Sous Vide - Smoked London Broil and Chuck Steak
March 26, 2014
The double packs are divided and the smaller of each will be smoked. The other half of each double pack is placed in the refrigerator.
I am hoping for a very subtle smoke flavor for this cook.
- Prepping the GOSM, I started with one leg of cherry on the AMNPS, used a propane torch, fired it up and got it cherry red, removed the water pan and placed the AMNPS on the chip box, closed the top vent halfway and left the pellets lit for 20 minutes. Temperature was about 35° and extremely high winds.
- The meat is placed in the smoker directly from the refrigerator.
- The flame is extinguished and the smoke begins.
- 2-1/2 hours of smoke, top side, about 3/4 of the pellets were used.
- Meat is wrapped and placed in the refrigerator to rest overnight.
- Sous vide is setup and hot tap water is used to fill the 54 quart water bath, two pots of boiling water are added and the temp is about 134°, the machine overshoots and I bring it back down with a quart or two of cool water, This unit always overshoots about 1.5 degrees but takes forever to come back down due to the insulated cooler. After the temp is at 134° I check the other side of the bath with my thermapen... temperature is accurate throughout the entire batch, I am good to go.
- I will check the bath in several areas with the thermapen every so often!
Ok time to take a bath!
- Lets start with the non smoked meat first, both pieces are removed from the refrigerator, no rinse and no trim, and are generously salted using a coarse salt.
- Starting with the Top Round "London Broil" the top and bottom are seared for 30 seconds at high heat in a cast iron skillet with bit of cooking oil.
- Next up is the Chuck Roast, seared at high heat for 60 seconds in a cast iron skillet with bit of cooking oil top and bottom and 30 seconds on the side.
- Both steaks are placed in the freezer for one hour.
- Next up, the "cold smoked" steaks. same procedure as above, salted and seared.
- A few tablespoons of Teriyaki is added to the smoked LB.
- A few tablespoons of Teriyaki is added to the smoked chuck steak.
- Into the freezer for one hour.
- After one hour in the freezer, the steaks are removed and vacuum sealed with any drippings.
Bags are labeled and weighted heavily to keep the meat submerged as gas builds up from the cooking process.
- The bath has settled down and is holding to within 2/10 of a degree.
- The "London broils" are placed back in the refrigerator.
- The two Chuck roasts will go into the 134° bath for 45 hours. The reading was 134.1° at the time the meat was placed in the bath, the temp fluctuation on this over a several hour period was 2/10's of a degree... not bad.
- I wanted to taste test the meat for smoke flavor and also wanted to see if it was possible to get an even doneness through a steak without using the Sous Vide method and using a skillet (this topic came up in a discussion on a forum and the argument was that you can't get steaks to match Sous Vide's even doneness using conventional cooking methods such as pan or grill so I became curious), I came pretty close but this may only work for steaks up to a certain thickness however this is a discussion for another day.
- I was pleasantly surprised with the flavor profile of the sample piece "London Broil", the subtle smoke flavor was awesome. I figured I would wait till the "wife unit" got home and would test it on her, she has an adversity to anything smoky flavored.
- When she got home I had her try a piece of the smoked LB she said it was very good and said it's not as tender as the bottom round I cooked Sous Vide last week, I told her this is just to test the flavor profile, she said it was really good and had a familiar taste she couldn't quite put her finger on... Woohooo! When I said it was the cold smoked piece she just smiled and said it's really good, anyhow the fact that she liked it and couldn't put her finger on the "Secret Flavor", made it a total success, from a flavor standpoint anyhow, but the true overall test will be after the sous vide bath.
- After playing around with a piece of the smoked LB and being very happy with the flavor and texture, I decided on a much shorter water bath than what some folks were using, I felt 48 hours was extreme overkill, So I am going with an 8 hour or less bath at 134°.
Saturday Morning 7:30am
- LB's are removed from the refrigerator and placed in the bath.
