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London Broil and Chuck Steak

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

London Broil and Chuck Steak

 
Sous Vide - Smoked London Broil and Chuck Steak
 
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.... and Stew
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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.

 
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  • 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.
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  • The meat is placed in the smoker directly from the refrigerator.
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  • The flame is extinguished and the smoke begins.
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  • 2-1/2 hours of smoke, top side, about 3/4 of the pellets were used.
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  • Bottom side
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  • Bottom Side
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  • Meat is wrapped and placed in the refrigerator to rest overnight.
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  • 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!

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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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Both steaks are placed in the freezer for one hour.
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  • Next up, the "cold smoked" steaks. same procedure as above, salted and seared.
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  • A few tablespoons of Teriyaki is added to the smoked LB.
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  • A few tablespoons of Teriyaki is added to the smoked chuck steak.
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  • Into the freezer for one hour.
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  • 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.
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  • The bath has settled down and is holding to within 2/10 of a degree.
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  • The "London broils" are placed back in the refrigerator.
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  • 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.
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  • 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°.
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  • Look like Ahi, don't it?
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Saturday Morning 7:30am
 
  • LB's are removed from the refrigerator and placed in the bath.
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  • 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.
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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.
 
  • Onions
  • Butter
  • Extra Dry Vermouth, Not the sweet in the photo
  • Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  • Mushrooms
  • Beef drippings

 

  • Simmer covered for 2 hours add broth and mushrooms simmer another hour or two.
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  • 2 hours later.
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  • 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.
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  • Lowest heat as possible.
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  • Ok onto the Potatoes I wanted something extremely flavorful but very easy.
  • Russet potatoes, small
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • 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.
 
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  • OK, Back to the meat.
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  • 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.
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  • This torch was a waste of time.
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  • Chuck
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  • Spinach salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette.
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  • Happy family
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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
  • Spinach
  • 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)
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  • This was last nights dinner and lunches at work for the next several days.
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  • How was the Chuck?

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.

 
Texture
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?
Flavor Profile
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.

Texture
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.

 
  • How was the stew?
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.
 
post #2 of 11

Wow! Took a bit to get through but great thread & everything looks quite good! Looks like you're getting pretty comfortable with the sous vide :439:  Nice job man - nice job indeed  :thumbsup:

post #3 of 11
  • Hey SQWIB
  •  
  • First off gotta say my tablet hates your posts, but the PC and stomach agree they rockThumbs Up.
  • Seriously do appreciate the attention to details you provide. I too have done a Chuck cook and am not usually a fan of the cut but was also pleased with the results. Just had a couple of questions about your process,
  •  
  • 1) What kind of oil are you using, and why only 30 second pre-sear in the skillet before bag? I usually use a high temp oil such as grape seed or to a lesser extent bacon fat to pre-sear for until heavy milliard begins to add flavor, but curious as to your light sear. I usually aim for something like this
  •  
  •  

     

  •  
  • 2) Why freeze after sear? This was just for the cold smoked cuts to keep IT down I take it. Or does this add something else?
  •  
  • 3) Anything I have ever read usually suggested to add some sort of fat to bag, ie butter to help conduct herbs/spices and add flavor to the meat.  So I always have, including my chuck cook.  I did find that it was say to rich for the texture of this chewy of a cut. How was it without the added fat?
  •  
  • 4) Usually shoot for a 136-138 bath for beef to please the medium rare haters in the crowd.  Did you find that a 134 SV cook still rendered enough fat to be tender on a longer cook with thinner cuts?  
  •  
  • Two quick suggestions,
  •  
  • 1) As to your torch issue try picking up an Iwatani butane torch and searing while in the cast iron like on the Serious Eats aged rib eye post
  •  http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/03/dry-aged-sous-vide-torched-and-seared-bone-in-ribeye-recipe.html
  • Had a hardware store torch and you are right it is useless, think you'll love this thing. Used in a hot skillet you can sear and broil at the same time. The adjustable flame tip helps alot.

