Sunday, June 05, 2022

eye-round results

Take a look at today's lunch, which is about 90% keto:

I could tell something was wrong the moment I used my hand to fish the steaks out of the jerry-rigged vacuum bag. Everything felt way too firm. All the same, I prepped the other components of my lunch (the peas in the cottage pie are the only non-keto element) and sat down to a decent meal.

The pan sauce I made was too salty (pro tip: don't add salt; pepper is enough), but was otherwise pretty good. The cottage pie (I ate the first cottage pie yesterday) was tasty, as was the salad made from leftover ingredients sitting around in my fridge and freezer. The salmon was just OK; it smelled a bit fishy, which is a bad sign: fresh fish shouldn't smell fishy. Lesson learned: I will never buy that brand of salmon "steaks" again. (They were teeny 100-gram filets.) Fresh Costco salmon only from now on, inconvenient pin bones and all!

The beef hadn't softened that much after 27.5 hours in the drink. I saw a school of thought on YouTube that contended eye round really needs at least 48 hours to get truly tender, and I might try that next, especially since it's a much cheaper cut by a factor of 3. I had thought about serving eye-round steaks later this year, but I now know that a 24-hour sous vide simply isn't enough. The meat tasted fine, mind you, and frustratingly, it had that same perfect pinkness as the filet mignon did. It was the texture that was the deal-breaker, and there was no getting around it. Too tough.

Part of me thinks it's better to declare defeat and just use eye round for jangjorim and pulled beef. The first time I ever handled eye round, I slow-cooked it for eight hours, and it was falling-apart tender at the end of the cook. I guess I could afford to take the slow-cooked eye round for granted because I didn't really appreciate the awesome, muscle-destroying power of slow cooking. I didn't think twice about how truly tough the cut is, but after trying sous vide, I respect the muscle more now. As I noted before, one major difference between sous vide and slow cooking is that, with sous vide, the meat is inside a bag and therefore isolated from the surrounding water bath. When you slow-cook something, you're braising it at low temperature directly in a liquid bath, and this direct contact allows the meat's muscle fibers to fray apart. You still have to be careful, though, because a slow cooker can actually reach boiling temperatures, and boiled meat can, paradoxically, become tough (I've fucked up chicken breasts that way before I learned about poaching).

I don't know. I want to try the eye-round experiment one more time, this time with a 48-hour sous vide. I don't expect filet-mignon levels of tenderness, but my hope is that the meat will nevertheless be a lot more tender than what I ate today. What I ate today was edible, but even with my sharpest knife, I had to work at the meat in order to slice it. Not good.

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