great article on cooking with the bone in

In the Sous Vide Recipes Forum
great article for the Serious Eats Food Lab about what really happens when you cook a steak (or anything really) with the bone in.

in short, it does NOT "add flavour"; all it does is protect that edge from heat.

the point here being that in sous vide cooking, where we end up with edge to edge uniform temperature anyway, leaving the bone in serves NO useful purpose.

7 Replies So Far

very interesting!
yeah, my mother always told me the bone adds flavor, but please don't mention that "old wives tale" thing.. it's my mom, for heaven's sake..:)
...and she just tutored me thru her osso bucco recipe this past weekend, and I was thinking at the time, if the bones were a significant difference in the result, a bit plain on this occasion,.. and an opinion I kept to myself.
Coincidently, I sous vide quail last night. I didn't notice, when i bought it that the package said "mostly deboned". I didn't think it was as good as fully boned quail that I usually cook. Still, that isn't much of a science on the topic. I will say that I have never been much of a marinade fan, before sous vide, where it does seem to infuse much more flavor into meats. I do a bourbon beef/game and have had the whiskey flavor overbearing on occasion; definately more than a millimeter deep... and then where is the smoking process in all this.
anyway, I'm not posing an argument. I just wonder if we should do more experimentation amoung ourselves.
er,.. don't tell my mother I said that!, as I intend to try lamb shanks in a curry recipe.
Unless you compare the same source of protein with and without the bone (as they did in those tests) it's not really a fair comparison.

and VACUUM certainly intensifies marinating, more than the water bath cooking method (I find, anyway)

I have a frenched rack of lamb ready to be vacuum packed, cooking some time in the next few days. Do you think it would be a proper test to cut out the bones, on say,.. the ends?
It may not contribute to the taste of the meat, but nobody can tell me that all the marrow from things like beef short ribs on a long braise or sous vide doesn't contribute to the flavor and mouthfeel of the overall dish.
Jim, did you read the article?

depends on the type of marrow and whether you the the temp at which the marrow might melt.... plus the marrow is trapped in the bones... do yo crack them first?

M.ded, that sounds like a great test, if you bone out some and bag them separately to see the difference.
This was far from a scientific study. But, as anecdotal information, here are my observations:
Using a frenched rack of lamb, I cut out the rib bones on each side, leaving the four ribs in the center. I didn’t bag anything separately, and I was very reluctant to cut even what I did out, as it wasn’t a cheap cut of meat. Given that, I was pretty aggressive about cutting out the fat. I did use a spicy marsala rub and added a few ounces of mint sauce. A chamber type vacuum is necessary.
I SV it for 4 hours at 132F. and then crusted the outside on a very hot grill and a generous use of the butane torch. A perfectly pink medium rare, imho.
Know that the interaction of the bone is more external than internal in this cut, but my first thought was that the “popsicle” chops were just plain fun to eat. Nope, I couldn’t tell any difference in flavor attributable to the bone, but the end with a little layer of fat did taste a bit differently and I found the grain of the meat to be less appealing. (although I did use the leftover section in a stunning curry – just excellent)
The leaner section is still in the fridge, and I plan to slice it very thinly, adding it to a cold served Vietnamese style salad. Granted I have acquired a taste for more lean meats, but this joy would not have been possible had I not cut out the bones with the layer of fat attached.
Anyway, I drifted far afield of the study sited here,.. ha!, but I couldn’t help myself.

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