    (not a cast iron / torch sear just a good pic of the spread out flame)

  •  
  • 2) Regarding floating meat try borrowing or looking into a different vac sealer.  I have a cheap $35 food saver that isn't really floating meat on even 72 hour cooks.  If your bag isn't tight your meat will cook unevenly.  Weights are a genius idea I have adopted from you, on things such as white fish I don't want to crush under vac, but shouldn't be needed too much with beef. Could be maybe your not getting a strong vac?       
  •  
  • Great looking meals and thanks in advance for your answers!  Always great to share and learn from others experiments. 
  •  
  •   
post #4 of 11

Terrific meal and detailed qview.

 

Disco

post #5 of 11

Nice Q-View, great explanations, I feel almost like I am sitting in on a cooking class. Really looks delicious.

post #6 of 11

Just incredible! VERY impressive! Great work! Cheers! - Leah

post #7 of 11
Looks great! But I'd have to say I'd be starving to death if I had to go through that process for every steak I cooked!!! Sous vide ain't the hobby for me!
post #8 of 11
Wow that looks amazing!!! Great thread, thanks for taking the effort on sharing the details!!
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnduoh View Post
 
  • Hey SQWIB
  •  
  • First off gotta say my tablet hates your posts, Sorry about that, I usually do a copy paste from my website.but the PC  and stomach agree they rockThumbs Up.
  • Seriously do appreciate the attention to details you provide. I too have done a Chuck cook and am not usually a fan of the cut but was also pleased with the results. To me it's not worth  buying chuck to Sous Vide as opposed to a cut like the LB or Top Round that I have done, maybe it would be better suited for a higher temp and used for pulled beef or using for a stew/soup/chili recipe. But as I said I was still pretty impressed. .Just had a couple of questions about your process,
  •  
  • 1) What kind of oil are you using, and why only 30 second pre-sear in the skillet before bag? I usually use a high temp oil such as grape seed or to a lesser extent bacon fat to pre-sear for until heavy milliard begins to add flavor, but curious as to your light sear. I usually aim for something like this. I use regular cooking oil and toss on is soon as it starts to smoke, sometimes I use a dry skillet too.
  • The light sear is for flavoring and also inhibits cooking depth of the post-sear and I  always presear especially if using a jaccard. My post sear is much heavier as you can see in the above pics in my post.
  • Meat looks fabulous
  •  

     

  •  
  • 2) Why freeze after sear? This was just for the cold smoked cuts to keep IT down I take it. Or does this add something else? It's not frozen but allowed to firm up, this keeps the meat from compressing too much and cinching down on the sides, I don't always do this but it seems to help, especially with sealing.
  •  
  • 3) Anything I have ever read usually suggested to add some sort of fat to bag, ie butter to help conduct herbs/spices and add flavor to the meat.  So I always have, including my chuck cook.  I did find that it was say to rich for the texture of this chewy of a cut. How was it without the added fat? I don't agree with the notion that fat added helps, hell a good bit of the chuck is fat already, I don't have enough experience to argue this point however. I would maybe add fat to chicken breast such as olive oil and/or butter.
  • I am leery of adding any spices to the meat other than salt as you read in my post, the smoke flavor and Teriyaki flavor was different on each cut... maybe due to the fat content of each, who knows, but since this is all fairly new to me, I will experiment little by little. From what I have read there are some ingredients that will have a negative flavor impact on the food during the bath such as fresh garlic, so I have been very conservative on what I add, I figured there's really no need to infuse flavor throughout the meat when you want the True Beef flavor come through.
  • 4) Usually shoot for a 136-138 bath for beef to please the medium rare haters in the crowd.  Did you find that a 134 SV cook still rendered enough fat to be tender on a longer cook with thinner cuts?  I believe some fat renders at 130
  • 134° was fine for the London Broil, I may play with the temp and time on the chuck, like maybe 140° for 24 hours next time. I will quote anothers explanation of fat "for sous vide cooking the only three fats to worry about are stearic, palmitic and myristic - which melt at 70C, 63C, and 54C, respectively. Beef and sheep fats are obviously harder than pork and poultry fats - and in fact beef has around 19-22% stearic acid as part of its total fat content, wheareas pork typically has about 13%.
  • Fat did render a bit but the other bits did not, however this cook was for a medium rare Chuck and I knew there would be trimming involved, If I were doing a pulled chuckie, I would probably go higher to 145°-160°
  • I may even drop the temps of the bath on the London Broil/Top Round to 133°, I want to see how low I can go before the wife says its too raw!
  • Two quick suggestions,
  •  
  • 1) As to your torch issue try picking up an Iwatani butane torch and searing while in the cast iron like on the Serious Eats aged rib eye post
  •  http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/03/dry-aged-sous-vide-torched-and-seared-bone-in-ribeye-recipe.html
  • Thank you I may look into this
  • Had a hardware store torch and you are right it is useless, think you'll love this thing. Used in a hot skillet you can sear and broil at the same time. The adjustable flame tip helps alot.