- Approximately 36 hours later, the LB's are tossed in the bath. The weights are working out great, I especially like the stainless steel rods, I'm going to see if I can get a couple more. When the meat was added the temp dropped from 134.0° - 133.5° (0.5°) for a few minutes.
The gravy is started, this is not iin chronological order, I tried to make for an easier read by placing in item order, for example the gravy took at least 3 hours to make but other stuff was going on at the same time.
- Extra Dry Vermouth, Not the sweet in the photo
- Brown Sugar
- Beef drippings
- Simmer covered for 2 hours add broth and mushrooms simmer another hour or two.
- This was a bit tricky, I had to get to the beef drippings but reseal the bag and toss the meat back into the bath, persistence prevailed.
- Ok onto the Potatoes I wanted something extremely flavorful but very easy.
- Russet potatoes, small
- Olive Oil
- Coarse Salt
- Black Pepper
- Parmesan Cheese
- 400° for 70 minutes, re-coat with oil after 50 minutes to improve browning if needed, these were not flipped. When potatoes are served they are placed in a bowl and the bits from the pan are drizzled over top of the potatoes.
- I went a little heavy on the sear for the LB's but my family prefers the meat done a bit more so I wasn't worried about the cooking depth of the fry.
- This torch was a waste of time.
- Spinach salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette.
I decided to take all the trimmings and make my lunch for work.
Trimmings were simmered on low for several hours then placed in the refrigerator, the next day the grease is removed and the final ingredients are added.
- Chuck Trimmings
- cubed chuck
- Carrots (used dehydrated carrots)
- Extra dry vermouth
- String Beans
- smoked jalapenos
- Parmesan/Garlic roasted potatoes (skip if freezing)
- beef gravy powder for thickening
- Barley (did not salt water used soy sauce and pepper instead)
- This was last nights dinner and lunches at work for the next several days.
First off let me say that taste is very subjective and I am not a huge Chuck fan, Chuck, to me always has a slight greasy taste throughout the meat, however with that said I would say that overall, this was an awesome cook.
Flavor profile of the Chuck
The chucks had a fairly decent flavor profile, not as good as the LB's but OK.
The smoked Chuck flavor was a bit more odd, not bad but did not taste like it had a smoky flavor, it was definitely a different flavor than the non smoked chuck, which I preferred, but you could not tell that it was smoked, but rather different. The Teriyaki flavor never came through, I found this odd.
the Chuck was tender to the point of bordering mushy when served immediately, I am not a big fan of chuck but this chuck is far superior than any chuck I have done by other methods.
The chuck was incredible cold sliced the next day, the meat firmed up and my oldest daughter loved it cold.
I have heard folks refer to Sous Vide Chuck as very similar to Prime Rib , I don't care what you do to this piece of meat, Its never going to be a prime rib equivalent in taste or texture.
However the meat was fork tender and the flavor profile was great for a chuck. This may have even pulled fairly easy, you can notice the grain in the meat in several pictures screaming to be pulled. I will definitely be doing a pulled chuck in the near future, now whether or not I smoke it, still remains to be seen.
- How was the London Broil?
The flavor was awesome and the smoke flavor came through nicely on the smoked LB and the smoked is the one I preferred.
The Teriyaki flavor never came through on the Smoke LB either, I understand that when using a bath, some ingredients can have a negative impact on the flavor profile, but still thought it odd that there was no flavor from the Teriyaki.
The LB was just plain awesome, far superior than any LB's I have done in the past. I would jaccard the meat for a so called tender meat but sometimes I would over do it, and although it was "CHEW-Friendly", it lost its body and was borderline burger meat.
Cooking in the bath, the meat retains its body somewhat but is an easier chew, I don't want to say more tender because it's still dense, but its different, and has a much more pleasant texture, Its hard to describe.
Overall I preferred this cut over the Chuck.
As I eat my stew I type this, The chuck in the stew was simply fantastic, I would definitely do an entire sous vide chuck dedicated to a stew.