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How Do These Things Happen!!!!!!!!!??????????????

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  • Willy
    Charter Member
    • Apr 2015
    • 1919
    • High Desert of the Great Southwest

    How Do These Things Happen!!!!!!!!!??????????????

    Somehow, I originally posted this under Recipes and Techniques, so here it is again:

    I was looking over Raichlen's "BBQ Bible" this afternoon. I've owned it for a long time, but, for whatever reason, haven't used it much. At any rate, he has a chart for beef temperatures in which he lists rare at 140°F and medium rare at 150°F. I've seen these same temps in other books. Raichlen even urges the use of a thermometer to be sure the temp is right. How on earth can someone write a 500 page book on grilling, be an acclaimed guru, claim to use a thermometer, and be so dadgum wrong?

    On the back cover of the book, eminent chefs like Charlie Trotter, Rick Bayless, and Mark Miller all give big thumbs up for Raichlen and his book. What does that tell us about the level of attention they paid to the contents of the book?
    Last edited by Willy; August 27, 2015, 03:01 PM.
  • Stevehtn
    Former Member
    • Sep 2014
    • 117
    • East TN

    #2
    Obviously the only thing they paid attention to was the check they were cashing to endorse it. 140 for rare??
    140 (to me anyways) is about the same as shoe leather.

    Comment

    • Medusa
      Charter Member
      • Sep 2014
      • 666
      • For those who are about to Cook - WE SALUTE YOU!

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      #3
      I think I read somewhere that @140 muscles (?) in beef begin to contract / shrink which is why the meat becomes tough.

      Comment

      • Huskee
        Administrator
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        #4
        Maybe back in the day before inflation and the depression and all 140 wasn't as hot as it is today. Lol.

        Seriously though, something tells me when that book was written perhaps he used a dial meat thermometer instead of a well-calibrated digital in his R&D. It's hard to say the process an author uses when determining temps to include in a well thought out cookbook. Maybe too it was simply a slip that made it past him and the editor(s).

        Comment

        • fzxdoc
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          #5
          Wow, that's interesting about the temps. I'm with Huskee , maybe it got past him and the editors. I have a friend who swears by that book, and gave me a copy for Xmas one year. I look at the recipes, but never noticed that error in meat temps.

          When I read BBQ books and articles, I often find comments from well-respected BBQrs that fly in the face of Meathead's recommendations. One of the very kewl things about this site is that Meathead continues to update his commentaries and recipes as he learns more, experiments more, and as new culinary trends surface. That updating is not possible in a book without coming out with a new edition. So, on this site, we get the most current info available. It's a good thing.

          Kathryn

          Comment

          • Willy
            Charter Member
            • Apr 2015
            • 1919
            • High Desert of the Great Southwest

            #6
            Nah, it isn't an overlooked mistake. He meant 140°F. The entire table of recommended temps is consistent. A 2005 copy of Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook gives 145°F for medium rare. Up until a few years ago, I "knew" that 140°F was the right temp because I had seen it written in so many places. That "knowledge" resulted in an overcooked rib roast one Christmas.

            What I don't get is how such an obvious error could be promulgated for so long by so many authorities. I'm leaning Huskee's way: 140°F used to not be as hot--maybe inflation is the cause? LOL

            Comment

            • Willy
              Charter Member
              • Apr 2015
              • 1919
              • High Desert of the Great Southwest

              #7
              I just checked a few more cookbooks--some are good, but a rotisserie book gives 140°F for rare, as does a Good Housekeeping book. What this tells me is that none of the writers actually use a thermometer, Raichlen included. Somewhere back in the dim mists of culinary history, some well respected guru published a table with bad info and it's been blindly copied ever since,

              Comment

              • Meathead
                Administrator
                • May 2014
                • 1464
                • Chicago area
                • Remember, no rules in the bedroom or kitchen
                  Meathead

                #8
                I am a huge fan of SR, but he does what so many others do, repeats the common wisdom. Like soaking wood chips. Sear first, and using the USDA temperature charts. As you know, we question everything.

                Comment


                • Willy
                  Willy commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Ah, so the USDA is responsible for this. Another case of the gubmint here to help us.

                  While "medium rare" may have a certain subjectivity that varies for each individual, in what universe could 150°F be described by any reasonable person as medium rare?
                  Last edited by Willy; August 27, 2015, 02:59 PM.
              • Huskee
                Administrator
                • May 2014
                • 15574
                • central MI, USA
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                  About me
                  Real name: Aaron
                  Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

                  Occupation:
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                #9
                I strongly disagree with 150 being medium rare...but alas I am not a pro chef and have zero interest in writing a book. There's really no regulated doneness/temp standard. Much is up to what the pros do and recommend and this becomes the accepted norm. Perhaps it's simply a differing perception of how pink the meat looks at that temp. To some, 140 pink is medium rare and to others it's medium or above. To me, 140 is plenty edible, if not a touch overdone. To my buddy, 140 would be "PINK! RARE! YUCK!" Maybe Raichlen is in this camp of pink = rare.

                Knowledge and best practices are an evolving process. I side more with Meathead's temp chart when I talk meat.

                Comment

                • CandySueQ
                  KCBS President, and Moderator
                  • Jul 2014
                  • 1527
                  • Pellet Fired Jambo, T1000 Woodmaster, FEC100, MAK 2 star, Yoder 640, Backwoods Pellet Chef, 14" & 22" WSM, 22" Weber Kettle, Stoven, Hot Box Grill, Hasty Bake Portable

                  #10
                  I do happen to know that Steven Raichlen is a fan of the black, crunchy bits of a tri-tip! Fed him (and lots of other folks) at an HPBA Expo in California years ago. Don't recall if he ate some pink or not...

                  Comment

                  • Meathead
                    Administrator
                    • May 2014
                    • 1464
                    • Chicago area
                    • Remember, no rules in the bedroom or kitchen
                      Meathead

                    #11
                    The point is that medum rare is not subjective. It is right in the 130 to 135 range. My chart is correct.

                    Comment


                    • Willy
                      Willy commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Precisely!

                    • Breadhead
                      Breadhead commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I agree Meathead's temperatures are dead on! I pull my steaks at 130° knowing there will be 3° to 5° of carryover cooking. They come out bumper to bumper pink everytime. That chart and temperature thermometers were the first things I learned on AR a few years ago. Those 2 items greatly improved my grilling and BBQ skills immediately. I give Meathead's chart 5 thumbs up. 👍👍👍👍👍

                    • Willy
                      Willy commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Upon rereading this thread, I realize that it appears that some might think I made an error and that I was inconsistent to boot, which is of course not even possible (LOL). My point in using the word "subjective" is that my idea of perfect medium rare might be slightly different from another person's point of view. From raw to shoe leather is a continuum. I might think a 130°F-ish steak is perfect, while Suzie might prefer 135°-ish.

                      In no world is it possible to say that 140°F is rare and 150°F is medium rare, hence my agreement with Meathead that his chart is "precisely" correct.

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