unreservedly with enjoying food from cooking to eating) by talking to them and even seeing exactly what you ask for being taken off the animal right in front of you
 
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your local butcher is always the answer. its a profession seeing a resurgence that should get every scrap of support it can, and you can form a much deeper connection to your food (a luxury which i personally equate unreservedly with enjoying food from cooking to eating) by talking to them and even seeing exactly what you ask for being taken off the animal right in front of you
I know. But the local butcher is expensive, and sometimes I shop at the supermarket.
 
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Based on my experience, in order for meat to get "tender" after 3 to 4 hours of braising, you need two things: marbling (as in shortribs and point cut brisket)and sinew (as in oxtails and shanks). Bottom round, for example, has neither, thus will not get tender, that is, tender in a pleasant way. It doesn't mean that it will be inedible. There are better ways to cook it.
 
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Based on my experience, in order for meat to get "tender" after 3 to 4 hours of braising, you need two things: marbling (as in shortribs and point cut brisket)and sinew (as in oxtails and shanks).
Ah.. that has not been my experience. Some cuts have literally ZERO marbling and sinew and can get very tender.
 
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One of my chefs told me not to braise sirloin as it will just get dry. I've tried it anyways and I think he may be right
 
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