    (not a cast iron / torch sear just a good pic of the spread out flame)

  •  
  • 2) Regarding floating meat try borrowing or looking into a different vac sealer.  I have a cheap $35 food saver that isn't really floating meat on even 72 hour cooks.  If your bag isn't tight your meat will cook unevenly.  Weights are a genius idea I have adopted from you, on things such as white fish I don't want to crush under vac, but shouldn't be needed too much with beef. Could be maybe your not getting a strong vac?       Trust me, the vac sealer is working perfectly, the bags don't really "FLOAT" too  much but rather whip around with the circulation if gasses build up, its usually not a big deal with lower temps but doing something like wings, weights are needed, I just use the weights as common practice when doing any Sous Vide cooking...added insurance!
  • Great looking meals and thanks in advance for your answers!  Always great to share and learn from others experiments. 
  • Thank you and Ditto, I have learned so much from others and do love to experiment.
  •  

  •   
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtsailor2003 View Post

Looks great! But I'd have to say I'd be starving to death if I had to go through that process for every steak I cooked!!! Sous vide ain't the hobby for me!


Yeah, Its not for everybody.

 

The nice thing about it is I can pickup a bunch of top rounds, I can cut twenty steaks or so do all the prep work even cook to the desired temp and ice bath and freeze, later on in the coming week they can be dropped in the bath, from the freezer, hours before dinner and will hold at that internal temp indefinitely, so if dinner guests are running late or some will be coming later on (like my daughter and her BF) the steaks are ready to go just a 30-60 second sear each side.

So my only work is heating the ice bath then the post sear, that's it. Cleanup is emptying the bath and cleaning the fry pan after the sear.

 

But just to have a couple steaks for dinner, it can be a bit of work as opposed to tossing on the grill, but in my opinion the results are worth it.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoking B View Post
 

Wow! Took a bit to get through but great thread & everything looks quite good! Looks like you're getting pretty comfortable with the sous vide :439:  Nice job man - nice job indeed  :thumbsup:

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disco View Post
 

Terrific meal and detailed qview.

 

Disco

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foamheart View Post
 

Nice Q-View, great explanations, I feel almost like I am sitting in on a cooking class. Really looks delicious.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah Elisheva View Post
 

Just incredible! VERY impressive! Great work! Cheers! - Leah

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtsailor2003 View Post

Looks great! But I'd have to say I'd be starving to death if I had to go through that process for every steak I cooked!!! Sous vide ain't the hobby for me!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ycastane View Post

Wow that looks amazing!!! Great thread, thanks for taking the effort on sharing the details!!

 

 

Thanks guys, the post actually makes it look like more work than it is,

My prize was the gravy and the took the most time to prepare.

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