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Can I still call it "roast beef"?

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I'm looking forward to a couple days off after a busy schedule this week culminating in a hellish remote recording today. All turned out well, but it's GOOD to be home...

In lieu of brisket, which I failed to procure, I'm going to try and revive a "freezer-aged" round roast. :-? I grew up with round. It's practically all my mother cooked. I know better now, but I also know it's possible to get tender slices of round if you don't overcook it and keep it moist. So I partially thawed it, trimmed it, and rubbed with McCormick's roasted garlic peppercorn and italian herbs.

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Then I dropped it in a vacuum bag with some melted butter, sealed it up, and dropped it in a water bath at 130°.

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It'll sous vide until dinnertime tomorrow, when I'll sear it up on a flaming hot Akorn. I had to use my griddle and my biggest pot (which still isn't big enough, but it'll do). I'm really happy with how perfectly the Auber is holding it.

:-P

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Do you have any concerns about whether it is safe to leave it at 130 F for such a prolonged period or does putting it in the vacuum bag prevent bacteria growth?  I've never having cooked using this method, but from reading a little bit about it on this forum, I'll admit to being intrigued by it.

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Bacteria love temperatures that revolve around the temperature of our body (36.6º C, 98.6º F). Holding products at higher temperatures (greater than 130º F, 54º C) restricts the growth of bacteria. Increasing temperatures over 60º C (140º F) will start killing them. Most bacteria need oxygen (aerobic), others thrive without it (anaerobic). All of them hate cold, and around 32º F, (0º C) they become lethargic and dormant when the temperature drops lower. Keeping them at low temperatures does not kill them, but only stops them from multiplying. Once when the conditions are favorable again, they will wake up and start growing again.

Some bacteria tolerate the presence of salt better than others and we take advantage of this when curing meats. Other bacteria (e.g. Clostridium botulinum) are able to survive high temperatures because they form spores. Spores are special cells that envelop themselves in a protective shell and become resistant to harsh environmental conditions. Once conditions become favorable, the cells return to their actively growing state.

Given favorable conditions bacteria can double up in numbers every 20 minutes. In a refrigerator their number will also grow, albeit at a reduced pace, but they can double up in 12 hours. Short of deep freezing, it is impossible to stop bacteria from contaminating meat, but we can create conditions that will slow down their growing rate. At room temperatures bacteria will grow anywhere they have access to nutrients and water.

In other word at 130F bacteria present in meat won't replicate but you need to increase the temp in order to kill them. So when you sear the meat is when your going to kill the existing bacteria.

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Thanks for the detailed reply. This will definitely get a very good sear at the end.

 

From further reading, it seems most prefer their sous vide beef roast at 132° so I bumped up the temperature early this morning. I'm going to make up some scratch mashed potatoes and grilled carrots as sides.

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A lot of people refer to braised beef as 'roast beef'. I certainly wouldn't, though...

 

Me either... but this isn't really braising. Lower cooking and finishing temps, no moisture loss, no liquid in the bag other than butter and beef juices.

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Oh boy... this turned out even better than I expected. The bath went nearly 20 hours total. I never saw fluctuations below 129 or above 134. Not as accurate as the crockpot, but perfectly acceptable for this.

 

Lit a full chimney:

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The roast right before opening the bag. I added the juices, butter, and herbs from the bag to my beef broth, sherry, and flour gravy.

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Fire's really going now...

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I probably seared a bit too long, but I wanted a nice crust on it. Maybe 4 minutes total sear time. Lots of flipping and turning.

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The result:

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By far the best round roast I've ever had. Plenty of grill flavor from that sear, and it was fork tender and juicy as could be. The gravy we got from the drippings was fantastic. I wouldn't hesistate to do all my roast beef this way. I can't imagine how good something with more flavor in it like a chuck roast would turn out. It would absolutely melt. 

 

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