Why didn't it tenderize?

Asked by jeffs55 on Tuesday, June 07
I just finished a london broil after a 48 hour cook in my SVS. The temp was set at 125 F. After completion there was no apparent tenderization done to the meat. I realize there was very little fat or gristle to break down in this cut of meat. Still, I sure had hoped for better results after all the hoopla over the power of sous vide to tenderize tough cuts of meat. Would a higher cooking temp have helped? Comments please.

12 Answers to This Question

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I'm not sure this makes a difference... 125F sounds a bit low, I would have tried 55 Celsius (131 F) instead. <br />Also, note that according to <a href=""></a> there is some confusion as to what cut of beef the London Broil is, if the cut you got was really Beef Top Round, the charts say 55C for 1 to 3 days for Medium rare.
Answered by Roberto Leibman on Tuesday, June 07
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I agree that the term "london broil" is a description of a cooking method. However, in my case it is is meat product sold as a very lean cut of meat with virtually no visible fat. I will try a higher temp one time and see what happens. Has no one addressed this issue or am I a discoverer? thanx
Answered by jeffs55 on Tuesday, June 07
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Another attempt but this time using a bottom round roast. Basically the same results as before. I cooked at 140 degrees for 40+ hours and the meat was moderately tender but also dry. The vacuum bag was quite full of juice and therefore the reason for the dryness. I made a simple gravy and put sauteed onions in that to salvage the meat. It was good but once again, nothing to brag about. I am becoming convinced that you must have a juicy and sort of tender cut from the start to make this work. I am now going to try the same cut at 130 degrees and see what happens. I will let both of my loyal readers know what happens!
Answered by jeffs55 on Wednesday, June 22
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The key with "London Broil" is how you cut it. Cut in thin slices against the grain, that'll make all the difference.
Answered by Peter on Wednesday, June 08
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In this case it is not a matter of how the meat was cut. I cut it across the grain and on a bias so it was not even straight up and down. The muscle should have only fractions of an inch of " in line" fibers. So it was 90 degrees across/against the grain and then 45 degrees from the vertical for the second cut. It can't get much more against the muscle fiber than that!
Answered by jeffs55 on Wednesday, June 08
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From memory, collagen doesn't start to convert to gelatin until 130F (and then slowly), so I think your temperature was just a touch low to allow that conversion to take place. The absence of fat in the cut would make the result potentially dry unless you add additional fat, but I think that's a different issue.
Answered by LeeW on Wednesday, June 08
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I recently cooked brisket at 55 Celsius, which is 131 Fahrenheit, for 72 hours. A lot of juice did come out of the meat, but I wouldn't call the result dry by any means, and the result was a nice medium-rare, extremely tender dish. I didn't brine it at all as Baldwin recommends though, but I will be trying that next time. <br /> <br />Have you checked your temperature with a calibrated thermometer?
Answered by LeeW on Thursday, June 23
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I just concluded a 12 hour cook of another london broil at 140 degrees. It is somewhat more tender but now it is pink inside instead of the red that I prefer. Perhaps a longer cook would have tenderized it more and there was enough gain to warrant another longer cook time at this temp. I will keep you posted.
Answered by jeffs55 on Thursday, June 16
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I ran the SVS all day to be certain of a stable temperature. My thermapen and the temp shown on the SVS were within two degrees for what that is worth. I don't think a two degree swing, which by the way was up and down would cause an overcook situation. Do you?
Answered by jeffs55 on Friday, June 24
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I would try to marinade the london broil first, then cook it at a desire temp it will be quite tender
Answered by Elizabeth on Thursday, October 27
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First of all, I think it should be emphasized that the minimum temperature for long cooking times to prevent spoilage is 131 degrees F. And 131 degrees F should only be attempted if one is assured that temperatures are accurately controlled. <br /> <br />Round steak is challenging for sous vide. It is such a tough cut, and is unforgiving. I have never been pleased with the 72-hour recipes for round steak sous vide. After 72 hours it has always tasted dry and chalky to me. I would prefer 24 hours at 131 degrees F for round steak. <br /> <br />Cooking temperatures below 131 F should only be attempted when the cooking time is less than the time it takes the meat to spoil.
Answered by Leigh Jones on Monday, June 17
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This site says 140 degrees F is the magic number <br /><a href=""></a> <br />that would also negate one reason to sous vide as the meat will be cooked to an overdone state. However, I will give it a try. Thanks for the tip as I never considered looking for the right temp and just assumed the SVS would do all the legwork.
Answered by jeffs55 on Friday, June 10
You can also find a lot of sous vide information, as well as over 100 recipes, in our book Beginning Sous Vide which you can get at or as a pdf download.

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